Lee & Ko was founded in 1977 and is a premier full-service law firm in Korea. With more than 700 professionals organised into 40 specialist teams, Lee & Ko is consistently ranked in the top tier in most of its practice areas by international publications. Lee & Ko’s foreign and domestic clients benefit from its unequalled depth of resources, experience and professionalism.
With more than 100 seasoned attorneys and foreign legal counsels, Lee & Ko’s IP group delivers superior legal services focused on helping clients to navigate the complex legal landscape while meeting their specialised requirements with practical and effective solutions. The IP group is dedicated to the protection, transfer, counselling and enforcement of IP rights. With unrivalled experience in advising and representing clients in cross-border IP matters, the IP group has a global reach and is consistently ranked in top-tier categories for intellectual property by numerous global law firm evaluators, including the Legal 500, Chambers & Partners, IAM, WTR, and ManagingIntellectual Property.
Patent prosecution and patent office trials
The IP group assists clients in multiple industry sectors, including biotechnology, specialty chemicals, semiconductors, materials science, electronics, mechanical, pharmaceuticals, telecoms and computer software. The IP group’s patent attorneys have significant experience litigating before the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) in invalidity and scope confirmation actions and freedom-to-operate analysis. The breadth and scope of their experience allow the IP group’s patent attorneys to create robust patents by evaluating patent applications during preparation, filing and prosecution with a critical eye towards enforcement. The combined prosecution, transactional and litigation experience enables the IP group’s patent attorneys to ensure that clients develop valuable patent portfolios which offer the broadest protection while ensuring patent validity and enforceability.
Patent litigation, enforcement and dispute resolution
Success in any litigious matter can mean many things. However success is defined, the IP group produces results for its clients. The IP group understands that clients need a trial team with substantial technical and scientific knowledge, but also substantive knowledge of the law and the rules and procedures governing legal proceedings. Many of the IP group’s litigators have strong technology related backgrounds and skills which cover a wide range of technical fields. The IP group also includes litigators who were former judges specialising in IP law and IP cases while serving on the Supreme Court, the Patent Court or the Seoul High Court, as well as former examiners and administrative law judges from the KIPO. When criminal issues arise, the IP group works closely with attorneys in Lee & Ko’s white collar crime group who formerly served as public prosecutors. Complemented by insight received from senior lead litigators, many of whom have 20 to 30 years’ trial experience, and seasoned foreign legal counsels, the IP group is in a unique position to create an effective trial team that can provide comprehensive legal services framed by technical, strategic, judicial, administrative and international perspectives.
Patent development and counselling
The IP group assists clients in developing and deploying a portfolio of strategic IP assets. Beyond the knowledge of IP matters and underlying technology, the IP group is fully aware that a key component to the success of any client includes the strategic use and licensing of its IP portfolio. The IP group has unrivalled experience in negotiating licensing, distribution and joint venture agreements covering all areas of intellectual property. Besides licence negotiation and drafting, the IP group provides counselling for clients on licensing strategies, IP-related competition law issues and strategic product development and distribution.
Trademark prosecution and portfolio management
Lee & Ko offers strategic counselling, trademark prosecution and portfolio management services to clients around the world. Through its network of international law firms, Lee & Ko currently advises numerous multinational and Korean clients across various industries on trademark prosecution matters in more than 50 countries.
Lee & Ko has decades of trademark litigation experience before the Korean Intellectual Property Trial and Appeals Board (IPTAB) and has successfully represented multinational clients as part of its worldwide campaigns involving a series of IPTAB actions. Lee & Ko provides positive results but also coordinates legal strategy with other disputes pending around the world.
Comprehensive judicial enforcement of trademark and related rights
Lee & Ko’s trademark team provides comprehensive enforcement solutions by integrating its investigations, enforcement and regulatory teams. Experienced Lee & Ko attorneys in both civil and criminal litigation formulate the best enforcement strategies tailored to each client’s unique circumstances and needs. Lee & Ko’s team works closely with its criminal practice team to instigate criminal proceedings when appropriate and to gather evidence that may be used to later establish civil liability and support any damages claims. This approach is critical because there is no practical means of civil discovery in Korea. Lee & Ko’s attorneys based in Korea, China and Vietnam provide monitoring services on the production and distribution of infringing goods and counterfeits in these countries and other nearby regions. Lee & Ko’s Chinese and Vietnamese lawyers also provide legal expertise in the relevant local laws.
Customs and border management
Lee & Ko’s trademark team is experienced in pursuing customs and border protection measures when appropriate. These may be pursued along with civil and criminal litigation under the Trademark Act and the Unfair Competition Act. Numerous Lee & Ko professionals have extensive experience working with the Korean customs authorities and former high-ranking officials who provide invaluable insight on this issue.
Lee & Ko’s highest priority is to build lasting relationships with clients by being responsive to each client’s specific needs. The firm has a well-earned reputation for successfully handling landmark matters in many of the most important transactions and cases involving business both in Korea and worldwide. Lee & Ko’s fully integrated team of legal experts – with specialties including tax, fair trade law, antitrust and competition matters, criminal enforcement and defence, as well as corporate practice – is well-suited to protect clients’ trademarks, brands and worldwide reputations.
