Finland

The Finnish trademark space has always managed to remain both vibrant and consistent, no matter what the economic weather. In true fashion for one of the world’s most innovative countries, there has been an uptick in trademark applications, as reported by the Patent and Trademark Office (PRH). Despite this rise and quick turnaround times at the PRH, however, there is also a sense that domestic companies are favouring EU applications rather than filing at home, due to the general flexibility that comes with that route. On the contentious front, there has been a substantial drop in trademark litigation; some suggest that this may be due to the high costs associated with protecting marks at such a high level, which start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises are not prepared to bear. As a result, these entities are increasingly inclined to settle or seek creative alternative methods of resolving their disputes. Online enforcement is gaining much more traction lately, especially as a surge of counterfeit products make their way on to e-commerce platforms, and brand owners are reminded to stay vigilant. There has also been movement in the WTR 1000 rankings this year, as several firms make their debuts and a new band is introduced in the prosecution and strategy table.

Firms: enforcement and litigation

  • Borenius Attorneys Ltd
  • Castrén & Snellman
  • Roschier, Attorneys Ltd
  • Bird & Bird LLP
  • Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP
  • Hannes Snellman Attorneys Ltd
  • Krogerus
  • Merilampi Attorneys Ltd
  • Properta Attorneys Ltd
  • Backström & Co
  • Berggren Oy
  • Kolster Oy Ab
  • Waselius & Wist

Firms: prosecution and strategy

  • Berggren Oy
  • Borenius Attorneys Ltd
  • Castrén & Snellman
  • Roschier, Attorneys Ltd
  • Boco IP
  • Dottir Attorneys
  • Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP
  • Kolster Oy Ab
  • Krogerus
  • Properta Attorneys Ltd
  • Hannes Snellman Attorneys Ltd
  • Laine IP Oy
  • Papula-Nevinpat

Backström & Co

IP is a central plank of the offering at well-established business law firm Backström & Co. Although it may be compact, it has a stellar reputation in contentious proceedings; it also attracts its fair share of cross-border mandates, as most of its clients are either multinational corporations or domestic entities with global operations. This is also where the side’s Eurojuris International membership – a network of 6,000 foreign associates across 50 countries – is a major advantage. The man in charge is litigator and arbitrator par excellence Petri Eskola. “A clear communicator, whether in writing or verbally, Petri is great to work with and always delivers.”

Berggren Oy

“A highly reputed and impressive player on the Finnish legal landscape, Berggren is one of the best for non-contentious work.” “Its digital services are absolutely superb”: the 200-strong outfit constantly finds ways to innovate in order to streamline processes for patrons. For example, it designed its own software, Greip, to provide clients with a comprehensive management platform that is customised to their specific needs. Head of trademark and design prosecution Paula Sailas is an extremely business-minded lawyer across all phases of trademark protection. Fellow versatile practitioner Hannu Halmetoja understands what makes for a killer brand and helps rights holders to tailor their strategies accordingly. Berggren has also lately been bringing out the big guns in contentious proceedings, with its dispute resolution offering in hot demand – as a result, the firm debuts on the enforcement and litigation table this year. This is due in no small part to the hard graft put in by Tarja Tchernych, who oversees the legal, trademarks and designs division; she makes light work of even the highest-stakes cases. Fellow WTR 1000 newcomer and all-rounder Milla Lehtoranta is “commercially oriented, practical and easy to communicate with. She readily makes herself available and is keen to understand the inner workings of her clients’ business”. Rounding off the squad, Kaisa Fahllund has been building up the set’s contracts team, managing sweeping public procurement and ICT projects with finesse. Her refined understanding of this area has given Berggren an extra edge.

Bird & Bird LLP

Internationally recognised for its IP capabilities, Bird & Bird is unrivalled in its global reach, strength in depth and efficient handling of multi-jurisdictional mandates. Its Finnish outpost is a repository of trust for many multinational conglomerates, although its cosmopolitan outlook and local expertise also attract a slew of Helsinki-based start-ups seeking wall-to-wall services. On the ground, Ella Mikkola has been effortlessly dispatching a prodigious amount of trademark work, from portfolio management to brand launches and asset transfers. The charming division head brings over 25 years of experience and a personal touch to each and every brief.

