WTR 1000 preview: the global legal powerhouses revealed

The next edition of the WTR 1000, released in January 2015, comprehensively identifies the world’s leading trademark firms and practitioners. In this preview, we exclusively reveal those firms which have achieved a listing in more than one region, as well as those which are home to the largest numbers of independently recommended practitioners.

A strong brand is essential to success in today’s intensely competitive and increasingly globalised market. Trademarks are key tools through which businesses can protect the goodwill and reputation inherent in their brands, and build and maintain demand for their products and services. External advisers play a crucial role in developing and implementing brand strategies for both local and international markets, and in protecting these vital assets in the face of infringement. It is thus imperative to choose the best legal counsel on offer.

The WTR 1000 identifies the leading trademark practices at law firms around the world and the practitioners behind their success. It is the only standalone publication dedicated exclusively to the trademark field, covering both sides of the contentious/non-contentious divide. The purpose of the guide is to shed light on the market for clients seeking advice on any and all aspects of protection and enforcement, as well as for firms seeking to refer work into jurisdictions where they lack a presence.

Building on the success of previous editions, a dedicated research team conducted exhaustive research over a four-month period, involving more than 1,700 interviews with leading trademark practitioners and their clients – many of which were conducted face to face at the International Trademark Association’s annual meeting. Opinions were sought on which firms and practitioners deliver a world-class service in terms of quality, skill and client care. When placed alongside work examples submitted by firms, a clear picture emerged of those operating at the elite level.

The WTR 1000’s credibility is guaranteed by the unique depth of qualitative research undertaken. This is reflected in the detailed editorial that accompanies each firm and individual listing, identifying the particular focus areas, strengths and abilities of those who have made the podium. With its coverage of 60-plus jurisdictions, the guide is designed as an invaluable tool for brand owners when selecting legal counsel close to home, as well as in unfamiliar and often challenging jurisdictions.

The guide’s listings are grouped on a regional basis and, in advance of publication of the 2015 edition, the tables in this article reveal those firms which have achieved a listing in more than one region, as well as those which are home to the largest number of independently recommended practitioners.

The variety of firms included reflects the health of the trademark marketplace and the diverse needs of clients and those law firms referring work onwards. The WTR 1000 is thus an essential guide in today’s brand-focused economy.


Adams & Adams

Recommended in regions: 1
Recommended individuals: 11

For many, Adams & Adams is the top name in intellectual property on the African continent. The South African powerhouse is home to 68 partners and a phalanx of other experienced professionals; its prodigious strength in depth puts it in pole position to handle the most complex and far-reaching trademark assignments going. An impressive 11 individuals are selected for inclusion in the WTR 1000. In the anti-counterfeiting arena, Steven Yeates and Lucy Signorelli stand apart; Kelly Thompson takes the lead for the litigation division; while Simon Brown heads the prosecution and recordal department.
 

Baker & McKenzie is the only outfit to secure listings in each of the four regions covered in the WTR 1000 – its credentials when it comes to international trademark practice are unmatched

Baker & McKenzie

Recommended in regions: 4
Recommended individuals: 58

Baker & McKenzie is the only outfit to secure listings in each of the four regions covered in the WTR 1000 – its credentials when it comes to international trademark practice are unmatched. With a dedicated global IP support centre based in the Philippine capital, Manila, the firm manages and directs the largest portfolios with consummate ease and efficiency, making it a clear favourite for a multitude of multinationals. Clients can also capitalise on the deep-seated local and cross-border expertise of dedicated teams in cities as far flung as Bogota and Hong Kong.


Bird & Bird

Recommended in regions: 2
Recommended individuals: 31

UK outfit Bird & Bird is a European and Asian IP powerhouse, feted for its cutting-edge strategic advice and exemplary levels of client service. Going the extra mile is standard for the firm, which can routinely be found in leadership roles on projects that promote the development of trademark law, policy and practice internationally. The departure of talisman Trevor Cook was a blow, but the overall talent on the roster here remains as impressive as ever. London-based Morag Macdonald and Katharine Stephens jointly head the IP department.


Borden Ladner Gervais

Recommended in regions: 1
Recommended individuals: 12

General commercial ensemble Borden Ladner Gervais has 12 individuals featured in the WTR 1000 Canada section; only one other firm, Gowling LaFleur Henderson, can boast as many. With comprehensive capabilities across the trademark spectrum, there is nothing it cannot handle on either the protection or enforcement side of the practice. Ottawa-based Theresa Corneau, a strategic brand management ace, and Toronto’s Justine Wiebe, a lawyer and trademark agent with a broad skill set, are both selected for the gold tier. Along with all of their fellow inductees, they put effective client service front and centre of their thinking.


