S&E roots for globalisation and localisation
Multicultural Sonderhoff & Einsel Law and Patent Office is the only Japanese patent law firm with a strategic partner office in Beijing, and is keen to develop international partnerships
[Country Business Reports interviews and articles by Discovery Reports www.discoveryreports.com]
A pioneer in the tightly closed market that was 20th century Japan, Sonderhoff & Einsel Law and Patent Office (S&E) knows the local pulse very well. The firm has prospered in the world’s third-largest economy for more than a century through inbound cases from Europe and is now backing more home-grown businesses towards a future as international players.
Auspiciously, that journey takes its Japanese clientele to Europe, where S&E founders trace their roots and the firm has a presence. S&E is likewise differentiated as the only Japanese patent law firm with a strategic partner office in Beijing to support forays into China.
“Our strength is that we still have relationships that go back to 1910,” says Felix Einsel, S&E managing partner. “We have the direct contact to European companies.”
S&E also has a multicultural team and partners all over the world that speak the local language, whether that is Putonghua, German, English or Nihongo. The full-service firm largely manages intellectual properties of listed Japanese companies. S&E acquired a local firm in 2008, and has since enjoyed compatriot goodwill. Today, one-third of its clients are Japanese companies, including many mid-sized companies across Japan.
“Internationalisation was a key factor for our firm, but we said we should also localise,” Einsel says.
Armed with a patent attorney licence – still a rarity for foreigners in Japan – Einsel himself pursued localisation in his younger days. As a way of giving back, he helps companies in the Nagano region concretise their internationalisation strategies.
With global expansion gathering pace, S&E is keen on partnerships with patent law firms on the five continents.
“We try to differentiate ourselves from other firms through setting up our own businesses in the most important key countries and carefully choosing partners in countries where European and Japanese companies do business or want to have businesses,” Einsel says.