South Korea’s IP Experts 2020

30 June 2020

South Korea’s IP Experts 2020


South Korea regularly ranks as one of the world’s most innovative economies, even in a year that might be a bit disappointing. After six consecutive years atop Bloomberg’s Innovation Index, South Korea in 2019 fell to second on the list, behind only Germany.

Bloomberg cited South Korea’s research and development intensity as key to its ranking. More than 200 countries are ranked annually across seven weighted metrics, including R&D intensity, patent activity, tertiary efficiency (which measures total enrollment in higher education and the share of the labour force with advanced education), manufacturing value-added, productivity, high-tech density and researcher concentration.

With such a lofty ranking in innovation, it is no wonder that South Korea’s legal services market – and its intellectual property-related legal services market, in particular – is so competitive. 

In order to understand better what clients need today, Asia IP asked a large number of professionals – mostly in-house counsel and corporate legal managers – what they were looking for from their legal service providers. From their answers, we have compiled our list of 50 South Korea IP Experts, those lawyers who understand just what their clients need and are able to provide them with the best practical advice. 

Today’s clients are looking for more than just a degree from a top-notch university and a couple of decades of practice. In order to be an outstanding provider of intellectual property advice, a lawyer must also be capable of understanding how intellectual property impacts the rest of his client’s business, and be able to provide practical, real-world, business-savvy advice. She must be able to provide sound advice on the current law, but also needs to be able to understand coming trends which are likely to impact her client’s business.

Unlike days past when she might have played just a bit role, today’s IP Expert is every bit a full-fledged team member.

As our list of South Korea’s IP Experts began to emerge, it was no surprise to us when we started to see multiple lawyers from the country’s two largest firms solidifying spots on the Top 50 list. Fully 40 percent of the list comes from just two firms – Lee & Ko and Kim & Chang, each of which landed 10 lawyers on the list.

While the country’s largest firms still make popular choices for those seeking external counsel, the gap between the top-tier firms and the second-tier has narrowed significantly, as in-house counsel and innovators alike are giving such firms, and their lawyers, a serious look. 

Bae, Kim & Lee landed four lawyers on the list (Jihyun Kim, Taeck Soo Kwon, Catherine Eunkyeong Lee and Hoo Dong Lee); and Lee International IP & Law Group (Terry Taehong Kim, Young-Hwan Na and Yoon Suk Shin) and YP Lee, Mock & Partners (Yoonkyung Cho, Jehyung Kim and Youngpill Lee) each put three on the list. A plethora of firms – Cho & Partners, FirstLaw, Hanol Law Offices, Shin & Kim, Yoon & Yang and You Me Patent & Law Firm – each landed two lawyers on the list. 

Most of the lawyers named to our list have multiple practice specialties. Many of them are litigators, while others concentrate on prosecution work or provide strategic advice. 

All of them have something in common: they are experts in their fields and, in one way or another, they provide extra value for their clients. They are Asia IP’s South Korea IP Experts.



South Korea’s IP Experts is based solely on independent editorial research conducted by Asia IP. As part of this project, we turned to thousands of in-house counsel in South Korea, Asia and elsewhere and around the world, as well as South Korea-focused partners at international law firms, and asked them to nominate private-practice lawyers including foreign legal consultants, advisers and counsel. 

The final list reflects the nominations received combined with the input of editorial team at Asia IP, which has more than 40 years of collective experience in researching and understanding South Korea’s legal market.

All private practice intellectual property lawyers in South Korea were eligible for inclusion in the nominations process; there were no fees or any other requirements for inclusion in the process.

The names of our 50 IP Experts are published here. Each IP Expert was given the opportunity to include their biography and contact details in print and on our website, for which a fee was charged.

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