Dannemann Siemsen

Recommended in regions: 1
Recommended individuals: 10

When it comes to intellectual property in Latin America, Dannemann Siemsen tops the list of recommended firms each and every time. A long tradition of excellence, the largest practitioner headcount and an ability to cover all aspects of trademarks – as well as ancillary areas including marketing, advertising and competition law – are just some of the selling points that generate such high demand for its services. “Astonishing in terms of his knowledge”, José Antonio BL Faria Correa stands out on a packed roster, alongside Luiz Henrique O Do Amaral, an all-round IP and commercialisation whiz who “knows how to put the best contracts together”.


DLA Piper

Recommended in regions: 3
Recommended individuals: 20

Anglo-American powerhouse DLA Piper is one of a rare breed able to dispense sound trademark advice across the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific. In the United States, the Chicago and DC teams come in for particular applause: Mark Feldman, who anchors the Windy City practice, has vast experience and secures a spot in the gold tier of the US national prosecution table alongside just six other individuals. DC-based US IP and technology group vice chair Ann Ford is another heavy hitter on the squad, with particular insight into the retail and fashion sectors. On the other side of the world, the Hong Kong and Beijing sets turn heads for all the right reasons.


Dorsey & Whitney

Recommended in regions: 1
Recommended individuals: 10

Minneapolis-headquartered Dorsey & Whitney makes the grade in four key US jurisdictions: Colorado, New York, Minnesota and Washington. Over 25 lawyers are dedicated to trademark practice across its network, handling international matters with alacrity and finesse. The group’s roster of Fortune 500 companies is enviable and continually expanding. Trademark, copyright, advertising and brand management chair Elizabeth Buckingham is highly rated; as is Heather Redmond, who makes her debut in the WTR 1000 this year. The pair recently published a comprehensive guide to Trademark Trial and Appeal Board practice, which was enthusiastically received by the market.
 

Edwards Wildman Palmer’s coordination of sprawling global brand protection programmes for famous international brand owners is the group’s metier

Edwards Wildman Palmer

Recommended in regions: 2
Recommended individuals: 8

Edwards Wildman Palmer is one of only three firms to be selected for inclusion in the US and UK sections of the WTR 1000. London’s John Olson and New York’s Maria Scungio – who co-chair the international trademark and copyright group – ensure that patrons consistently receive first-class advice on both sides of the Atlantic. The coordination of sprawling global brand protection programmes for famous international brand owners is the group’s metier, though litigation mandates are also adroitly dispatched. Such is the demand for its services that in the last four years, the firm has added six partner-level trademark attorneys to its talent pool. While most of the team are based in London and New York, the Hong Kong contingent also plays an increasingly important role within the practice.


Fross Zelnick Lehrman & Zissu

Recommended in regions: 1
Recommended individuals: 16

Measured by the quality of its output, trademark, copyright, design and unfair competition boutique Fross Zelnick Lehrman & Zissu is regarded by many as the world’s premier trademark outfit. It has an incredible 16 individuals recommended in the New York tables of the WTR 1000 – the most, by a substantial margin, of any firm in any single section of the guide. The group is equally proficient on US and international matters, making it ideally placed to advise companies with worldwide portfolios. Susan Upton Douglass is a key contact on prosecution matters, while Roger Zissu is a go-to lawyer for both plaintiffs and defendants in litigation.


Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP

Recommended in regions: 2
Recommended individuals: 17

Gowling Lafleur Henderson is among Canada’s largest and best firms; in the trademark arena, this is reflected in the fact that it is one of only two outfits with more than 10 individuals recommended in the WTR 1000 Canada section, and one of just a handful in the gold tier. The Moscow team also showcases strength in depth and quality. But the expertise of globally oriented firm is not restricted to Canadian and Russian affairs; it maintains 10 offices worldwide and is adept at handling trademark affairs globally. The group is known not just for the victories it secures on behalf of clients, but also for its thought leadership on questions of international trademark law, practice and policy. Ottawa resident Robert MacDonald and Toronto-based Kelly Gill lead the IP and trademark practice groups respectively.


Greenberg Traurig

Recommended in regions: 1
Recommended individuals: 11

Greenberg Traurig has more than double the number of lawyers recommended in the 2015 edition of the WTR 1000 than in this year’s guide. Newcomers include Chicago-based Jeffrey Dunning and Mark Galis, who both direct worldwide trademark clearance, prosecution, maintenance, opposition and enforcement activities for Kellogg Company; and New York’s Masahiro Noda, a native Japanese speaker who handles a variety of trademark, IP and corporate matters for Japanese companies. They join top-rated Los Angeles lawyer Susan Heller, who helms the trademark and brand management group. The dynamic, entrepreneurial firm is always ahead of the curve when it comes to the latest developments in trademark law, and is known for its delivery of progressive brand protection strategies.


