SOEI Patent & Law Firm
SOEI is one of the leading IP law firms in Japan, providing a full range of services in intellectual property and related legal matters. SOEI has grown rapidly since its establishment in 1988, receiving the highest accolades from clients worldwide for its expertise and sophisticated systems in all areas of intellectual property, including patents, designs and trademarks.
SOEI employs more than 250 people, including 107 patent attorneys and six attorneys at law. SOEI’s teams of top-calibre experts provide comprehensive support for building IP strategies, as well as acquisitions and enforcement of IP rights through the close collaboration between all its team members, which include former Japan Patent Office (JPO) appeal examiners and judicial research officials.
The patent practice has 85 patent attorneys who are experts in one or more areas of technology such electrical/mechanical engineering, computer software, chemicals, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology. They work on behalf of domestic and foreign clients, using their cutting-edge expertise and collaborating across their specialisations.
With seven patent attorneys dedicated to design cases, the firm’s design practice is the largest in Japan. The team includes the current chair of the Design Committee of the Japan Group of the Asian Patent Attorneys Association, which ensures that the team keeps abreast of any legislative changes to Japanese design law and advises clients accordingly.
The trademark practice includes 15 patent attorneys who specialise in trademark applications (filing and prosecution), oppositions and trials before the JPO; they file on average over 1,000 trademark applications annually before the JPO. Additionally, the trademark team enforces trademark rights through litigation, negotiations or customs procedures, and consults on trademark and brand issues, including portfolio management. The firm’s trademark professionals are also known for their speedy communication, backed by comprehensive information and extensive experience accumulated in SOEI’s in-house IT systems; this enables them to provide clients with to-the-point legal guidance at a reasonable cost.
Powerful litigation teams
SOEI is a one-stop shop able to offer comprehensive support to clients, from uncovering new ideas at the ground level and obtaining protection to, ultimately, exercising and enforcing acquired rights. To accomplish this, SOEI is committed to fostering collaboration between its patent attorneys and attorneys at law, and continuing to strengthen its litigation teams – namely, the General Practice Department and the Trials & Appeals Department. Trials & Appeals is made up of patent attorneys who are former leading JPO officials such as the director of examinations and the chief appeal examiner. These form special teams to achieve success in disputes (eg, infringement litigation, litigation for invalidation trials and other appeals before the JPO) by leveraging their unique expertise and insights. The attorneys at law in General Practice use their combined technical and legal knowledge to provide effective litigation over a wide range of IP infringement cases.
For example, current SOEI chair Ryuichi Shitara is a former chief justice of the Intellectual Property High Court who has adjudicated countless high-profile IP litigation cases, as well as various civil cases before the Tokyo High Court and the Osaka District Court. Through many years of government service and international activities as a judge and attorney, Mr Shitara has established (and continues to maintain) a wide-ranging international network of IP judges, attorneys and other stakeholders worldwide.
Similarly, previous SOEI chair Tomokatsu Tsukahara in General Practice is also a former chief justice of the Intellectual Property High Court, as well as a professor at Waseda Law School. He continues to be actively involved in client work, using his expansive experience in the courts, universities and law firms.
Proprietary IP systems
SOEI has 15 IT specialists in its IT Management Department – a rarity in Japanese law firms. These specialists develop various management and database systems, as well as efficiency tools that greatly boost the operational effectiveness of SOEI’s attorneys. SOEI can thus provide its clients with smooth, flawless IP services thanks to the combination of its ever-evolving, proprietary IT environment and meticulous docketing staff.
SOEI Patent & Law Firm
Marunouchi MY PLAZA 9th fl
1-1 Marunouchi 2-chome
- Tomoya Kurokawa, Vice president
- Washington DC
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