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Ropes & Gray is planning to open a Tokyo office in September, following its Japanese patent litigation and U.S. private equity clients. “Over the course of time, we had so much business for Japanese clients, it became apparent we could provide better service by having a Tokyo office,” said Patricia Martone, a N.Y.-based IP litigation partner leading the effort to open the office. The office, pending final approval in Japan, will be known as Ropes & Gray Gaikokuho Jimu Bengoshi Jimusho, and will house two IP partners — James DeGraw and J. Steven Baughman — and two associates who are fluent in Japanese. The firm’s Japanese clients include Sanyo Electric Co. Ltd.; Ricoh, a printer and copier company; and Aisin AW, a major auto parts maker. The firm also does work in Japan for U.S. private equity firm Bain Capital. Martone acknowledged there will be strong competition from other U.S. firms there, but said Ropes & Gray plans to distinguish itself with its IP expertise. The Boston-based firm has five offices nationwide, with two in the Bay Area. The Japan office will be its first international foray. “We’ll be looking at the rest of Asia from our Japanese office,” Martone said.

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