As new businesses emerge in Slovakia, intellectual property and the importance of brand protection is gaining traction. With local brand owners becoming increasingly trademark savvy, practitioners are noticing an increase in applications and internationally focused instructions as companies look to expand further into Europe. There is noticeable momentum at the Industrial Property Office of the Slovak Republic (IPO SR) too. The new trademark law came into force in January 2019 – this implements the latest EU Trademark Directive and allows the registration of non-traditional marks, along with several other new amendments. Overall, the future of trademark practice in Slovakia looks promising.
- Allen & Overy Bratislava sru
- Brichta & Partners
- Taylor Wessing
- Bird & Bird
- Bukovinský & Chlipala
- FAJNOR IP sro
- Černejová & Hrbek
- Inpartners Group
- Rott, Růžička & Guttmann a spol
- Zivko Mijatovic & Partners
Allen & Overy Bratislava sru
Allen & Overy was the first UK-based firm to open in Bratislava and now it is one of, if not the most specialised in intellectual property in Slovakia. Its dedicated experts are in their element advising on the IP aspects of major cross-border transactions and representing top brands in trademark – and increasingly patent – litigation. Senior associate Zuzana Hečko leads the practice. Her broad expertise, which encompasses all areas of intellectual property as well as unfair competition law, makes her an excellent big-picture thinker. Recent highlights include representing Horphag Research Management, which produces top nutraceutical Pycnogenol, in a commercially consequential litigation and acting for Sanofi with respect to all its ongoing trademark enforcement and litigation efforts. She has considerable expertise outside of a litigation context too and is called on to provide strategic advice concerning brand protection and product launches; recently she counselled Imperial Tobacco Ventures on brand names for a new e-tobacco product.
Bird & Bird
For companies interested not only in protecting brands in the Czech Republic and Slovakia but also in staying up to date on global IP developments, Bird & Bird is a superb fit. The local team, led by revered Prague-based professional Vojtěch Chloupek, does a bang-up job managing portfolios, commercialising IP assets and enforcing trademark rights. Recently, the group has been advising Aqua Angels on potential infringement disputes in Slovakia alongside handling global prosecution.
Brichta & Partners
Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, business law firm “Brichta & Partners is fully dedicated to its clients and is always eager to try new things – it will always go the extra mile to provide the best possible advice”. The side doles out A-to-Z trademark support to blue-chip companies and domestic start-ups alike; it also engages with incubators and innovative organisations, such as the Slovak Alliance for Innovative Economy, to set up worldwide brand protection strategies. Tatiana Brichtová and Peter Kružliak stand at the forefront of the practice. Brichtová enjoys a fruitful cooperation with customs authorities, ensuring that her anti-counterfeiting blueprints are bulletproof. Crack litigator Kružliak “is a tough competitor”; he knows what flies with the judges and performs brilliantly in court.
Bukovinský & Chlipala
“Bukovinský & Chlipala is the go-to for novel IP cases. The set’s broad range of experience, creative thinking and hands-on approach makes it a secret weapon in complex matters.” The side has been offering its comprehensive suite of services since 2003 and its practitioners have become quickly known for their rapid-fire thinking in tech-related mandates. A testament to the high esteem in which he is held in the trademark community, shrewd counsellor and “top IP expert” Tomáš Klinka has served as director of legal and international affairs at the IPO SR, where he has also played a key role in initiating policy and guideline changes.
Černejová & Hrbek
Černejová & Hrbek is renowned for its impressive capabilities in IP-rich transactions and franchising. All of the current partners have been working together for over 14 years; they display impeccable cohesiveness and can close large-scale deals promptly and seamlessly. Dynamic duo Peter Stavrovský and Tatiana Žiaková never lose sight of the bigger picture and serve up pragmatic counsel, which maximises the value of their clients’ assets.
FAJNOR IP sro
“One of the best in the business for portfolio management, FAJNOR IP consistently delivers high-level services.” The IP boutique drafts immaculate applications and has a great track record in enforcement proceedings; it maintains close relationships with foreign counsel, which reassures patrons that their rights will be looked after on the world stage. Mária Fajnorová is a key contact for prospective clients.
In Slovakia, Inpartners Group provides services in a broad range of areas including family, tax and employment law; intellectual property is, however, its core area of expertise and what it is best known for. The team understands the critical role that strong brands play in the business lives of its clients and, with that in mind, works assiduously to safeguard their trademark rights. Having spent almost a decade serving in numerous positions at the IPO SR, Romana Záthurecká holds invaluable insights into the regime, which she capitalises on when executing non-contentious briefs. She works closely with seasoned litigator Eugen Záthurecký who has also held several positions of importance, including sitting as a district court judge and as director of the legislation and legal department at the IPO SR.
Rott, Růžička & Guttmann a spol
Boutique Rott, Růžička & Guttmann has been providing sterling wall-to-wall trademark services since 1993 but in particular “excels in portfolio management”. The ensemble leverages the deep experience it has gained across the Czech Republic and Slovakia during that time to predict case outcomes and maximise its clients’ assets with astonishing success. Lynchpin of the local practice, Martin Guttman is a staunch defender of IP rights. Brimming with strategic insight, he halts counterfeiters in their tracks and remains unflappable in litigation proceedings.
Cross-border prosecution, high-profile litigation and labyrinthine licensing agreements are all scenarios with which the team at Taylor Wessing feel comfortable. The Bratislava-based ensemble draws on additional strength from its opposite numbers in Austria, Germany and the United Kingdom to ensure that large-scale international operations run smoothly. On a local level, first in command, Ján Lazur has been tackling one of the biggest trademark disputes in the country on behalf of DIPLOMAT-DENTAL. He is also is trusted counsel to SK-NIC, which administers the ‘.sk’ domain, as well as London-established Orange Brand Services.
Zivko Mijatovic & Partners operates like a well-oiled machine throughout the Balkans and Eastern Europe. It deploys its bean-to-cup trademark services out of an intricate 15-office network through one single point of contact, which is a boon to patrons with cross-border interests. Anti-counterfeiting mandates are the forte of the streamlined unit. An ever-reliable contact, Alejandra Rosero runs the show in Slovakia. “She works quickly and efficiently; her work is detailed and she always looks out for the best interests of her clients.”
Other recommended expertsGerman-speaking and US-educated, versatile practitioner Marcel Baker is a firm favourite among international companies; he plies his trade with Bianchi Malach Tomanova. Working out of the same outfit, Peter Bianchi deftly navigates the contentious/non-contentious divide. He is a renowned IP academic who has paved the way for many of the country’s lawyers.
- Marcel Baker - Bianchi Malach Tomanova
- Peter Bianchi - Bianchi Malach Tomanova
- Tatiana Brichtová - Brichta & Partners
- Martin Guttmann - Rott, Růžička & Guttmann a spol
- Zuzana Hečko - Allen & Overy Bratislava sro
- Tomas Klinka - Bukovinský & Chlipala
- Peter Kruzliak - Brichta & Partners
- Jan Lazur - Taylor Wessing
- Peter Stavrovský - Černejová & Hrbek
- Romana Záthurecká - Inpartners Group
- Eugen Záthurecký - Inpartners Group
- Tatiana Žiaková - Černejová & Hrbek