Boco IP

“Collaborating with Boco IP is always smooth and efficient; you feel fully supported. They are involved every step of the way, from planning strategies to staying on top of potential deadlines. They communicate in a relaxed and friendly manner, while also remaining completely professional. They are a go-to for trademark matters in Europe.” A top-notch line-up consists of Peter Åkerlund, Laura Roselius, Elina Heikkilä and Pamela Lönnqvist. The troop takes its cue from Åkerlund, who designs and executes astute blueprints to ensure that brands enjoy long-term health. Roselius likewise watches over portfolios with a vigilant eye and devises fool-proof plans to take down counterfeiters. Heikkilä’s strong suit is securing marks across a multitude of jurisdictions, courtesy of her finely honed knowledge of European laws and procedures. When things get heated, Lönnqvist steps up to the plate, showcasing terrific advocacy skills in the process. “Together, they are reliable, responsive and always find both pragmatic and tactical solutions to complex scenarios. They really care about their clients and that is one of the many reasons the group is enjoyable to work with.”

Borenius Attorneys Ltd

In the words of one foreign associate: “If you want to guarantee a result that is in line with the advice you were given, Borenius is an excellent choice. Whether in customs or complex high-end legal work at the Supreme Court, it is evident that the firm operates at a high level. Its lawyers are well educated and knowledgeable, and permanently work at staying the best”. Karl Frazer, one of Finland’s largest brands, and listed fibre-based product manufacturer Ahlstrom-Munksjö both rely on Lasse Laaksonen for global trademark and regulatory assistance. He has also been advising Kesko Group, a listed trading sector company, on domain name and marketing matters. Litigation is the name of the game for Ben Rapinoja, who recently represented, Latvian alcoholic beverage retailer Aldar against national alcohol monopoly Alko at the Market Court. Rapinoja also took on the Finnish Consumer Ombudsman on behalf of L-Fashion Group, where he brought the case to a successful close.

Castrén & Snellman

Each year Castrén & Snellman’s IP department receives effusive market praise, with numerous sources commenting on its inexorable upwards trajectory, impeccable track record and glittering client roster, as well as its “trustworthy and skilled professionals”. A great example of its 360-capabilities is the work that Nina Mikander, Sakari Salonen and Kim Parviainen have been doing for Valio, Finland’s largest dairy producer and food exporter. They have lately been managing its global trademarks, designs and copyright portfolio; adroitly handling opposition and enforcement proceedings; and dispensing incisive licensing, marketing, domain name and regulatory advice. The prosecution unit is helmed by Mikander, who has also been busy creating a robust brand protection strategy for OP Financial Group; she “impresses with her excellent management of large-scale mandates”. Of Salonen, one peer enthuses: “He is super-industrious and will stop at nothing to complete a task. He is simply great at everything he does.” The department lead recently teamed up with technology and regulatory maestro Parviainen to secure a win at the Market Court on behalf of BMW against an importer of infringing rims and hubcaps.

Dottir Attorneys

Innovative ideas are dreamed up on the regular at Dottir Attorneys, a dynamic boutique that encourages out-of-the box thinking from both the practitioners who work there and those utilising its services. The technology-driven outfit has bases in Berlin and San Francisco as well as its Helsinki HQ, to facilitate easier access between counsel and client and help businesses such as local vegan raw chocolate brand Goodio achieve their ambitions of international expansion. A driving force of the practice, Antti Innanen spent three years at the EUIPO and knows both how to get rights on – and keep them on – the register, and how to commercialise them through meticulously drafted licensing agreements. He regularly assists Flow Festival with all its legal issues and recently helped Slush – Northern Europe’s largest tech start-up event – with its new Japanese, Chinese and South Korean ventures. Another highlight this year was a headline-grabbing win for Eero Aarnio, the creator of the Ball Chair.

