India

The Indian government knows the importance of strong IP protection and has been working to improve the market for innovative companies; for example, trademark rule changes in 2017 brought about several improvements, including expedited prosecution and the electronic service of documents. The Indian Trademark Office has also devoted substantial resources to clearing the prosecution backlog and done so judiciously; most trademark applications now proceed to grant in less than one year; practitioners are hopeful this will last, given that the number of filings is increasing. The government has made other changes to make it easier to do business in India; the Commercial Courts Act was amended to allow for matters valued at Rs300,000 or more to be heard before the commercial courts – as opposed to Rs10 million, as it was the requirement previously.

Firms: enforcement and litigation

Firms: prosecution and strategy

Anand and Anand 

Trailblazer Anand and Anand impresses with its “long track record of excellence”, “crack enforcement capabilities” and “holistic, one-stop trademark service”. Managing director Pravin Anand is a tenacious operator in the courtroom who has proven his mettle in a long list of landmark trials. The firm managing director commands immense respect as a hands-on practitioner – “unlike some competitors, Pravin often makes court appearances”. Lately, his team obtained an order from the Delhi High Court on behalf of Colgate to freeze the contents of a container ship carrying a substantial number of counterfeit toothbrushes from China. While enforcement is the firm’s metier, prosecution matters are equally well tended to. Head of trademarks Safir Anand offers multinationals an excellent portfolio service.

Archer & Angel

Commercial law firm Archer & Angel’s “cost-effective, reliable and efficient” trademark offering strikes a chord with foreign associates. As one comments: “We have been sending more work to this extremely meticulous trademark team because it is highly responsive and secures great results for us.” Another concurs: “Archer & Angel is hungry for new work, and thus has a much greater motivation to deliver excellent results than others – and it does so unfailingly.” A source of “practical and timely advice” is Srijoy Das; Sanjay Chhabra is also endorsed for his excellent client service.

AZB & Partners

The “exceptional” AZB & Partners makes its debut in the WTR 1000 this year. Sitting within a larger commercial firm, the IP team “consistently applies international best practices to the trademark field”. Its ability to mobilise a large network of foreign associates at a moment’s notice is a boon to its clients, especially for cross-border mandates, as is its around-the-clock availability: “AZB attorneys are right where you want them, when you want them, so they are great for anything urgent.” Such reliability gives confidence to multinationals such as Dell and MasterCard whether they are looking to prosecute or enforce marks. Department co-heads Akhilesh Rai and Nandan Pendsey are the names to know. Based in Delhi, Rai is a “proactive and diligent” attorney who “has an incisive understanding of the business environment and expectations of multinational companies”. He artfully crosses the contentious/non-contentious divide, as does Pendsey, who is lauded as “a multifaceted strategist and adviser” who demonstrates “thoroughness and a keen eye for detail”.

Chadha & Chadha Intellectual Property Law Firm

With 10 offices dotted around the country, Chadha & Chadha is always within easy reach. It provides a comprehensive array of trademark services and is emerging as a compelling one-stop shop. After a busy year on the enforcement front, the ensemble breaks into the WTR 1000 enforcement and litigation category for the first time while retaining its placement on the prosecution and strategy table. A collegial working culture is one of the keys to the strong and lasting client relationships formed by the group; the practitioners here are “responsive and helpful” at all times. One of the best examples of this is Sonal Madan, a trademark prosecution and enforcement maven. She is also a smooth negotiator; she recently resolved a knotty trademark dispute for Davines SpA in a short period of time.

De Penning & De Penning

IP trailblazer De Penning & De Penning has weathered changes large and small over its illustrious history of more than 160 years; although, throughout that time it has stayed the course for its clients and given 110% effort to safeguard their IP rights. The firm’s strongest suit is prosecution; it deploys an excellent case management system to get work done efficiently and cost-effectively. However, its service offering is comprehensive; on anything contentious senior litigator Malavika Vikram provides rigorous representation.

Fidus Law Chambers

Foreign associates appreciate the service provided by Fidus Law Chambers – a nimble set up which punches well above its weight to assiduously guide clients through a vast array of branding issues. Erstwhile INTA board director Shwetasree Majumder is a multi-talented attorney who founded the firm in 2008.

Inttl Advocare 

Held in high esteem by peers, “Inttl Advocare has great expertise litigating trademark, patent and copyright disputes and regularly gets superb results”. The firm supplements its contentious expertise with a deep knowledge of IT law; it also prosecutes trademarks with finesse. The boutique outfit is fronted by Hemant Singh, an intrepid enforcer who has handled more than 2,000 IP actions in his 35-year career.

