Panama

For brand owners, Panama’s strategic significance lies in its position both as a gateway to Latin America and as a potential transit point for counterfeit products. However, its anti-counterfeiting regime and procedures are well developed, and empower Customs to conduct inspections and seizures in case of suspected violations of IP law; cooperating with officials and supporting them through training have thus become focal parts of practice for a number of trademark lawyers in Panama. Others focus on prosecuting rights domestically and regionally in coordination with foreign associate networks – something they do well, as reflected by ringing endorsements from sources outside the country.

Firms

  • Estudio Benedetti
  • Icaza, González-Ruiz & Alemán
  • Alfaro, Ferrer & Ramirez
  • Cedeño & Méndez
  • Fabrega Molino & Mulino
  • Guinard & Noriega
  • Jiménez, Molino y Moreno
  • Moran IP

Alfaro, Ferrer & Ramirez

Alfaro, Ferrer & Ramirez has done much to advance the Panamanian trademark scene over its 55-year history and enjoys a fine reputation as a result. Intellectual property is a central pillar at the firm, not least due to the efforts of Marissa Lasso de la Vega Ferrari, whose impressive CV includes past and present leadership positions in various domestic and international IP associations. She applies her high-level international expertise to great effect in her complex litigation practice. Monique Ferrer is another key contact. The IP partner and head of regulatory and compliance can be relied on for pragmatic brand counsel; as an enforcer, she adopts a measured approach.

Cedeño & Méndez

Innovative, dynamic and responsive, Cedeño & Méndez has grown significantly in trademark practice in recent years. Proficiency in prosecution has been a key driver: the set boasts advanced in-house portfolio monitoring systems which instantly flag up issues and operates with a technical sophistication that gives confidence to multinational companies protecting their rights in Panama. It is also gaining traction on the contentious front, following an increase in headcount and a string of favourable decisions, including a recent win for Huda Beauty. “Diligent, responsible and proactive”, IP chief Roberto Emilio Gómez Cedeño runs a tight ship and ascends to the gold tier this year on the back of warm plaudits across the board. He has lately handled commercially consequential disputes for Unibank and F’Real Foods.

Estudio Benedetti

“An IP reference in Panama, Estudio Benedetti has an organised trademark team that is deeply thoughtful and provides an excellent and comprehensive service.” The country’s largest dedicated IP boutique tops the filing leader board, has cultivated a strong network of foreign correspondents and has a pristine track record assisting Fortune 500 companies. The architect behind many of the firm’s successes is Ramón Ricardo Benedetti, a “quick-thinking and bright lawyer”. He is joined by the “profoundly knowledgeable” Diana Leandro and Audrey Williams, who oversee the litigation and anti-counterfeiting groups respectively. Leandro ascends to the WTR 1000 gold tier on the back of strong courtroom performances and high praise for her “reliability, consistent thoroughness and practicality”. In the fight against fakes, Williams leverages on the solid relationships she has built up with the Panamanian authorities over 27 years in the game. As testament to the crew’s strength in depth, Graziella Benedetti and Ramón Benedetti Alemán debut in this year’s rankings. Regulatory department head Graziella “has a solid understanding of clients’ business interests, approaches matters diligently and provides direct advice and innovative solutions”. She specialises in life sciences and cosmetics. Spearheading the renewals, recordation and foreign filings division, Ramon is a major draw for international brands and foreign associates: “Working with Ramon is fantastic – he keeps in constant communication and makes managing international portfolios easy.”

Fabrega Molino & Mulino

Full-service outfit Fabrega Molino is a preferred choice for multinational rights holders requiring superior brand services in Panama and further afield. The firm’s specialists have a flair for protecting trademarks domestically, across Latin America and worldwide, and make effective use of reliable contacts in myriad jurisdictions; they also take swift action when infringement issues arise and manoeuvre deftly before the Panamanian courts. Commercial and IP lawyer Farah Molino takes charge on trademark matters and is enthusiastically recommended by regional sources.

Guinard & Noriega

Since its inception in 2016, Guinard & Noriega has enjoyed significant increases in headcount, client base and market share. Notable developments at this forward-thinking, fast-evolving ensemble include the appointment of a new trademark department manager and the transfer in of significant new portfolios. Driven by knowledgeable and passionate founding partners Luis Guinard Rennert and Vanessa Noriega, the firm executes flawlessly across the trademark lifecycle. The seasoned Rennert and Noriega quickly alight on optimal strategies for rights protection and commercialisation; the former is the one to call when complex problems and tough litigations arise, while the latter is the choice for savvy portfolio management. Both are also authorities on franchising.

