Five minutes with…Takanori Abe, Abe & Partners
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Five minutes with…Takanori Abe, Abe & Partners

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Each week Managing IP speaks to a different IP practitioner about their life and career

Welcome to the latest instalment of Managing IP’s ‘Five minutes with’ series, where we learn more about IP practitioners on a personal as well as a professional level. This time we have Takanori Abe, managing partner at Abe & Partners in Osaka

Someone asks you at a party what you do for a living. What do you say?

I help protect “what is important but invisible”.

Talk us through a typical working day.

Morning: coffee accompanied by Mozart’s 'Requiem' by Herbert von Karajan.

Afternoon: tea with Bach’s 'Goldberg Variations' by Glenn Gould.

Night: red wine with Chopin's 'Piano Concerto No.1' by Nobuyuki Tsujii.

All the way through, I am thinking about how to win my cases. In my dreams, I talk with the judge.

What are you working on at the moment?

I am representing large global pharmaceutical companies across various pharma patent cases. This includes infringement cases between two originating companies, an originator and a biosimilar, and originators and generics. I am also managing invalidation and opposition proceedings at the JPO.

Meanwhile, I am also advising multinational and domestic clients on fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory matters for standard-essential patents.

Does one big piece of work usually take priority or are you juggling multiple things?

I am required to multi-task like an astronaut.

What is the most exciting aspect of your role and what is the most stressful?

Seeing a client’s smiling face when we have won a case and shaking hands with them is the most exciting. Seeing their sad face when we have lost is the most stressful.

Tell us the key characteristics that make a successful IP lawyer/practitioner.

Eagerness to draw a new map.

What is the most common misconception about IP?

Criticism from bioethics that IP benefits only the wealthy.

What or who inspires you?

Susumu Tonegawa, the 1987 Nobel Prize winner for physiology or medicine. He clarified the genetic mechanism of the adaptive immune system, which had been the central question of immunology for more than 100 years.

If you weren't in IP, what would you be doing?

I’d like to be a molecular biologist.

Any advice you would give your younger self?

None.

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