Kobayashi Hiroshi is the leading partner of Abe, Ikubo & Katayama. In the interview with Leaders League, he speaks about Abe, Ikubo & Katayama’s change and strategy on intellectual property work.
Kobayashi Hiroshi. As far as intellectual properties are concerned, there may not be notable changes in this year. The number of IP litigation cases may be stabilized in Japan as IP filing activities have been stabilized in Japan. In IP prosecution we can expect more work in opposition proceedings since as of April 1, 2015, a Post Grant Opposition System has been re-introduced. Also, generic drug manufacturers are now becoming active in attacking innovative drug companies’ patents. Accordingly, we can expect more work to handle disputes between innovative pharmaceutical companies and generic drug manufacturers.
Leaders League. What are Abe, Ikubo & Katayama's advantages on the Japanese market? Any latest news about the firm?
K.H. We have focused on two specific areas of laws, i.e., (1) Intellectual Properties; and (2) Insolvencies. We believe that we are strong and can succeed in these areas, even as compared to large law firms in Japan. We continuously receive consulting requests regarding IPs, IP litigation cases, and invalidation trial cases in IP fields. We have no specific latest news in IP areas.
Leaders League: Does Abe, Ikubo & Katayama have international ambitions? Is there any difference dealing with foreign customers? Which country or area do you plan to enter deeper into?
K.H. Of course, we, Abe, Ikubo & Katayama have international ambitions. At this moment we have a lot of foreign clients, and wish to increase foreign clients and work from foreign countries. In general, since we handle Japanese laws, there may not be big differences between domestic clients and foreign clients. However, in dealing with foreign clients, we are careful about communications. Since foreign clients do not have a lot of knowledge about Japanese laws and practices, we make our efforts to provide necessary information in terms of handling cases for them. We wish to continuously go deeper in the US and Europe.