San Francisco-based IP firm Townsend and Townsend and Crew has opened an office in Tokyo.
The move represents the first international expansion in the nearly 150-year history of the firm.
The office, which will be known as Townsend IP Law, is led by special counsel Hitoshi Akiba, a Japanese patent lawyer and member of the New York bar.
Akiba joined the firm last year from Renesas Technology, where his career included an assignment as manager of the patent group, with primary responsibility for enforcement and defence related to semiconductor patents.
Akiba will advise clients in patent portfolio management, strategy and licensing. He will also advise Townsend's US clients on issues of Japanese law and assist Townsend's lawyers advising Japanese clients on US law.
Townsend's existing offices are located in Denver, Palo Alto, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle in Washington and Walnut Creek in California. The firm has 170 attorneys.