Herbert Smith Freehills

Recommended in regions: 2
Recommended individuals: 6

Herbert Smith Freehills is in its element when it comes to bet-the-farm trademark disputes between competing brand owners, but is also highly proficient in major anti-counterfeiting initiatives, complex IP transactions and marketing and advertising law. Headline-hitting matters spearheaded by the high-flying London set include a key test case in the UK High Court for Sky against publicans showing televised Sky Sports football matches without a commercial subscription, and the reorganisation of G4S’s global trademark licensing regime in 154 countries. The Australian contingent, led by Syndey-based Sue Gilchrist and Melbourne resident Celia Davies, is similarly no stranger to cutting-edge protection and enforcement work.


Hogan Lovells

Recommended in regions: 3
Recommended individuals: 24

Few Anglo-American law firms enjoy such a prominent role on the Asian market as Hogan Lovells; it is gold ranked in the Hong Kong and China tables, and enjoys a leading position in Japan, a market in which Western outfits notoriously struggle to carve a solid foothold. It is also recommended in Vietnam, where it has maintained a presence for over two decades. In Western Europe, it is a real heavyweight; one of only four firms to make gold in Germany, it also hits top notes in France, Italy and Spain, while garnering further praise in the United Kingdom and Poland. Although it continues to search for greater traction across the Atlantic, there is no doubting that Hogan Lovells is a classy choice for multinationals with cross-border brand protection and enforcement concerns.


Hoyng Monegier LLP

Recommended in regions: 1
Recommended individuals: 10

Enlightened IP boutique Hoyng Monegier works its magic on both sides of the contentious/non-contentious divide, although high-end cross-border litigation is its forte. A USP is the strength in depth it maintains in each of its four European offices, located in Amsterdam, Brussels, Madrid and Paris. The Amsterdam set is home to rainmaker Willem Hoyng who, while best known for his patent litigation prowess, is also esteemed in trademark circles. In Paris, Denis Monégier du Sorbier is the main attraction, unanimously hailed for his all-round IP litigation savvy. Also attaining gold-tier status are Carl De Meyer in Brussels and Laura Alonso in Madrid.


Table 1: Top law firms by regions ranked

Firm

Region count

Baker & McKenzie

4

DLA Piper

3

Hogan Lovells

3

Jones Day

3

Bird & Bird

2

Edwards Wildman Palmer

2

Gowling LaFleur Henderson

2

Herbert Smith Freehills

2

King & Wood Mallesons

2

Marks & Clerk

2

McDermott Will & Emery

2

Norton Rose Fulbright

2

Rouse Legal

2

Simmons & Simmons

2


Jones Day

Recommended in regions: 3
Recommended individuals: 14

Jones Day is the epitome of a global law firm – it has over 40 offices situated in major business and finance centres around the globe. On the trademark side, it has made a strong play in Asia; the ensemble knows what it takes to succeed in challenging markets. In Tokyo, for example, it is unique among foreign firms in that its team is largely made up of bengoshi admitted in Japan. The Hong Kong and Beijing groups are also highlighted for their brand protection prowess. A capable team in Germany keeps Jones Day at the sharp end of European trademark

practice, while on home turf in the United States it impresses with its deft handling of marquee brand owners’ crown-jewel assets.


Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP

Recommended in regions: 1
Recommended individuals: 23

Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton is one of only four firms featured in the gold tier of the US national listings. It has 23 individuals highlighted in the guide – the most, by a wide margin, of any firm in the US section; its closest competitor has 16 individuals recommended. With such a deep bench, the firm’s ability to manage extensive global portfolios is beyond question; as is its ability to staff up for the most complex and challenging trademark infringement litigation assignments. Plying his trade from Kilpatrick’s Atlanta headquarters, Theodore Davis Jr is a robust litigator and registration sage, and a star who shines with particular lustre in the firm’s constellation.


Table 2: Top law firms by number of individuals recommended

Firm

Recommended individuals

Baker & McKenzie

58

Bird & Bird

31

Hogan Lovells

24

Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton

23

DLA Piper

20

Rouse Legal

18

Gowling LaFleur Henderson

17

Fross Zelnick Lehrman & Zissu

16

Norton Rose Fulbright

15

Jones Day

14

King & Wood Mallesons

13

Borden Ladner Gervais

12

Adams & Adams

11

Greenberg Traurig

11

PETOŠEVIC

11

Dannemann Siemsen

10

Dorsey & Whitney

10

Hoyng Monegier

10


King & Wood Mallesons

Recommended in regions: 2
Recommended individuals: 13

With a network of 30 international offices, King & Wood Mallesons – the product of several recent notable mergers – has become a formidable player on the global business and legal scene. Intellectual property is one of several core areas of practice for the firm, which has gained an enviable reputation for its no-nonsense, commercially minded advice on a panoply of trademark protection and enforcement issues. The London group has had a busy year, making a splash on the front pages with its successful representation of Sky in major trademark infringement and passing-off proceedings against Microsoft. The China group is one of the largest around, with a headcount of over 40 trademark attorneys; it is captained by Xiaoli Yang, a top pick for high-profile international clients across a range of sectors.


