United Arab Emirates
The Middle East is a market in which many international companies see great potential; there is also growing awareness regarding IP rights among regional businesses, particularly as preparations for Expo 2020 gather pace. IP firms, then, find themselves in the limelight and are jostling for talent and market share; this has affected the WTR 1000 coverage for 2019 – firm demotions, debut appearances and lawyer moves have shaken up the rankings.
Abu-Ghazaleh Intellectual Property
Prolific filer, Abu-Ghazaleh Intellectual Property is “proactive and gives straight-to-the-point advice. The team address questions that haven’t been asked yet, but the answers to which are pertinent to know.” Having accumulated over 40 years of invaluable experience, the UAE office works in close cooperation with a further 28 offices around the world, excelling in its global offering. Taking the reins in the Dubai branch is Amjad El-Husseini.
Al Tamimi & Company
“Super stable and consistent,” Al Tamimi is a top choice for holistic trademark counsel in the Middle East. The firm does a fantastic job in the anti-counterfeiting arena and can tailor commercial solutions to the needs of its clients with ease. Providing strong leadership to the firm, Omar Obeidat is a key contact for clients. He knows the lay of the land in the Arab region like few others and can advise strategically on IP, competition and regulatory matters. Extensive extra-curricular work keeps him up to date on the latest developments in trademark law internationally and provides him with a fantastic network, which is a boon to clients with cross-border needs.
Bird & Bird
The IP squad at Bird & Bird is renowned for its sharp focus on achieving the business goals of its clients. The cutting-edge team has a penchant for commercial agreements and knows exactly how to monetise trademarks. Utilising the latest technologies, it manages portfolios for some of the largest consumer product companies in the world, and there is always an expert on standby to put out the most troublesome infringement complications. Commercial and IP practice head Melissa Murray leads the pack and is a reliable contact for prospective clients.
Bone-Knell Symons Intellectual Property
Bone-Knell Symons comes “highly recommended for sophisticated clients who expect a collaborative and high-quality approach to trademark work”. “Consistently prompt and helpful, the team provides a stellar service around trademarks.” A one-stop shop for brand owners in the Middle East, the firm “works seamlessly with its strong international network of foreign associates”. Co-founders Mark Bone-Knell and Kate Symons “think out of the box and understand the practical realities of dealing with the authorities in the region”. Perceptive strategist and “a joy to collaborate with”, Bone-Knell is “fantastic and has a broad expertise in all things intellectual property”, while Symons is “absolutely charming, as well as a tenacious lawyer who fights hard for her clients’ interests”.
Cedar White Bradley
Portfolio management powerhouse Cedar White Bradley has the trust of “a strong and stable list of clients, including some of the world’s biggest brands” and is a tough competitor in the Middle East and North Africa. Through intensive collaboration with the Khalid A Altamimi Advocates & Legal consultants, whose professionals can represent clients before UAE courts, the outfit offers the full gamut of brand protection. Applying 10 years of hands-on experience, chief executive Halim Shehadeh is an “invaluable and collaborative advisor, who routinely provides great practical insight and astute legal guidance in a holistic manner”. The anti-counterfeiting maven is “very responsive and diligent, always bringing a creative approach when handling significant and complex matters”. Proficient in Arabic and US qualified, Brent Rasmussen “heads up a team of qualified lawyers and does a remarkable job in doing so”; the tech whiz is especially adept at handling Saudi Arabia-specific and multi-jurisdictional disputes.
Globally recognised practice Clyde & Co enjoys a stellar reputation in the UAE. With several offices in the Middle East and North Africa, the ensemble operates a wall-to-wall trademark practice and can take a bird’s eye view on regional matters. The trio at the helm of the practice, Mark Devaney, Rob Deans and Joycia Young turn their attention to registration-related matters, enforcement and commercialisation respectively. Newcomer to the firm Devaney focuses on delivering quality and value, and has profound experience developing international strategies across international waters. Armed with skills gained from various stints in the United Kingdom and Hong Kong, Deans provides strong leadership and deftly halts counterfeiters in their tracks. Franchising guru Young “works miracles and manages tasks in a manner that marries cost effectiveness with maximum protection”.
