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Name And Title: Jun Yamato, vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary Age: 45 Company Profile: Roland Corp. U.S., with sales topping $700 million, is the professional musician’s choice for electronic musical instruments. The company is best known for its premium keyboards, guitar effects, electronic drums and digital pianos, but it also sells amplifiers, digital audio and video desktop media production tools, 3-D scanners, digital signal processor chips for digital instruments and both electronic and pipe organs. Despite Roland’s close association with that most American of all art forms � rock ‘n’ roll � “we are a wholly-owned U.S. subsidiary of a Japanese company,” Yamato said. “Basically, what we do here in the United States is distribution of Roland products.” Roland, founded in 1972, manufactures at plants in Japan; Italy; China; and Portland, Ore., where its Rodgers Instruments subsidiary produces church organs and digital pianos. Roland products are standard equipment both for professional musicians and enthusiastic amateurs. Its products are sold through music stores such as Guitar Center and Sam Ash Music � never through big-box retail chains. “Our products tend to be a lot more expensive than the $200 keyboards you find in Best Buy,” Yamato said. “The difference in the products is the quality of the sounds. We have a reputation among musicians for the highest-quality sound. That’s our bread and butter.” Route To Present Position: Yamato has put down roots in Los Angeles, where Roland U.S. is headquartered, but that wasn’t his original plan. When he graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1984 with a double bachelor’s degree in political science and Japanese, he headed back to his hometown to study law at the New York University School of Law. He intended at first to settle down in New York City. “I went to Japanese-language school when I was a kid,” said Yamato, who speaks that language fluently. “I wanted to work at a company where I could use my Japanese language skills.” However, “when I graduated from law school, there was a lot of Japanese-related business going on in Los Angeles, so I decided to practice in L.A.” That was in 1987. Yamato went to work as an associate at the Los Angeles headquarters of Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton. In May 1989, he moved to Graham & James � now Squire, Sanders & Dempsey � which had a substantial number of Japanese clients, among them Roland. In January 1994, Roland’s Japanese parent, following a buyout of the shareholders, offered to bring Yamato in-house with a new management team for the U.S. company. Yamato recognized his dream job and took it. “I am an amateur musician,” he said. “I play guitar, I play bass guitar. I don’t play very well, but I love to play � it’s a lot of fun. I owned Roland products before I joined the company. When they wanted in-house counsel, I thought that would be great fit for me. I already knew the managers in Japan.” Legal Team: At first, Yamato found himself general counsel by default. “I was the only counsel,” he said. At the time, the company was embroiled in litigation with a competitor that it accused of poaching the company’s vaunted sound and embedding it in much less expensive products. In 1997, after the case was settled, Roland decided to double his in-house staff, adding Joseph Von Sauers, a registered patent attorney. “This was a big lawsuit,” Yamato said. “We decided we wanted somebody in-house with expertise to protect our patents, trademarks, copyright, etc.” Outside Counsel: Roland looks to the San Francisco office of Bingham McCutchen for help with antitrust and corporate work, but all the other firms it uses are based, or have offices, in the Los Angeles area. Foley & Lardner assists with patents, while Chicago-based Seyfarth Shaw oversees trademarks. Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman & Machtinger handles bankruptcy and finance. Kinsella Weitzman Iser Kump & Aldisert of Santa Monica, Calif., is charged with litigation and intellectual property matters. Squire, Sanders & Dempsey helps out with labor issues. Daily Duties: Two lawyers might be considered thin staffing for the U.S. operations, but Yamato is stretched thinner still. “Our Japanese parent company doesn’t have any lawyer on staff in Japan,” he said. “They rely on me. I’d say 95% of what I do is legal work. My official employer is Roland Corp. U.S., but about half of the work I do now is for Roland Japan.” Roland’s global reputation for high quality creates global problems with copycat competitors. “We send out a lot of cease-and-desist letters,” Yamato said. “They always come back and deny they ever infringe. We had a situation with a Chinese piano manufacturer who sampled the sounds on our pianos and put them on their own pianos. After a few rounds, they decided to take the sounds off their product.” Roland invests heavily in developing new products and acquiring companies to expand its products list, all of which generates work for Yamato. “We’ve been very active, in terms of patents, with electronic percussion, electronic drums. We are a real innovator with electronic drums � it’s one of our hottest-selling products. We’ve obtained a lot of patents on that and we are always looking for people infringing on that.” He continued, “I’m working on an acquisition deal right now to grow the company in a new direction. We look, from time to time, to acquire companies in areas where we don’t have an expertise we would like.” Yamato reports to Mark Malbon, executive vice president and chief operating officer. Personal: Yamato was born in Osaka, Japan, but moved to the United States at age 3 when his father, an executive with Panasonic Corp., was transferred for a stint that stretched to 20 years. He and his wife, Carrie, have a 1-year-old daughter, Taryn. Yamato is a passionate New York Yankees fan and an equally passionate amateur musician, particularly when playing guitar or bass guitar. “One of the fun things here is you can pick up a guitar and play music in the office,” he said. “Nobody yells at you. I can always say, ‘I am just testing the product.’ “ Last Book And Movie: If I Did It: Confessions of the Killer, by O.J. Simpson, and The Bourne Ultimatum.

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