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP

The Finnish wing of global outfit Eversheds Sutherland is a force to be reckoned with. The Helsinki-based ensemble taps into the rich international resources at its disposal to effectively serve customers worldwide; and through subsidiary Heinonen & Co, it also registers an astonishing number of marks each year. It recently demonstrated its refined capabilities on a complete rebrand for listed domestic HR services company Eezy, formerly VMP, together with the opposition proceedings that come with the task. This brief was handled by Petteri Häkkänen and WTR 1000 debutants Kati Rantala and Lassi Lepistö. The trio often team up to assist heavyweight players such as global food company Raisio with all phases of rights protection. Main man Häkkänen is hailed as an “all-round trademark guru” by peers: “He is always someone I have looked up to and if I have a problem I do not know how to solve, I turn to him. He is just unbelievably good.” Specialist counsel Rantala maintains a relatively broad practice, encompassing domain and company names as well as patents and copyrights – all of which allows her to counsel holistically and effectively. The versatile Lepistö comes in for lavish praise: “He provides excellent guidance, especially in prosecution and opposition, in a professional and timely manner, while making a conscientious effort to follow up where necessary. The results he brings about are excellent too.”

Hannes Snellman Attorneys Ltd

Full-service Hannes Snellman covers all bases for those seeking to safeguard, enforce and commercialise their trademark rights. For Nordic instructions, its tech-savvy practitioners work in tandem with their Stockholm colleagues to secure seamless protection across the region. As testament to its strength, it is also one of the few firms in the country entrusted with geographical indication (GI) briefs. It recently represented Bureau National Interfprofessionnel du Cognac at the District Court of Helsinki in a landmark case concerning the interpretation of the GI regulation, which ultimately resulted in a settlement. The architect behind this was Panu Siitonen, who also manages portfolios for the National Hockey League. By his side, Sarita Schröder dispenses sage counsel to leading telecommunications company DNA. She successfully registered the first colour mark on the List of Trademarks with a Reputation on its behalf and is also representing it against Deutsche Telekom in Finland’s longest-running dispute. “Sarita always finds the optimal business-oriented solutions through her flexibility and creative thinking. She is practical and impressively responsive, and her analyses are spot on.”

Kolster Oy Ab

One of the most venerable IP sets in Finland, Kolster is perfectly placed to cater to patrons with overseas interests; for example, dedicated Russia and China desks act as a gateway for rights holders keen to expand and set up new ventures or protect their rights on a wider stage. Oppositions ace and shrewd tactician Joose Kilpimaa keeps the cogs turning on this well-oiled machine. Anti-counterfeiting is another specialty here, and with a third of Forbes 100 brands on the roster, its Kolster Market Watch and Customs Surveillance service is obviously highly prized. Leading the charge on this front is Jani Kaulo, who has been helping Schaeffler Technologies to fight the fakes since 2011 in a case that has made it all the way up to the Supreme Court and the Court of Justice of the European Union.

Krogerus

At commercial outfit Krogerus, intellectual property is a primary focus, with clients fully supported through all phases of the brand lifecycle, including with ancillary marketing, consumer and unfair competition law questions. It really hits its stride in the media and telecommunications industries, and is a favourite with dynamic players such as fast-growing tech company Smartly.io, whose portfolio is managed by Kalle Hynönen and Henri Kaikkonen. In a winning streak for Hynönen, he also recently acquired the full Unisport-Saltex portfolio in early 2020. Having previously worked in-house at a leading European media company, Kaikkonen understands the pressures faced by in-house counsel and tailors his advice to match.

Laine IP Oy

A new addition to the WTR 1000 this year, Laine IP is driven by a passion for trademark law and brands. It positions itself as a trusted partner to the businesses it assists and has astutely developed its offering to include services lines that fuel company growth and strengthen existing frameworks. Anchoring the practice, Tom-Erik Hagelberg stands out for his energy, enthusiasm and no-nonsense approach. Although equally adroit on both sides of the contentious/non-contentious divide, Hagelberg is best known for his finely honed strategies and opposition capabilities.