Kim & Chang's Intellectual Property (IP) Practice uniquely combines the top-rated IP-specialized practice in Korea with the resources of Korea's leading general practice law firm. Our IP Practice boasts the deepest and most experienced roster of IP attorneys, patent attorneys and other professionals in Korea, and with the combined resources of the largest general law firm in Korea and one of the largest in Asia, is able to offer comprehensive legal solutions for all IP and IP-related needs, and a wealth of knowledge gleaned from handling many of the most important IP cases in Korea in the last 40 years.
With over 300 professionals including IP litigators, patent attorneys and foreign IP attorneys, and over 550 patent engineers, trademark paralegals, and support staff, we cover the full scope of IP rights. Our patent professionals have specialized technical backgrounds in numerous fields, including biotech, pharmaceuticals, chemistry, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and computer science. Many of our professionals also have extensive experience as judges, prosecutors, or Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) examiners, and their experience and know-how is invaluable in obtaining positive results for our clients. We work closely with other practice groups within the firm, including general corporate law, mergers & acquisitions, competition law and customs, in order to advise our clients on any IP-related legal issue they may encounter in Korea.
Yulchon LLC is one of Korea’s leading full-service law firms. Notable achievements include the highest win rate at the Korean Supreme Court, recognition by Korean law students as the preferred choice of employer and recognition by Korean lawyers as the best workplace.
Yulchon employs over 360 professionals, including more than 60 foreign-licensed professionals. The firm’s perspective is international and its reach is global. Yulchon has represented clients from six continents and helped companies to expand around the globe.
Yulchon has been consistently acknowledged as a top-tier law firm in multiple areas, including for its traditionally strong tax, competition, corporate/M&A and IP practices. For example:
IAM Patent 1000 ranked the firm’s litigation and transaction practices as Tier 1;
Managing Intellectual Property ranked Yulchon as Tier 1 in its IP patent contentious category for five consecutive years;
Asian Legal Business ranked Yulchon as Tier 1 for patents;
Chambers & Partners ranked Yulchon as Tier 1 for tax practice in Korea for eight consecutive years;
GCR 100 ranked Yulchon as an elite competition law firm for 16 consecutive years;
Legal 500 ranked Yulchon’s tax, antitrust and competition, real estate and employment practices as Tier 1; and
Asialaw Profiles ranked Yulchon’s IP practice as ‘outstanding’ for two consecutive years;
Asia IP ranked Tier 1 for Copyrights
To further its reputation as the most active Korean law firm in outbound investments, Yulchon recently hired several overseas-licensed professionals and in 2017 it opened a Jakarta office, adding to its network of offices in Moscow (opened in 2015), Ho Chi Minh City (opened in 2007), Hanoi (opened in 2010), Beijing (opened in 2011) and Myanmar (opened in 2014).
AREAS OF PRACTICE
Yulchon is structured around seven major practice groups: Antitrust, Corporate and Finance, Tax, Dispute Resolution, Real Estate and Construction, Labor and Employment, and Intellectual Property. Each group is recognized as leaders in their respective fields and consistently ranks among the best practices in Korea for their work on high-profile and landmark transactions. These groups are supplemented by a number of smaller practice teams focusing on specific industry, region or subject matter which has enabled our clients to benefit from the comprehensive breadth of a full-service law firm and the expertise and experience of a specialist practice. We constantly develop new practice teams to meet the needs of our clients in the ever changing business and regulatory environments. Our healthcare practice team, cyber security and privacy practice team, and internal investigations team are excellent examples. With extensive experience and influential government and regulatory resources, our attorneys and professionals are equipped and committed to provide unparalleled legal, strategic and business advice. Our success is grounded in our devotion to provide technical expertise and service capabilities at the highest level, supplemented by the industry know-how essential to achieve our clients’ business objectives. Furthermore, in cooperation with a network of reputable international law firms, we provide our clients, both domestic and foreign, with integrated and comprehensive services found only in preeminent international firms.
IP PRACTICE GROUP
Yulchon’s IP group listens to clients’ needs and focuses on their business strategies to provide tailored legal services relating to litigation, arbitration, licensing, negotiations, strategic counselling and compliance. The IP group is experienced in all aspects of IP-related issues under Korean law, including patent and utility models, trademarks, designs, copyright, trade secrets, unfair competition, entertainment, privacy, Customs and international trade. Further, the IP group is experienced in international IP dispute resolution management, including IP litigation, licensing and transactions and freedom-to-operate opinions. Working in cooperation with Yulchon’s antitrust group, the IP group also provides clear guidance to clients on issues arising from the intersection of IP and antitrust law.