K&S Partners

“One of India’s preeminent IP firms” K&S Partners is a repository of trust for marquee international brands, thanks to the “prompt and comprehensive advice” it dispenses. An outstanding prosecution practice is the jewel in the firm’s crown, although proficiency in litigation and dispute resolution is also clearly in evidence. Soft IP guru Rajendra Kumar heads the trademark and litigation practices.

Khaitan & Co

Full-service firm Khaitan & Co’s tight-knit trademark team offers an A-Z service for some of the most iconic brands in the world, including Amazon and Novartis. Building on its solid foundation in portfolio management, the firm has amped up its activities in the Bangalore, Bombay and Delhi courts. Patent and trademark connoisseur Adheesh Nargolkar is a prosecutor of the highest order; when registering marks, he exercises great foresight concerning potential future enforcement issues and transactional needs. Shailendra Bhandare comes recommended for his “smart, knowledgeable and responsive” approach to trademark work.

Krishna & Saurastri Associates LLP

“Handling a sizable number of portfolios,” Krishna & Saurastri provides a sterling A-to-Z trademark service. The Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Mumbai, New Delhi and Pune firm has a laser focus on intellectual property and possesses abundant expertise in adjacent areas, including media and regulatory law. Sunil Krishna and Manish Saurastri are the g-to guys for prosecution and litigation respectively.

Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan 

Recognised as a heavyweight in the patent space, Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan is steadily expanding its trademark practice. The firm, which specialises in corporate law and taxation alongside intellectual property, has incredible coverage of the Indian market and beyond, which makes it a smart choice for both domestic and foreign brand owners. It operates 11 offices throughout the country as well as a bureau in London. IP head Parthasarathy R is a key contact for interested parties.

Legasis

Making the most of the firm’s sophisticated proprietary docketing systems, the Legasis IP team is dedicated to the efficient protection of trademark rights. It is also highly adept at unlocking IP value for clients through astute commercialisation efforts. The Hyderabad, Mumbai, New Delhi and Pune firm acts as an effective one-stop shop for a diverse assortment of clients consisting of start-ups, technology companies and inventors, among others.

LexOrbis 

LexOrbis is in expansion mode – it recently opened a new office in Mumbai and merged with IP Astra in Bangalore. The organisation provides a tight 360-degree trademark service. It secures outstanding results on the enforcement front and has its own investigation team to aid evidence collection in anti-counterfeiting campaigns and litigation. Another distinction is its sectoral approach to trademark work; the team has cultivated a deep understanding of the food and beverage, pharmaceuticals and IT sectors and uses this to deliver commercially astute advice to patrons. Manisha Singh and Abhai Pandey are the names to note.

Rahul Chaudhry & Partners 

Lall, Lahiri & Salhotra became Rahul Chaudhry & Partners in mid-2018 – something that not only reflects a change in ownership but signals a fresh beginning for the firm. The move has given the ensemble momentum; for example, it has recently completed a project to automate its case management systems. Nonetheless, the firm’s “high degree of efficiency and reliability” has remained constant; brand owners speak enthusiastically about its “client-oriented, legally sound advice”, which is dispensed in a “pragmatic and responsive manner”. “Diligent and proactive”, Rahul Chaudhry has garnered a loyal fanbase. He forms a formidable trademark triumvirate with Anuradha Salhotra and Veena Poolakal.

Remfry & Sagar

Historic outfit Remfry & Sagar commands a whopping 15% of all inbound trademark registrations in India. Even so, growth has been a distinctive thread in the firm’s recent narrative; having elevated three people to profit-sharing partnership, it recently took on 50 attorneys and support staff and opened a new Bangalore office. These moves further cement its status as a leading one-stop hub for the entire Indian sub-continent. Managing partner Ashwin Julka brings assured leadership to the 250-plus member organisation and is an influential figure in the Indian and international IP milieu. Top-notch thought leadership is also provided by prosecution maestro Samta Mehra and hotshot litigator CA Brijesh. Both practitioners are active participants in INTA; Mehra chairs the association’s India Trademark Office Practices Committee, while Brijesh takes charge of the Parallel Imports Committee. For prosecution, Devika Mehra is a great name to know; she has accumulated infinite wisdom regarding regional IP protection. Copyright briefs are dispatched with alacrity by Vishnumohan Rethinam. He is an authority on IP issues related to social media and the Internet.

