Since the region’s economic boom, the Gulf has lured a number of prominent global brands and IP related cases have naturally grown from this. However, governments in the Middle East aren’t stopping there – the UAE is looking to amend its patent laws to lure more foreign investors, which will include drafting new legislations concerning the biotechnology, electronics and pharmaceuticals industries. The amendments may also harmonise inconsistencies between the UAE and GCC patent application and documents procedures, which will make life a lot easier for law firms. Firms can also look forward to new laws being proposed by the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), which will look into the problems enforcing “unclear” IP laws. The DIFC is considering introducing stand-alone IP laws and making UAE IP laws consistent within the DIFC as well.
One of the firms assisting the DIFC to draft its new IP laws is Al Tamimi & Co, whose IP department has grown from a sole lawyer in 1995 to 17 consultants and 18 trademarks and patents staff today. The firm has also been active in assisting various government departments to draft IP laws consistent with international laws, organising IP seminars and training officials. Unsurpisingly, the firm was considered the region’s foremost top-tier IP firm and managing partner Hoda Barakat, who also heads the IP practice, was noted by both peers and clients for her expertise, which has been gained over the years by working on several landmark IP cases. Its competitor, Abu Ghazeleh Intellectual Property, was also widely mentioned for a number of prominent cases it has helped clients with in the region. The firm’s 26 offices provide “specialised services”, said one client. Clyde & Co has also established a good reputation in the region, and boutique IP firm Saba & Co’s expertise in litigation was commended. Nassir Kadasa & Partners’ three decades in the region has also gained it a number of faithful clients.
India has a lot to boast about this year. The country has been lauded by an advocacy body for having the world’s most consumer-friendly IP laws, even if the award did come with the acknowledgment that copyright infringement was still prevalent in the country. The manufacture of counterfeit pharmaceuticals, movies, films, ring tones, games and scanned books landed India on the US’s list of IP rights violators. The country has also been noted as in need of improvement of patent protection regime, copyright laws and enforcement system. On the positive side however, Indian law firms will be at the forefront of these changes as they are adopted. Indian firms are well positioned to capture any potential rise in IP work. Clients mentioned heavyweight firm Amarchand & Mangaldas as the “leader in this field”, and Anand & Anand was also noted for its work with multinational clients. Amajit & Associates was highly regarded for its patent and trademark work.
While the economic crisis may have impacted on the number of IP litigation cases in Japan, firms largely remained active and resilient. One case in point is Mori Hamada & Matsumoto, which received the most votes from clients in Japan, the firm’s strength in litigation often being cited. The firm itself noted that the nature of its IP practice, which works alongside other practices on due diligence, contract negotiation and M&A, has helped buffer it against the economic climate. The firm was noted by clients for its long history serving contentious IP cases, particularly on cross border work, for instance, the firm recently successfully reversed the judgment on a product litigation case for a US pharmaceutical client.
Meanwhile, international firm Lovells, which has merged with Kubota Law & Patent Office, has firmly cemented its position in the country. Lloyd Parker and Kensaku Takase were both mentioned by peers and clients who were “impressed” by the firm. Also noted was Kazuko Matsuo of Nakamura & Partners, while Abe, Ikubo & Katayama was mentioned for its good work alongside other firms. Anderson
Mori & Tomotsune received accolades for maintaining good client relations.
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