Merilampi Attorneys Ltd

Merilampi’s IP division started gaining traction a few years ago and the market is now unanimous in its praise for the group. “The service is always professional and the way it operates is sufficient proof that the firm is among the best in the field and will only grow stronger from here,” enthuses one peer. Its success is due in no small part to the lovely Henrik af Ursin, who works around the clock to bring added value to clients. The fruits of his labours include advances such as Merilampi Diagnostics, which conducts health check-up of company portfolios and makes recommendations on how to improve their overall strength. “Henrik is second to none – both in the courtroom and in his customer service. He is simply outstanding to work with: efficient, sharp and the type of detail-oriented lawyer who has great legal knowledge, but also fantastic pragmatic business sense.” This “golden combination” is appreciated by household names such as Burberry, Tommy Hilfiger and Daniel Wellington. af Ursin often teams up with Noora Arkia, a rising star who also attracts warm plaudits: “Having collaborated with her on registration matters across Europe, the United States and Asia, she was persistent throughout the whole process and was never deterred by difficulties or delays. She gave great and clear advice as well as devising alternative solutions. She is knowledgeable, proactive and meticulous, and can be fully trusted to look after your best interests.”

Papula-Nevinpat

Founded in 1975, Papula-Nevinpat is a firm fixture on the Finnish legal landscape; and with presence in another 12 jurisdictions across Eurasia, it has established itself as a centralised hub for wall-to-wall trademark services throughout the region. While adept at enforcement and litigation, it has primarily built its sterling reputation on meticulous prosecution, processing thousands of registrations each year. “Widely respected and personable” European trademark attorney Jussi Mikkola provides superb guidance on trademark risk and essential strategy.

Properta Attorneys Ltd

“At Properta Attorneys, the service level is excellent and everything is handled with utmost skill. The deep industry knowledge here is extremely apparent, as the lawyers excel at protecting complex marks. It truly is a joy to work with such hard-core professionals, who think independently and never miss a deadline.” The boutique may be lean in size, but it punches well above its weight – a capability that is welcomed by longstanding clients such as Adidas and Reebok, as well as recent addition Lidl. The central pillars of the practice are all-rounders Kukka Tommila and Hanna-Maija Elo. “Kukka is brilliant at combining strategy with a pragmatic approach and consistently finds great solutions in a quick turnaround time.” Elo likewise garners glowing reports: “An excellent negotiator and fantastic lawyer, she always provides accurate and reliable guidance on any trademark matter.”

Roschier, Attorneys Ltd

“It is impossible to discuss the local legal market without mentioning Rochier,” declares one peer. “It is without doubt the strongest IP player in Finland.” In the words of another: “The firm’s offering is unparalleled and the trademark team consistently puts a concerted effort into developing and strengthening the practice.” This praise is echoed by its cosmopolitan clientele, with several complimenting its extensive global network and impressive abilities across all stages of brand protection. For heavy-duty litigation, there is no one better than squad captain Rainer Hilli: “One of the most accomplished attorneys in the country, he exemplifies pure skill and efficiency.” He has all angles down, having put in poised performances in a litany of patent, trademark and marketing disputes. Spearheading the marketing and consumer practice is Mikael Segercrantz, who brings further firepower to the group. The first-chair trial lawyer thrives in contentious proceedings with regulatory threads and handles anti-counterfeiting matters for the likes of Eli Lilly and GoPro alongside Markku Tuominen. The versatile Tuominen is considered “the best and only choice” for such instructions: “In urgent and complex multi-jurisdictional actions, Markku is a reliable partner. He develops brilliant relationships with clients and is a pleasure to work with and against.” Worldwide portfolio management is dealt with flawlessly by Kaisu Korpua, who handles dossiers for Nokia, engineering titan KONE Corporation and Alko on a global scale. She has a refined understanding of the needs of the C-suite and consistently nails how best to meet them. In a similar vein, “Asta Uhlbäck is a solution-driven professional with a strategic mindset and immense expertise that lend themselves perfectly to international brand management”.