RK Dewan & Co 

RK Dewan is immensely popular both with Indian industry leaders and global household names because it “consistently delivers excellent and accurate advice in a prompt and professional manner”. With over 135 IP professionals and ISO-9001:2008 certification, the firm has a deep reservoir of talent from which to draw and lives up to the highest standards in terms of quality and efficiency. It has an extensive network of foreign associates too, which can be deployed to manage sprawling global portfolios. Four decades of experience sets Mohan Dewan apart. An expert in rights protection, he vigilantly watches over Indian confectionary producer Parle Products’ trademark portfolio which comprises over 700 marks in 75 countries. He is also a highly accomplished litigator and recently added to his list of victories with an infringement win for Zensar Technologies before the Pune District Court. Under his steady stewardship, the firm has been constantly expanding; it recently opened a 7th Indian office in Bangalore and a bureau in Dalian, China. The latter move was overseen by Disha Dewan, a highly personable attorney who garners glowing notices from marquee names such as Kate Spade. A skilled and extremely efficient prosecutor, she recently registered over 100 marks for Pallod Farms in the space of four months. Alongside her trademark prosecution and legal work she has a host of managerial responsibilities; she never drops the ball on anything though, and still finds time to visit clients and speak at international conferences all over the world.

RNA Technology and IP Attorneys 

A trademark stalwart renowned for its enforcement nous, RNA wins effusive praise for its “commercially focused approach, superb work quality and professionalism”. The “peerless” Ranjan Narula is the star of the show. “Clever and knowledgeable, he pulls off successful enforcement campaigns daily. He does not over-lawyer things; instead he dispenses creative ideas to solve complex problems and cost-effective strategies to advance business objectives. He is nimble at the negotiation table too.” In addition to prosecution and enforcement work, Narula is also a percipient adviser on advertising and marketing clearances.

Saikrishna & Associates 

Saikrishna & Associates has a trademark team of over 20 lawyers stationed across its Noida and Delhi offices, which provides a kaleidoscopic range of trademark services. The ensemble mines a rich seam of expertise in the automotive, media and entertainment, software and IT sectors. Sources particularly recommend the firm for its enforcement and litigation offering, which is overseen by eminent litigator Saikrishna Rajagopal. A key contact in the areas of trademark, copyright, media and data protection law, Ameet Datta is a protean professional.

Sim & San, Attorneys At Law 

A wave of enthusiastic feedback propels Sim & San, Attorneys At Law into the WTR 1000 listings this year. “Efficient and passionate, the firm brilliantly handles commercially important IP issues. Its service is truly personalised – something that can be hard to come by in India – while work quality rivals that of international firms. The team consists of young, dynamic lawyers, and senior practitioners who provide pragmatic guidance to clients and younger lawyers alike”. One such mentor is founding and managing partner Sangeeta Goel. For over four decades she has been a prominent and influential IP figure domestically and internationally. “Tenacious litigator Mohit Goel is a source of legally and commercially sound enforcement strategies.” Several sources extol his ability to “think quickly and adapt to different scenarios in the courtroom”.

Singh & Associates

With 30 professionals overseeing a substantial volume of trademarks and portfolios, Singh & Associates is a major player in Indian intellectual property. It recently opened a new office in Gurugram, which expands its network to five cities across the country. Marquee international clients such as Continental Reifen Deutschland and Hard Rock Café flock to the firm for meticulous prosecution and incisive enforcement. Adept at tailoring its service and advice to its audience, it also provides a tip-top service to start-ups and pro bono clients with the same enthusiasm and ISO 9001:2008-certified quality as it does to multinationals. Manoj Kumar Singh and Daizy Chawla co-lead the practice.

Singh and Singh Law Firm LLP 

Singh and Singh Law Firm LLP is celebrated for its “awesome litigation practice” and lives up to its reputation for excellence in trademark disputes. The team recently showed what it can do representing Prius Auto Industries against Toyota in a trademark infringement and passing-off suit. Having reversed a permanent injunction order against its client, Singh and Singh successfully persuaded the Supreme Court to dismiss an appeal lodged by Toyota. Soft-IP ace Sudeep Chatterjee played an instrumental role in this victory. Sitting on the organisation’s Copyright Committee, he is an active participant of INTA.

SS Rana & Co

“SS Rana is heavily invested in trademark practice and runs a sterling prosecution operation. Its collegial practitioners stay sharp and are kept busy by a steady flow of files.” Managing partner Vikrant Rana leads from the frontlines. He knows all about IP law and strategy and takes a rigorously commercial approach to IP tasks.

