In today’s increasingly competitive globalised marketplace, cast-iron international protection for brands has never been more important. With many in-house trademark departments consolidating their legal work among a smaller number of service providers as a result of budget cuts, those firms with the necessary resources and expertise to provide consistent, insightful advice across borders are perfectly placed to capitalise on this trend. In this section we shine a spotlight on the firms that have secured WTR 1000 listings in multiple regions; for many global brand owners, these international titans are the first port of call.
- Allen & Overy LLP
- Arochi & Lindner SC
- Baker McKenzie
- Bird & Bird
- Cooley LLP
- DLA Piper LLP
- Gowling WLG
- Herbert Smith Freehills LLP
- Herrero & Asociados
- Hogan Lovells
- Jones Day
- Marks & Clerk
- Mayer Brown LLP
- Norton Rose Fulbright LLP
- PONS IP
- Reed Smith LLP
- Rouse & Co International
- Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP
- Simmons & Simmons LLP
- Stephenson Harwood LLP
- Taylor Wessing
Allen & Overy LLP
Prestigious UK Magic Circle firm Allen & Overy has not been shy about its desire to become one of the top international IP players and, while this is an ongoing project, the firm has certainly made all the right moves thus far. A member of the global IP elite, designs and brands mastermind David Stone has made A&O a happy home since he joined in late 2016. The firm has also been hiring in Asia, bringing Hong Kong-based David Shen to the cause; Shen heads a robust China IP practice which bilingually caters to multinationals. The firm makes its debut appearance in the China: foreign section of the WTR 1000 this year.
Arochi & Lindner SC
Celebrated Mexican outfit Arochi & Lindner has made a strong impression in Spain since it opened for business in Barcelona in 2011 and in Madrid in 2014. A former IP director at Red Bull, Madrid-based Gonzalo Barboza is cited as one of the most commercially attuned trademark professionals in Spain. Back in Mexico, Arochi & Lindner continues to reign supreme on enforcement, and is the only firm with three WTR 1000 gold-tier litigators in its squad: Roberto Arochi, Heidi Lindner and María Teresa Eljure.
Awapatent has successfully positioned itself as a thoroughly modern international IP consultancy, with a strong presence in Northern Europe and Asia. AWA Group CEO Magnus Hallin, based in Malmo, must be credited with this success. He is very much into the business side of intellectual property, and has changed the face of the firm better to serve the commercial needs of its patrons. Awapatent really hit the big time in 2015 when it cut the ribbon on offices in Beijing and Hong Kong, and it definitely chose the right person to lead the AWA Asia effort in Ai-Leen Lim. She has been putting in consistently stellar performances for big brands, which love her for telling it like it is.
Year after year Baker McKenzie comes out on top in the WTR 1000 in terms of the total number of individuals and offices featured. Yet its sprawling global trademark practice continues to make significant headway in new and existing markets: in 2017 its Mexican and Argentinian teams entered the guide; this year, its leading Japanese IP practitioners – namely Daisuke Tatsuno and Kensaku Takase – are also ranked. Formerly a member of Baker McKenzie’s executive committee, Canada-based Jim Holloway also joins the listings with his return to IP practice. Other notable achievements for the firm include moving from a recommended to a gold ranking for enforcement and litigation in Singapore; London trademark registration practice leader Jessica Le Gros ascending to the gold tier individually; and an improvement in the rankings of New York stalwarts Lisa Rosaya and Pamela Church, who both garner outstanding feedback.
Bird & Bird
Bird & Bird’s international reach is impressive; the firm is recommended in a host of European jurisdictions large and small, across the Middle East and in Hong Kong and China. As is expected of a top-tier UK export, it does first-rate work for blue-chip clients across all offices – and in seamless fashion. However, one of its chief distinctions is its thought leadership in the international community; many of its lawyers elevate the global trademark discussion, which is good not only for all IP stakeholders, but for clients, too.
A paragon of excellence, Cooley radiates in multifaceted contentious and non-contentious engagements alike. Its transatlantic US and UK-based branding squad acts on behalf of myriad world-leading brand owners and is especially reputed for its work in the tech space. The firm receives glowing accolades and, as a result, has enjoyed improvements across the board in the WTR 1000: it rises to silver in the competitive UK rankings, thanks in large part to Nicholas Bolter’s talents; both the firm and Brendan Hughes join the DC Metro listings; and all of its California-ranked practitioners move up the tables individually. In addition, Bobby Ghajar joins the esteemed list of nationally recognised litigators, alongside colleague John Crittenden.
A number of recent strategic moves by Dentons has helped it to break into new and important markets. In 2016, it opened up shop in Latin America through its three-way merger with Colombian firm Cárdenas & Cárdenas and Mexican firm López Velarde, while last year it launched its IP practice in Italy with the hire of Giovanni Francesco Casucci, which has further strengthened its fine-tuned Europe-wide offering. Other changes include the WTR 1000 debut of Poland-based Marek Trojnarski and John Linneker’s ascension to the silver band in England. Over in the United States, the New York contingent made its first appearance in the guide last year, principally as a result of the efforts of Monica Richman. This year, thanks to her unstinting dedication and value-focused counsel, Richman moves to the exclusive gold tier individually in the fiercely competitive New York market.