Icaza, González-Ruiz & Alemán

Respected by examiners, judges and customs agents alike, Icaza González-Ruiz & Alemán has all bases covered when it comes to trademark practice. The IP team, led by Gabriela Tejada De Britton, is well equipped to meet and exceed the needs and expectations of even the most exacting rights holders. De Britton is one of Panama’s most creative thinkers on brands and an engine of a prosecution unit which registers rights with striking efficiency. Expertise in anti-counterfeiting is another major selling point: Fernando González-Ruiz and Moises Ivan Rivera closely monitor the market and act decisively to eliminate fakes for high-profile players such as Hewlett Packard and Dreamworks Animation. González-Ruiz is distinguished by his enforcement versatility and is instructed by household names including Jaguar Land Rover and Swatch. “Rivera connects closely with clients, which enhances his strategic efficacy”; he acts for Unilever and Global Bank Corporation, among others. He makes his WTR 1000 debut this year alongside recently promoted partner Mariela De La Guardia Oteiza, who dispenses holistic advice on diverse branding problems.

Jiménez, Molino y Moreno

For crisp delivery when it comes to domestic and regional portfolio protection, Jiménez, Molino y Moreno is a smart choice. Tenacious in litigation too, the firm is an effective one-stop shop. “Well-respected” managing partner Edwin Molino “brings an acutely analytical approach to disputes” and has appearances before the Supreme Court on his CV.

Moran IP

IP boutique MORAN IP is a force to reckoned with in the litigation and anti-counterfeiting arenas. Thanks to their intimate familiarity with the country’s ports and productive relations with Customs, its specialist practitioners are routinely entrusted to coordinate crucial raids. Esteemed founding partner Hugo Moran has his finger on the pulse when it comes to enforcement and is deeply knowledgeable on all aspects of IP crime. He publishes extensively on anti-counterfeiting and is well placed to deliver frontline narratives, having lived and breathed the practice and helped design the country’s enforcement framework.

Other recommended experts

Yolianna Arosemena Benedetti is well versed in all aspects of trademark work and provides well-rounded advice as a result. She enjoys a reputation across Central and Latin America –not only as Benedetti CL’s regional IP director, but also as the national delegate of ASIPI for Panama. At full-service Morgan & Morgan, Allen Candanedo “provides outstanding, client-centric trademark services. Sharp, diligent and efficient, he is a great brand strategist, but also delivers in litigation”. Miguel A De Puy III, the founding partner of De Puy & Asociados, shines on trademark registration, protection and licensing, and is also an anti-counterfeiting maestro. “Nicole Perez brings a pragmatic approach to multi-jurisdictional trademark issues. Staying transparent with clients on case details, she creates tailor-made protection strategies which are alive to commercial risk.” The “rising star” operates out of CLD Legal.

Individuals

  • Ramón R Benedetti Benedetti V - Estudio Benedetti
  • Gabriela Tejada De Britton - Icaza González-Ruiz & Alemán
  • Roberto Emilio Gómez Cedeño - Cedeño & Méndez
  • Luis E Guinard Rennert - Guinard & Noriega
  • Marissa Lasso de la Vega Ferrari - Alfaro, Ferrer & Ramirez
  • Diana Carolina Leandro - Estudio Benedetti
  • Edwin Molino - Jiménez, Molino y Moreno
  • Hugo Morán R - Moran IP
  • Audrey Williams - Estudio Benedetti
  • Graziella Benedetti - Estudio Benedetti
  • Yolianna Arosemena Benedetti - Benedetti CL Abogados
  • Ramon Benedetti Benedetti Aleman - Estudio Benedetti
  • Allen Candanedo - Morgan & Morgan
  • Miguel A De Puy III - De Puy & Asociados 
  • Monique Ferrer - Alfaro, Ferrer & Ramirez
  • Fernando González-Ruiz - Icaza González-Ruiz & Alemán
  • Vanessa Noriega - Guinard & Noriega
  • Nicole Perez - CLD Legal