Panama was one of the first countries in Central America to offer free access to its database of trademarks and it continues to stand out in the region for its simple and efficient trademark protection system. However, the Panama Industrial Property Office suffers from a lack of government investment and uses outdated technology; reportedly, the office database was recently down for two weeks, which made information difficult to obtain. The WTR 1000 2019 firm rankings for Panama remain wholly consistent with those in the 2018 edition; however, several individuals make their debut appearance in the rankings this year, such as Robert Gomez of Cedeño & Méndez.
- Estudio Benedetti
- Icaza González-Ruiz & Alemán
- Alfaro, Ferrer & Ramirez
- Guinard & Noriega
- Jiménez, Molino y Moreno
- Arias, Fábrega & Fábrega
- Arosemena Noriega & Contreras
- Morgan & Morgan
Alfaro, Ferrer & Ramirez
Influential commercial outfit Alfaro, Ferrer & Ramirez has done more to advance Panama’s government and economic affairs than perhaps any other law firm. Although focused on corporate activities, it makes an impact in intellectual property, too – not only by protecting clients to the hilt, but through participation in the legislative process and teaching. Marissa Lasso de la Vega Ferrari provides assured leadership to the IP team. A former board member of the Inter-American Association of Intellectual Property and very active in INTA, she leverages an excellent network of cherry-picked contacts abroad – and her own international expertise – to deliver solutions and strategies for the whole of Latin America.
Arias, Fábrega & Fábrega
With roots going back to 1893, Arias, Fábrega & Fábrega has a rich tradition in myriad legal disciplines, including intellectual property. Its trademark activities are wide ranging, encompassing routine prosecution – which it does efficiently and at a high volume – as well as difficult litigation, which it sees to with confidence and poise. Over the years the set has engaged extensively in developing the country’s IP laws, so it really knows them inside out. Carol Durling, who debuts in the WTR 1000 this year, oversees the practice. An experienced administrative and court litigator, she serves as sword and shield for her clients.
Arosemena Noriega & Contreras
Full-service firm Arosemena Noriega & Contreras sets itself to IP tasks diligently, commercially and efficiently. It has been protecting and enforcing trademark rights for over 50 years and devotes the resources necessary for securing the right result, whether before the Panamanian industrial property office or in the courts. The firm is also active internationally, through an extended network of foreign associates. José Miguel Navarrete is the main point of contact for interested parties. Litigation and dispute resolution are his metier.
Established in September 2017 by former partners of IP market leader Benedetti & Benedetti, Estudio Benedetti is a new name on the market – yet already a familiar and respected one. The firm has the largest full-time IP team, which enables it to respond rapidly to client requests, follow up proactively and solve problems easily. As well as being a statistical leader on the filing front, the firm also acquits itself with distinction in litigation, where meticulous preparation and thorough analysis pave the way for quick and cost-effective resolutions. Maintaining excellent relationships with Customs and remaining extremely vigilant regardless of the prevailing government policy on piracy, the ensemble is also best in class when it comes to anti-counterfeiting – an area of practice in which it is considered a pioneer. Ramón Benedetti is the senior partner in charge; Audrey Williams takes the lead on anti-counterfeiting; Diana Leandro captains the litigation group; Ramón Benedetti Aleman supervises the renewals and foreign filing departments. All four are utterly dedicated and must be kept on speed dial if you want the best service in Panama and the wider Latin America region.
Guinard & Noriega
When the IP department of Vallarino, Vallarino & Garcia-Maritano incorporated itself as a separate entity in 2016, Guinard & Noriega was born. The change enabled the team to really double down on intellectual property and remain undistracted by the activities of other commercial departments – and since the two entities retain close links, clients of one get easy access to the other. Trademark prosecution and filing are bread and butter for the crew, whose advice on protection matters comes overlaid with wise strategic and business insights. Also experienced in both patent and trademark litigation, the team brings comfort when trouble brews. Popular among regional foreign associates for providing an excellent service without nickel and diming, Luis Guinard Rennert and Vanessa Noriega take charge. Guinard litigates and focuses on complex problem solving, while Noriega handles portfolios with exceptional organisational skills.
Icaza González-Ruiz & Alemán
Primed and ready come what may, Icaza González-Ruiz & Alemán has “Panama’s most experienced IP portfolio manager” in Gabriela Tejada de Britton and “one of the best trademark infringement litigators” in Hugo Moran – this is why it makes its sixth straight appearance in the WTR 1000 gold tier this year. Credit must also be given to the indelible contributions to the development of IP law in the country that the firm has made over many years.
Jiménez, Molino y Moreno
Intellectual property is a central plank of Jiménez, Molino y Moreno’s full-service commercial offering. The firm devises and executes watertight trademark protection schemes for those doing business in Panama and regionally and is praised for its prosecution prowess. Its litigation performances also garner plaudits. Managing partner Edwin Molino is a seasoned advocate with “excellent litigation pedigree”. “An experienced, skilful lawyer who practices with integrity, he is rightfully one of the most respected IP experts in Panama.”
Morgan & Morgan
Morgan & Morgan upholds traditional values and standards of lawyering, but is a forward-thinking firm that is seen as a business as much as legal partner by its many illustrious clients. The menu of IP options it presents is replete, so whether you are fighting counterfeiters in the Colón Free Trade Zone, grappling with regulatory concerns or simply looking to get rights on the register, the firm has the necessary resources and skill to take care of the issue. The partner in charge is former president of the Panamanian Intellectual Property Association and tax specialist Enrique Jiménez. He is flanked by excellent and experienced associates including commercially minded portfolio manager María Eugenia Brenes and redoubtable litigator Allen Candanedo.
Other recommended expertsAn anti-counterfeiting ace and IP all-rounder who sports expertise in regulatory law, Miguel De Puy III is a one-stop shop for clients for whom IP is pivotal. The former Morgan & Morgan lawyer now runs his own self-titled firm. Roberto Gomez takes the reins of regional firm Cedeño & Méndez’s IP department. He offers hands-on, round-the-clock Central and Latin American trademark protection support to the Kellogg Company and many reputable foreign associates.
- Ramón R Benedetti - Estudio Benedetti
- Luis E Guinard Rennert - Guinard & Noriega
- Marissa Lasso de la Vega Ferrari - Alfaro, Ferrer & Ramirez
- Edwin Molino - Jiménez, Molino y Moreno
- Hugo Moran R - Icaza González-Ruiz & Alemán
- Gabriela Tejada de Britton - Icaza González-Ruiz & Alemán
- Audrey Williams - Estudio Benedetti
- María Eugenia Brenes - Morgan & Morgan
- Allen Candanedo - Morgan & Morgan
- Miguel A De Puy III - De Puy & Asociados
- Carol Durling - Arias, Fábrega & Fábrega
- Roberto Gomez - Cedeño & Méndez
- Enrique Jiménez - Morgan & Morgan
- Diana Leandro - Estudio Benedetti
- José Miguel Navarrete - Arosemena Noriega & Contreras
- Vanessa Noriega - Guinard & Noriega