DLA Piper LLP
A leading actor on the international stage, few can match the depth and breadth of DLA Piper’s talent: it is one of the only firms in the WTR 1000 with a significant presence in North America, Europe and Asia. But the firm refuses to rest on its laurels and continues to gain momentum in all corners of the world. It features in France this year for the first time, along with Karine Disdier-Mikus, on the back of glowing endorsements from clients; the new inclusion of Ukraine-based Natalia Pakhomovska is another testament to its mounting European capabilities. There have also been many developments on the US front: Heather Dunn, Tamar Duvdevani and Ryan Compton make their debuts in the WTR 1000, while Keith Medansky and Christina Martini of its Chicago office both rise to the elite gold tier – the firm and all of its individuals in Illinois now appear at the zenith of the rankings.
Only one or two other firms have as wide a geographic spread of WTR 1000 rankings as Gowling WLG, which makes appearances in the Canada, China, Russia, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom sections. The last two years have been an exciting period for the firm, with high-profile recruitments in multiple locations – the addition of Jon Parker in Dubai being the best example – and the formation of an association with JurisAsia taking it into Singapore. The firm’s hard work integrating its international team has really paid dividends for multinational brand owners; if they want to know, for example, the best jurisdiction to pursue a particular course of action, Gowling WLG can provide the most sophisticated answer, because its people are not fighting for territory.
Herbert Smith Freehills LLP
The global IP team at Herbert Smith Freehills is a force in high-rolling patent infringement litigation, but its touch on sophisticated trademark matters is incredibly deft. This is why companies such as British American Tobacco call on London partner and head of UK intellectual property Joel Smith; he has been providing strategic advice on the issue of tobacco product plain packaging. Smith is also just the right man for complex global transactions involving brands. When it comes to portfolio management, the team in Australia takes the lead: miracle-worker Celia Davies in Melbourne somehow serves clients across nearly 150 jurisdictions without dropping the ball.
A unique selling point for Spanish player Herrero is its ability to serve as a one-stop shop for clients protecting and enforcing trademarks in both Europe and Latin America. In recent years, it has amped up its offering considerably by opening branches in Argentina, Brazil and Mexico under the direction of Madrid-based head of international affairs Maria Ángeles Moreno. The latter is the most mature of these, and Rio de Janeiro’s Maria Pia Guerra has been eliciting rich praise; like one or two other individuals mentioned in the international section of the guide, she earns trust because she is unafraid to tell clients what they might not necessarily want to hear if she feels it is in their best commercial interests. This year, Buenos Aires pro Guillermo Alcaraz makes a debut appearance in the Argentina listings.
Hogan Lovells has hundreds of trademark professionals spread across multiple continents doing cutting-edge work on a daily basis; it can get just about anything done for any brand owner anywhere in the world. The firm’s offices in Spain form the hub of an ultra-slick and sophisticated European practice; Alicante partners Imogen Fowler and Andreas Renck are certainly worth highlighting as two of the most knowledgeable EU trademark experts in the world. The firm moves from silver to gold in the WTR 1000 Spain section this year. News coming out of Asia includes the establishment of Hogan Lovells Fidelity – an association with a Chinese firm in the Shanghai Free Trade Zone – and signature wins for Blizzard Entertainment and Tencent, masterminded by Zhen (Katie) Feng and Eugene Low, respectively.
Jones Day shines in all phases of trademark law and its savvy professionals operate seamlessly on an international scale. Its pan-European offering is a particular boon to brand owners with cross-border operations; on the continent, its Paris and Munich trademark units are especially noteworthy, with the former being led by gold-ranked litigator Emmanuel Baud. Similarly, its US practice is also acclaimed for its hardened rights enforcers, and expert trial attorney John Froemming enters the national rankings among the best trademark litigators in the country. The firm’s versatile capabilities in Asia are yet another string to its bow and it makes the grade in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan.
Marks & Clerk
Marks & Clerk is one of the United Kingdom’s heavyweight patent and trademark attorney outfits. It was also one of the first to branch out into the litigation space, forming a solicitor’s firm for the purpose; other attorney firms are playing catch-up now. Its leading name on home turf is undoubtedly Campbell Newell up in Edinburgh; clients rave about him, praising his down-to-earth style mixed with an unwavering commitment to excellence. The practice in Asia continues to buzz, thanks to the sterling efforts of Sandra Gibbons in Greater China, Candice Kwok in Singapore and Malaysia’s Gerald Samuel, a litigator who set up his own firm that closely cooperates with Marks & Clerk.