“Although a relative newcomer to the IP world in the GCC, Gowling WLG has certainly made its mark.” Entering its third year of operation here, the international firm is on everyone’s lips: “Its lawyers are extremely knowledgeable and responsive. They manage their time effectively and genuinely care about minimising costs incurred by clients.” Heading up the practice is “inspirational trademark virtuoso” Jon Parker. “A pleasure to know, he has a vast knowledge of intellectual property in the region”. The “super-reliable and trustworthy” practitioner handles any matter thrown at him with dexterity. Making her debut in the WTR 1000 this year is the French-qualified Vanessa Delnaud. She gained unique expertise in her previous stint at Universal Music and is well versed in getting start-ups off the ground. Delanaud “brings a fresh perspective and is a gem to have on your side”.
Hadef & Partners
A new name in the WTR 1000 this year, Hadef & Partners has gained visibility and traction on the IP scene. Working in parallel with other departments in the firm, the trademark team seamlessly provides cradle-to-grave brand protection. Being uniquely equipped with its own dispute resolution team that has the right of audience before UAE courts, it comes as no surprise that multinational corporations seek out this dynamic firm. James Dunne and Victoria Woods work together to head the trademarks and brand protection division and the commercial practice group respectively. Dunne is the go-to counsel for any qualms or calamities relating to portfolio management or enforcement briefs; Woods marries her IP knowledge with refined business sensibilities to get clients maximum returns on their IP investments.
Rouse & Co International
Indomitable international firm Rouse & Co plays to its strengths in the filing and enforcement domains. The establishment’s large number of Arabic speakers is a key asset; nearly everyone in the office speaks the language. “In an unpredictable region, the team is extremely strong at navigating local legal waters.” Showcasing his adroitness in portfolio management is recently appointed country manager Bassel El Turk. Samantha Grainger debuts in the WTR 1000 this year; “an excellent commercial IP lawyer” and franchising ace, she capitalises on opportunities and minimises risk, using instincts honed in her 20 years of experience. Sara Holder is lauded for her client focus and “exceptional” attention to detail: “She has a comprehensive understanding of the legal landscape in nearly every jurisdiction in the region and provides spot-on, practical advice.”
Saba & Co Intellectual Property
With offices covering the Middle East and North Africa, the 1926-established Saba & Co offers superb regional know-how. “Meticulous and organised in its approach”, the well-oiled team secures brand rights, shines in litigation proceedings and extracts commercial value in licensing matters. Skilled tactician Hady Khawand always delivers impeccable results.
Simmons & Simmons LLP
Simmons & Simmons has a well-integrated international team of lawyers, trademark attorneys and administrators spanning Europe, the Middle East and Asia. In the United Arab Emirates it is a repository of trust for marquee clients in the financial services, TMT, energy and life sciences sectors – it knows the nuances of business conduct in each field and renders rigorously commercial brands advice as a result. A thought and practice leader when it comes to financial technology, Raza Rizvi has outstanding project management skills and a nuanced understanding of the strategy underpinning the UAE government’s move towards becoming a knowledge-based economy; he was able to showcase all of these attributes through his extensive engagement in the Emirates Digital Wallet project. “Organised and systematic, Raza is an impressive IP, technology and commercial lawyer who always plans ahead.”
- Rob Deans - Clyde & Co
- Omar Obeidat - Al Tamimi & Company
- Jon Parker - Gowling WLG
- Mark Bone-Knell - Bone-Knell Symons Intellectual Property
- Vanessa Delnaud - Gowling WLG
- Mark Devaney - Clyde & Co
- James Dunne - Hadef & Partners
- Bassel El Turk - Rouse & Co International
- Amjad El-Husseini - Abu-Ghazaleh Intellectual Property
- Samantha Grainger - Rouse & Co International
- Sara Holder - Rouse & Co International
- Hady Khawand - Saba & Co Intellectual Property
- Brent Rasmussen - Cedar White Bradley
- Raza Rizvi - Simmons & Simmons LLP
- Halim Shehadeh - Cedar White Bradley
- Kate Symons - Bone-Knell Symons Intellectual Property
- Victoria Woods - Hadef & Partners
- Joycia Young - Clyde & Co