The IP group consists of legal professionals with experience and knowledge in all aspects of intellectual property, technology and various industries. These professionals include former judges, Korean Intellectual Property Office patent examiners and directors, government litigation attorneys, in-house counsel and engineers. The former judges served in the Patent Court, in various district courts – including the Seoul Central District Court – in the IP division of the Seoul High Court and as research judges at the Supreme Court. The group’s professionals have degrees in electronic engineering; mechanical engineering; chemical engineering; computer science; pharmacy; civil, urban and geo-systems engineering; and naval architecture and ocean engineering. They work closely as a cohesive unit, focusing on communication within the group and with clients in order to gain an accurate understanding of clients’ concerns and needs.
Jeong Yeol Choe heads the firm’s IP group with co-heads Cheol Hwan Kim and Dong Soo Han. Sung Jin Joh recently joined the firm from Kim & Chang. Mr. Choe and Mr. Kim recently represented Samsung Electronics in its epic battle against Apple. In addition, Samuel Lee, a US-qualified partner, has extensive experience in patent licensing and international IP dispute resolution.
Strategic Alliance With Y.P. Lee, Mock & Partners
In February 2008 the IP group formed a strategic alliance with YP Lee, Mock & Partners, one of the largest patent law firms in Korea for all technical fields, as well as for trademarks, designs and copyright. This alliance allows the IP group to utilise additional resources to efficiently and effectively handle litigation in virtually all technical fields.
Yoon & Lee is an intellectual property (IP) law firm in Korea that provides a comprehensive range of services for IP rights as well as consultation services for the management and enforcement of IP rights. We are able to offer IP services optimized for the benefit of our clients through close cooperation and teamwork that maximizes the high levels of expertise and experience of our staff. We have one office based in Seoul.
Our corporate philosophy is to create strong trust-based relationships, which is reflected in the over 25-year relationships we have developed with major Korean companies. Our main values are sincerity, reliability, and harmony, which are reflected in our work practices. First, all staff members strive to increase their professionalism and work skills so that they are able to meet the ever changing technological advances as well as developments in the laws, policies, and legal cases in various jurisdictions. Second, we provide quick, accurate, and specialized services to satisfy our clients’ requests and protect their IP rights while solidifying trust and establishing long-term client relationships. Third, all our staff cooperate and work together actively to provide comprehensive services that benefit from their combined experience and skills.
Patents and Utility Models
Our main specialization is in patent and utility model prosecution, especially in the electronics and software, chemistry and bio-tech, and mechanical and mechatronics sectors. Our patent work is divided into four teams – telecommunication, standard patent, incoming/mechanics, and chemistry and bio-tech. One of our major strengths in the patent sector is our technical knowledge and expertise, and we have a high percentage of patent attorneys and technical specialists in comparison with general law firms and other IP law firms in Korea. In particular, we offer an efficient and effective combination of patent attorneys, including a partner patent attorney with an LLM degree from the USA and extensive practice career including substantial court cases before district courts and high courts as well as the patent court, and technical advisors with advanced degrees (Ph.D. and other post-graduate qualifications) in their specialist subjects, including electrical engineering, electronics, communications, computer science, mechanical engineering, chemistry, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and life sciences. Based on our strong technical knowledge, our specialists are often called to testify as expert witnesses in court cases.
Trademarks and Designs
For trademarks and designs, we have a tight-knit group that is able to provide excellent and individualized services to all clients. In particular we have very strong expertise on Korean trademark practices as the head of the team is a former trademark examiner at the Korea Intellectual Patent Office (KIPO). In addition, the team includes a US attorney, who is able to provide a global perspective and to meet the requirements and expectations of our international clients, and a Korean lawyer who has just joined the team to handle litigation matters. In comparison with some larger practices, one particular advantage is that all clients are dealt with by the most experienced professionals. The team provides a wide range of trademark and design services and acts for businesses in all market sectors. With our in-depth knowledge and experience of Korean trademark practices, we are able to examine applications in detail and provide advice on any potential issues for rejection to avoid costly office actions.
We have a wide range of clients both in terms of geographical distribution and industrial sector; these clients range from major international companies with established global operations to small- and medium-sized enterprises. Unlike in some larger practices, at our firm the most experienced professionals, rather than junior staff, handle all cases – all the partner patent attorneys continue to be involved in case work. The firm is able to work in Korean, English, and Japanese and provides translation services for these languages, as well as for all languages into/from Korean for both domestic and international clients. We place great emphasis on client satisfaction by providing quick, accurate, and specialised services to meet the individual requirements of clients and to build trust over the long term; this is reflected in the over 25-year long relationships that the firm enjoys with major Korean and foreign companies.
Our services include the following:
Patent and utility model application and registration services (Patent Treaty Applications), prior art searches, registrability searches
Trademark and design application and registration services (Madrid Protocol for trademarks/Hague Agreement for design applications), strategy planning, registrability searches, developing brand selection
Copyright registrations and unfair competition and anti-counterfeit measures
Cancellation and invalidation
Search and watching services
Licensing and franchising agreements, assignments for IP rights, technology valuation, technology transfer, contract assistance, cease and desist letters, settlement negotiations
Invention mining, providing diverse strategies for planning applications for IP rights, know-how management, maintaining registrations and renewals, and translation services.