Marks & Clerk LLP

Recommended in regions: 2
Recommended individuals: 9

Patent and trademark attorney firm Marks & Clerk is not just a smart choice for prosecution and strategic portfolio management briefs; it is also becoming a prime pick for litigation assignments, thanks to the progressive approach of its solicitors arm. Matt Sammon was recently promoted to the position of UK trademark head – a role in which he has flourished – and makes his debut in the WTR 1000 for the 2015 edition. With 17 offices in eight countries, the firm is a force to be reckoned with internationally. It has expanded in Asia at a significant clip, gaining traction in markets such as Singapore and Malaysia in recent years. Its presence in the region goes back a long way, however: it opened in Hong Kong in 1984, making it one of the city’s oldest boutiques.


McDermott Will & Emery

Recommended in regions: 2
Recommended individuals: 9

International player McDermott Will & Emery – a titan of commercial law – is one of the few US-headquartered outfits to have made an enduring mark on the UK IP scene. In spite of some recent turbulence, the London contingent continues to shine – perhaps even more so now that Rohan Massey has taken the reins. It is on home soil in the United States, however, that it garners the most praise; teams in Washington DC, California and Illinois all make the WTR 1000 cut. Unusually for a general corporate ensemble, it has invested not just in its litigation and commercialisation practices, but also in its prosecution and portfolio management operation. No matter what the nature of their trademark issues, brand owners find it to be a more than able running mate.


Norton Rose Fulbright LLP

Recommended in regions: 2
Recommended individuals: 15

The merger of Norton Rose and Fulbright & Jaworski created a muscular international player with which few can compete. Alongside corporate, finance and commercial litigation, intellectual property is a core focus for the firm. It quietly and confidently handles the portfolios of some of the most recognisable brands in the world, and can also make some serious noise in the courtroom when mission-critical trademark disputes arise. Minneapolis-based Tim Kenny heads the US brands practice; Frances Drummond and Jackie O’Brien take the lead in Australia; while in London, Huw Evans is a key point of contact.

1,700+

The number of interviews conducted by the research team

 

PETOŠEVIC

Recommended in regions: 1
Recommended individuals: 11

Responsive, effective and efficient is the client verdict on PETOŠEVIC. It earns a place on the leader board in Albania, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia and Ukraine, as well as Croatia, which is included for the first time in the WTR 1000 2015. The breadth of coverage and enthusiasm of the feedback that the firm receives in the guide are testament to its status as a premier Central and Eastern European boutique – virtually no other firm is as familiar with the IP landscape in this fast-developing corner of the world.


Rouse Legal

Recommended in regions: 2
Recommended individuals: 18

This elite global IP consultancy provides a full suite of services to a stacked roster of prestigious brand owners. Its European activities are directed by the London contingent, which earns resounding applause for its focused advice that finely balances legal and commercial considerations. Teams in the Middle East and Asia meet the same standards; the consistency with which the firm operates across its sweeping international network is something not easily replicated. Rouse always dares to tread new ground and the opening of a Myanmar office is a notable recent development; in the past year the firm has also launched IP portfolio management services in Russia. The outfit is admired for its thought leadership among the global IP community; its extracurricular activities ensure it can deliver incisive, up-to-date guidance on cutting-edge issues of brand protection and enforcement.
 

Simmons & Simmons receives increased exposure in the WTR 1000 for 2015, with the addition of its Amsterdam crew to the Netherlands listings

Simmons & Simmons LLP

Recommended in regions: 2
Recommended individuals: 8

Simmons & Simmons receives increased exposure in the WTR 1000 for 2015, with the addition of its Amsterdam crew to the Netherlands listings; the recruitment of Hidden Koenraad has really kick-started the local brands practice of a group that previously focused predominantly on patents. Under the watch of head of brands David Stone, the London group continues to purr; its provision of strategic insight directed towards the accomplishment of commercial goals sticks out as a selling point. Elsewhere in Europe, teams in Italy and France draw praise; while in Asia, Hong Kong-based John Slater continues to do great things - trademark and copyright litigation is his bread and butter, though he also has invaluable brand management and transactional smarts.

Nicholas Richardson ([email protected]) is research editor at the IP Media Group

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