Waselius & Wist

Companies seeking to unlock the full potential of their brands should look no further than Waselius & Wist. The side has a flair for resolving complex disputes, both in court and through settlement negotiations, as well as getting high-rolling deals inked with the help of the firm’s seasoned M&A department. Pre-litigation assessments are a forte for Bernt Juthström, who helps patrons save on costs with no-stone-unturned investigations and tactics; and when push comes to shove, he brings the heat for clients, with superb results. The firm made a significant signing in late 2020 when it brought on Åsa Krook, who stands out for her striking brand-building abilities: “Her mastery of sophisticated strategies is excellent and her network of associates around the world even better. Proactive, responsive and a great communicator, Åsa always delivers.”

Other recommended experts

Admitted to the New York and Finnish Bars, Anna Haapanen has a wealth of international expertise and unique industry insight from previous stints in-house at Nokia, Accenture and Supercell. She works dextrously across the contentious/non-contentious divide, delivering everything a brand owner may need, although she is exceptionally proficient in all things technology and shines on open source licensing mandates. She takes the reins of Dittmar & Indrenius’ trademark practice. At HH Partners Attorneys-at-law, “Esa Korkeamäki is a gentleman in every respect. He is ever so polite and can always be counted on to be fair in litigation proceedings”.

Individuals

  • Henrik af Ursin - Merilampi Attorneys Ltd
  • Hanna-Maija Elo - Properta Attorneys Ltd
  • Petteri Häkkänen - Eversheds (International) LLP
  • Rainer Hilli - Roschier, Attorneys Ltd
  • Åsa Krook - Waselius & Wist
  • Ben Rapinoja - Borenius Attorneys Ltd
  • Sakari Salonen - Castrén & Snellman
  • Markku Tuominen - Roschier, Attorneys Ltd
  • Peter Åkerlund - Boco IP
  • Elina Heikkilä - Boco IP
  • Kalle Hynönen - Krogerus
  • Bernt Juthström - Waselius & Wist
  • Henri Kaikkonen - Bird & Bird LLP
  • Jani Kaulo - Kolster Oy Ab
  • Kaisu Korpua - Roschier, Attorneys Ltd
  • Lasse Laaksonen - Borenius Attorneys Ltd
  • Nina Mikander - Castrén & Snellman
  • Ella Mikkola - Bird & Bird
  • Paula Sailas - Berggren Oy
  • Sarita Schröder - Hannes Snellman Attorneys Ltd
  • Mikael Segercrantz - Roschier, Attorneys Ltd
  • Panu Siitonen - Hannes Snellman Attorneys Ltd
  • Kukka Tommila - Properta Attorneys Ltd
  • Petri Eskola - Backström & Co
  • Kaisa Fahllund - Berggren Oy
  • Anna Haapanen - Dittmar & Indrenius
  • Tom-Erik Hagelberg - Laine IP Oy
  • Hannu Halmetoja - Berggren Oy
  • Antti Innanen - Dottir Attorneys
  • Joose Kilpimaa - Kolster Oy Ab
  • Esa Korkeamäki - HH Partners Attorneys-at-law
  • Milla Lehtoranta - Berggren Oy
  • Lassi Lepistö - Eversheds (International) LLP
  • Pamela Lönnqvist - Boco IP
  • Jussi Mikkola - Papula-Nevinpat
  • Kim Parviainen - Castrén & Snellman
  • Kati Rantala - Eversheds (International) LLP
  • Laura Roselius - Boco IP
  • Tarja Tchernych - Berggren Oy
  • Asta Uhlbäck - Roschier, Attorneys Ltd

Individuals: anti-counterfeiting

  • Henrik af Ursin - Merilampi Attorneys Ltd
  • Hanna-Maija Elo - Properta Attorneys Ltd
  • Bernt Juthström - Waselius & Wist
  • Jani Kaulo - Kolster Oy Ab
  • Åsa Krook - Waselius & Wist
  • Ella Mikkola - Bird & Bird
  • Sakari Salonen - Castrén & Snellman