WS Kane & Co

“A perennial presence in Bombay’s courts,” WS Kane & Co is enduringly popular when only tenacious representation in litigation will do; it routinely pulls off stunning performances in the courthouse, but also has a gift for facilitating early wins. For a particularly complex case, Himanshu Kane is the person to call.

ZeusIP Advocates

Award-winning Delhi outfit ZeusIP is a compelling choice for “fast, reliable and cost-effective prosecution services”. Client-focused to the core, it takes pride in its sophisticated IT systems and stringent quality control protocols. As a one-stop shop, no aspect of trademark protection and enforcement is outside the firm’s bailiwick. Managing partner Gunjan Paharia is immensely knowledgeable about IP protection in the region.

Other recommended experts

Rekha Dabas is the IP director at Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas. The Remfry & Sagar and Rouse alumnus has a wealth of experience across the full spectrum of trademark work. Commercial and IP lawyer Gowree Gokhale plies her trade at Mumbai firm Nishith Desai Associates. Groverlaw’s Vikram Grover is a contentious ace who often represents multinational companies in must-win litigation and raid actions. Managing partner of Mason & Associates, Neel Mason leads a team of young lawyers to provide a customer-centric trademark service. Amarjit Singh Monga is a “superb litigator and a deep font of trademark knowledge” at Amarjit & Associates. Consummate counsel Ranjan Negi provides brand owners with incisive guidance from the Delhi office of Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas. Independent practitioner Anupam Pandey’s practice encompasses IP, e-commerce, IT and media law. Over at Neolegal Associates, “eminent copyright and entertainment lawyer” Xerxes Ranina is revered for his commercially oriented approach to trademark work. Mustafa Safiyuddin recently left Legasis to found ABH Law. Delhi-based Ajay Sahni runs Ajay Sahni & Associates. He is an elder statesman who has dedicated 35 years of his career to intellectual property. Raja Selvam at Selvam and Selvam “is incredibly responsive and possesses extensive industry knowledge”. Sushant Singh offers top-notch contentious advice at Sushant M Singh & Associates.

Individuals: enforcement and litigation

  • Pravin Anand - Anand and Anand 
  • Rajendra Kumar - K&S Partners
  • Saikrishna Rajagopal - Saikrishna & Associates
  • Mohan Dewan - RK Dewan & Co 
  • Vikram Grover - Groverlaw
  • Himanshu Kane - WS Kane & Co
  • Shwetasree Majumder - Fidus Law Chambers
  • Amarjit Singh Monga - Amarjit & Associates
  • Ranjan Narula - RNA Technology and IP Attorneys
  • Mustafa Safiyuddin - ABH Law
  • Ajay Sahni - Ajay Sahni & Associates 
  • Anuradha Salhotra - Rahul Chaudhry & Partners
  • Hemant Singh - Inttl Advocare
  • CA Brijesh - Remfry & Sagar
  • Ameet Datta - Saikrishna & Associates
  • Mohit Goel - Sim & San, Attorneys At Law
  • Neel Mason - Mason & Associates
  • Nandan Pendsey - AZB & Partners
  • Akhilesh Rai - AZB & Partners
  • Vikrant Rana - SS Rana & Co 
  • Manish Saurastri - Krishna & Saurastri Associates LLP
  • Sushant Singh - Sushant M Singh & Associates

Individuals: prosecution and strategy

  • Safir Anand - Anand and Anand 
  • Rahul Chaudhry - Rahul Chaudhry & Partners
  • Ashwin Julka - Remfry & Sagar
  • Mohan Dewan - RK Dewan & Co 
  • Sangeeta Goel - Sim & San, Attorneys At Law
  • Sunil B Krishna - Krishna & Saurastri Associates LLP
  • Ranjan Narula - RNA Technology and IP Attorneys
  • Gunjan Paharia - ZeusIP Advocates
  • Shailendra Bhandare - Khaitan & Co
  • Sanjay Chhabra - Archer & Angel
  • Rekha Dabas - Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas
  • Srijoy Das - Archer & Angel
  • Disha Dewan - RK Dewan & Co 
  • Gowree A Gokhale - Nishith Desai Associates
  • Devika Mehra - Remfry & Sagar
  • Samta Mehra - Remfry & Sagar
  • Adheesh Nargolkar - Khaitan & Co
  • Ranjan Negi - Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas
  • Nandan Pendsey - AZB & Partners
  • Veena Poolakal - Rahul Chaudhry & Partners
  • Akhilesh Rai - AZB & Partners
  • Xerxes Ranina - Neolegal Associates
  • Raja Selvam - Selvam and Selvam
  • Malavika Vikram - De Penning & De Penning