Mayer Brown LLP
A redoubtable name in the branding world, Mayer Brown often finds itself acting on behalf of top-dollar clients in sophisticated domestic and cross-border trademark quandaries. The full-bodied Hong Kong contingent is lauded by peers and patrons alike, but its US lawyers also receive their fair share of praise. In 2017, the firm suffered a blow with the departure of Brian Winterfeldt, a nationally recognised internet and domain name specialist in the United States. However, the set continues to wield considerable expertise in this area in the form of Michael Adams. Widely acclaimed for his online branding nous, he enters the national rankings for domain name experts. As a leader of the global branding management group, Adams has also helped to steer the international trademark practice down the path of success.
Norton Rose Fulbright LLP
Never short on resources, global powerhouse Norton Rose Fulbright leverages its unified network of offices across over 30 countries to spectacular effect. Its already formidable trademark presence in North America was bolstered at the beginning of 2017, when its Canadian wing combined with Vancouver-based Bull Housser. The firm puts in stellar performances in the Asia-Pacific region as well, particularly in Hong Kong and Australia.
PONS IP makes its inaugural appearance in the international section of the WTR 1000 this year. The firm’s ability to seamlessly transact IP business across Latin America is one of its standout features but, with bases in Colombia, the United States, China and Belgium, in addition to multiple Spanish offices, its capabilities are impressively global. Its team is diverse and cosmopolitan, and includes individuals from different countries and walks of life, who collectively speak a remarkable array of languages. Providing resolute leadership to the international trademark department is Isabel Cortés, who is distinguished by her sterling academic credentials and on-point understanding of the business of intellectual property. She manages sweeping portfolios and oversees worldwide filing programmes with finesse.
Reed Smith LLP
The imposing size of Reed Smith belies the speedy and personalised touch of its services. Its vigilant UK squad is a particular force when it comes to high-stakes media branding issues, while the US trademark team handles equally remarkable tasks for some of the best-known rights holders in the world. It also has boots on the ground in Asia, with Steven Birt holding the fort in Hong Kong. In recent years, a number of heavyweight hires to its branding practice has put the firm on the map in the trademark world. Its California profile has greatly benefited from this, and the firm rises to the silver tier there this year; individually, Jason Garcia joins the listings, while Rob Phillips and Katherine Basile are promoted to the prestigious gold rankings for their razor-sharp litigation and prosecution skills, respectively.
Rouse & Co International
Rouse is one of the top international firms practising IP law in Asia and an elite enforcer that can secure results in emerging markets like few others. Although the firm has suffered big name departures in London and China, it still burns bright on the international stage and wins WTR 1000 laurels in China, Indonesia, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates and Vietnam. Key contacts include Middle East and North Africa manager Sara Holder in Dubai and deputy CEO Nicholas Redfearn in Indonesia.
Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton LLP
Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton is well known for its effortless handle on even the thorniest of IP disputes, and its visibility and reputation in this field remains sharply on the ascendant. The New York office debuts in the listings this year thanks to effusive praise from commentators, while star individuals Theodore Max and Paul Garrity both climb the individual rankings. The firm’s continued successes on the West Coast have also seen it break into the silver tier in California. Due to its consistent display of prosecution and litigation prowess across the United States, the firm makes its way into the national rankings for the first time. Meanwhile, gold-ranked Scott Palmer, who is based in China, keeps the IP practice grounded in Asia with his judicious insight into complex problems.
Simmons & Simmons LLP
Simmons & Simmons ascends to the silver tier in the United Kingdom this year; one of the most innovative lawyers among the next generation of London stars, Darren Meale gets absolutely banging feedback and makes his debut appearance in the guide, while Adrian Smith continues to impress as a “true trademark all-rounder”. The firm has a tight-knit network and strong presence on the European continent, which alleviates any Brexit-related concerns its clients may have. Out in Asia, John Slater in Hong Kong and George Chan in Beijing serve as beacons of light for multinationals that want to make their mark in Greater China.
Stephenson Harwood LLP
Stephenson Harwood debuts in the international section of the WTR 1000 this year, subsequent to a maiden entry in the Hong Kong section and continued recognition in the United Kingdom. The firm is firing on all cylinders right now and, as testament to this, garners some of the best client and foreign correspondent feedback of any organisation in the entire guide; its superb handling of multijurisdictional litigation is the talk of the international IP community. While established partners such as London’s Eifion Morris and Alexandra Pygall continue to knock the ball out of the park, newly minted partners Rob Jacob – also in London – and Jonathan Chu in Hong Kong are hitting their stride and performing at a level way beyond their years.
Taylor Wessing’s IP experts are down to earth and approachable, but the team as a whole oozes quality and sophistication. Whether they are referring to the London set, or contingents in Europe or Asia, clients cannot help but applaud the commerciality of advice they receive. The firm is a growing force in Central and Eastern Europe, and earns rankings this year in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Moving west, Olaf Gillert and crew in Germany have had a banner year coordinating Europe-wide product launches; Maarten Rijks in the Netherlands has seen to the successful roll-out of a robust prosecution practice; and in London, Mark Owen has taken over as head of the local IP and media group. Thomas Pattloch and Jonathan Kok are giving life to the firm’s brand in Asia.