Kensaku Yamamoto (Ken) is the owner of SHUSAKU·YAMAMOTO. After joining the Firm in 2011, he went on to become the managing partner and led its international expansion in Asia. The firm is now one of the largest and most highly regarded intellectual property, technology and commercial law firms in Japan. It maintains offices in Osaka, Tokyo, Fukuoka, Fukushima and China.
Ken’s major practice areas range from pharmaceutical law including those related to drugs, medical devices and diagnostics products; all practice related to prosecution and enforcement of intellectual property, regulatory issues including those affecting the research, testing, approval, post-approval compliance of drugs; commercial law, mergers and acquisitions.
Quite notably, Ken has successfully led the firm in representing various clients across the innovation spectrum, including a vibrant range of US, Japanese, European and Asian companies, blue-chip Fortune 500 companies, Nobel Prize winners, national governments, universities, research institutes, and high-net-worth individuals.
Under Ken’s leadership, the firm prides itself for assisting Nobel Prize winners in the successful prosecution of their patents with the JPO (Japan Patent Office), such as: the 2019 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, awarded to Professor John B Goodenough of the University of Texas at Austin “for the development of lithium-ion batteries”, and professor William G Kaelin Jr was one of three winners of the 2019 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for research on how cells sense and adapt to oxygen availability. The firm was able to play a part in helping Professor Kaelin, as an inventor, and the Dana Farber Institute obtain Japanese patents directed to this Nobel Prize winning discovery.
Throughout his appointment at the firm, Ken has acquired and demonstrated legal, technical and practical expertise and industrial know-how in a broad range of matters. These include, among others, agency and partnership; international corporate transactions; civil rehabilitation; internal investigations, commercial agreements; litigation; corporate insolvency and recovery; privacy and security; compliance; corporate finance; venture capital; project finance; corporate reorganisation and insolvency; product liability and safety; creditor/debtor representation projects; public/private partnerships; cross-border insolvency and special liquidation; distribution; franchise and dealership; sports; travel and leisure; labour and employment; tax export and import controls; trade regulation; and government approvals.
The key element that sets Ken apart is his effective management of lawyers, patent attorneys, technology specialists, paralegals and secretaries from multitude of backgrounds and his ability able to bring out their strengths so that they can all synergistically work together to bring about excellent results for clients – as evidenced by the firm’s recognition in Chambers and Partners, The Legal 500, IAM Patent, Asia Legal Business among others.
Ken’s unique and effective style of leadership and management was recognised when he was named as one of the finalists in the Managing Partner of the Year category in the Asia Legal Business, Japan Law Awards (2019 and 2020).
Ken regularly publishes legal articles on corporate law, intellectual property and life science journals in Japanese and English including in Dai-ichi Hoki, Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Regulatory Science, Horitsu Jiho, International Comparative Legal Guides and Managing Intellectual Property.
Ken has been recognised in numerous publications and was named by Global Chambers and Partners as one of the Recognised Practitioners for Intellectual Property in 2020.