This inaugural list highlights the achievements of the top 15 IP lawyers across Asia, who have consistently delivered high-quality IP work and set high standards in the IP space, while earning accolades from their colleagues, superiors, and clients.
As we reveal this year’s ALB Asia Top 15 IP Lawyers, we also find what makes an outstanding in their field, one of the most exciting areas of legal practice today.
Curiosity is one of the most important attributes, according to Tony Yeo, managing director of the intellectual property department, and director in the dispute resolution department, at Singapore’s Drew & Napier. He says: “An IP lawyer needs to be a biologist one day, a chemist the next day and an engineer the following day. Having a curious mind and a huge capacity to absorb new and cutting-edge technology is de rigueur.”
This is echoed by Bahari Yeow, a partner at Malaysia’s Gan Partnership, who adds that technology is not the only thing lawyers need to be savvy about. “The industry and commerce are not static, particularly in this ‘new normal’ environment. A successful IP lawyer must be flexible and grow to meet changing conditions with dynamism,” says Yeow.
Understanding and gaining expertise in fast-evolving trends and developments is something that motivates these practitioners. As Yeo puts it: “Not knowing which technology and which area of IP law I face every day motivates, inspires and in fact, excites me.” Another motivation for Yeo seems to be the nature of IP law, as he particularly likes how law and technology meld together to make sense. “IP law allows this to happen,” says.
Yeow adds his third motivation: Gratitude. “Continuous support from clients and fellow team members play a pivotal role to keep me going… Without them, we will not be who we are today,” he says.
This feeling is shared by Yeo, who tells us clients have become more demanding and yet more accommodating at the same time. He explains that as clients continue to expect faster and better services, they have also become more understanding as everyone have shared the experience of tremendous challenges in the last two years.
The two winners also offer advice to younger IP lawyers. Yeo suggests they enter IP law only if they have a true passion for it, and once they do, they should absorb new technologies and new areas of law “like a sponge.” Meanwhile, Yeow encourages younger lawyers to prioritise integrity and honesty in addition to flexibility to build goodwill, and put their whole heart and efforts into this worthwhile career path.
ALB Asia Top 15 IP Lawyer
Dr Frederick Ch'en
Do Quang Hung
Un Ho Kim
Samuel SungMok Lee
Aditi Verma Thakur
Lawyers were evaluated on the following criteria:
1. Significant IP matters throughout candidate’s career
2. Significant IP work handled in the last 18 months
3. Key IP clients
4. New IP clients
5. Significant accolades or recognition
6. Client recommendations and comments
7. Comments from managing partner or colleague