On June 13, 2019, Asian Legal Business (ALB) recognized Morrison & Foerster as the International Intellectual Property Law Firm of the Year during the 15th Annual Japan Law Awards ceremony. The awards honor the achievements of Japan's leading private practice law firms, in-house teams, and individual practitioners.
A number of partners from the firm's Tokyo office attended the black-tie banquet where Louise Stoupe, co-chair of Morrison & Foerster's Commercial Litigation and Trial Practice Group, and head of the Tokyo Litigation Department, accepted the award on behalf of the Tokyo office's IP Group.
Morrison & Foerster's global IP litigators are widely recognized for their proficiency in handling complex matters across a variety of industries, from electronics and communications to software, pharmaceuticals, and life sciences. The firm's Tokyo IP team is often at the forefront of high-stakes, high-volume cases involving disputes over key patents, trade secrets, trademarks, and other intellectual property. Highlights include defending Nikon in U.S. patent litigation matters initiated by Carl Zeiss and ASML. The U.S. district court cases were tried before juries in July and December 2018 and, in each trial, the Morrison & Foerster team won a complete defense verdict in favor of Nikon.
Morrison & Foerster is the only international firm in Tokyo with a dedicated team of attorneys specializing in technology transactions, including the transfer, commercialization, development and exploitation of intellectual property. Recent highlights include advising on the IP and commercial aspects of the firm's representation of Nissan Motor in its strategic alliance with DeNA to develop the autonomous driving mobility business in Japan; and assisting Toshiba with the sale of Toshiba Visual Solutions to Hisense Electric, a leading China-based electronics and home appliances manufacturer.
In addition to being named ALB Japan's International Intellectual Property Law Firm of the Year, Morrison & Foerster was a finalist across nine categories, including two individual categories: BMW Award for Woman Lawyer of the Year (Louise Stoupe) and Managing Partner of the Year (Ken Siegel). The other categories in which the firm was a finalist include:
- Litigation Law Firm of the Year;
- Japan Law Firm of the Year;
- Debt Market Deal of the Year: Exchange offer and consent solicitation by SoftBank Group Corp. with respect to its outstanding notes and Softbank Group Corp.'s USD-denominated senior notes;
- Equity Market Deal of the Year: Altaba Inc.'s sale of its entire stake in Yahoo Japan Corp.;
- M&A Deal of the Year (Midsize): X-ELIO's sale of Japanese Solar Project Portfolio to DT Energy;
- M&A Deal of the Year (Premium): Altaba Inc.'s sale of USD $2 billion in shares of Yahoo Japan Corp.;
- Project Finance Deal of the Year: X-ELIO's sale of Japanese solar project portfolio to DT Energy; and
- Technology, Media and Telecommunications Deal of the Year: Renesas Electronics' acquisition of Integrated Device Technology and SoftBank Group Corp.'s issuance of USD-denominated senior notes and Euro-denominated senior notes.
View the full list of 2019 ALB Japan Award finalists here.