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Eversheds Sutherland strengthen projects offering in the Middle East

Eversheds Sutherland has appointed project finance lawyer, Ashley Halewood, as a partner in its Projects team in Dubai. Ashley joins the firm from Linklaters’ Energy & Infrastructure team in Dubai.

With nine years’ experience working in the Middle East, Ashley has advised on a number of high profile transactions in the infrastructure, renewables, oil & gas, petrochemicals and power and water (IWP, IWPP and ISTP) sectors across the MENA region.

He has represented sponsors, developers, commercial lenders, Islamic finance institutions, ECAs and multilateral agencies, in all aspects of project financing, including bids, acquisitions and disposals.

Ashley is named as a ‘Rising Star’ by The Legal 500 in the Infrastructure and Projects (including Project Finance) sector.

Keri Rees, Co-Head of Global Company Commercial, Eversheds Sutherland said: “We’re thrilled to welcome Ashley. His appointment builds on our existing offering in the Middle East, enhancing the capability we already offer to our clients through the technical excellence and wealth of experience that he brings. Whilst Middle East focused, Ashley is part of a global team and it’s great to see this develop with Ashley already connected with colleagues in London, Paris, Germany and Asia in particular. Despite these challenging times, having Ashley on board reaffirms our ongoing long term commitment to meeting the needs of our clients and the increasing demand for service excellence.”

Nadim Kayyali, Regional Head of Eversheds Sutherland’s Corporate and Commercial team in the Middle East commented: “Ashley is a superb lawyer, with a proven track record in the region and his appointment reflects the investment in talent that the firm has made in the Middle East over the past couple of years. He brings with him a wealth of technical experience and client relationships which will develop further our existing projects teams in Dubai and across the region in Tunisia, Qatar, Jordan, UAE and KSA. We are committed to the growth of our practice in the Middle East, and supporting the strategic growth and strength of our global projects offering, and it is my pleasure to welcome Ashley to our team.”

Ashley Halewood commented: “I am delighted to be joining such a highly reputable team, building on what is already a strong offering in the Middle East, and a great platform from which to grow and strengthen my relationships with clients. It’s an interesting time to be joining Eversheds Sutherland amid our clients’ obvious concerns around COVID-19 and its impact on, amongst other things, the energy and infrastructure sectors. I look forward to working as part of the team to help find innovative solutions to our clients’ challenges and opportunities.”

Dentons names Michael Zolandz to head its Washington DC office

Dentons has announced the appointment of Michael Zolandz as managing partner of its Washington DC office. Zolandz chairs Dentons’ Federal Regulatory and Compliance practice, and is a key leader in the firm’s Global Public Policy and Regulation and Government practices. He has focused on creative solutions to clients’ most challenging regulatory and commercial issues. His practice has focused on cross-border commerce, including regulatory investigations, trade and export controls, and anti-corruption due diligence.

Zolandz also advises clients on cross-border transactions and regulations related to international commerce, including inbound foreign investment reviews under the jurisdiction of CFIUS. He has developed and enhanced compliance programs and conducted regulatory investigations and remediation of trade control and anti-corruption matters for many of the Firm’s largest clients, as well multinational companies across industry sectors throughout Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and US.

“Mike is an outstanding lawyer and strong leader whose collaborative team-oriented approach to client service will be a tremendous asset to our strategy in the Washington, DC market and serve as a model to the lawyers in that office,” said Mike McNamara, Chief Executive Officer of Dentons US. “DC is a key office in the US region, and the exceptional lawyers here are working on some of the most complex and exciting projects of the Firm. Mike is a highly-regarded leader inside the Firm and in the global legal community, and under his guidance the office will continue to flourish.”

Zolandz has also counseled on campaign finance and ethics law, lobbying disclosure requirements and pay-to-play restrictions, including the formation and management of federal and state political action committees, Securities and Exchange Commission and Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board rules related to investment advisors, and compliance programs for both lobbying disclosure and political activity. His experience also includes advising and counseling US technology developers and software companies, a Global 500 insurance company, leading financial institutions, an international cellular conglomerate, Indian and Chinese corporations, and a multinational energy company.

A prolific writer he has written articles for Law360, Global Trade, WorldECR Report and Westlaw Journal. He has also given presentations for the American Bar Association, the Economic Sanctions and Financial Crime Forum (London), the Annual CLE Seminar for In-House Counsel and Thomson Reuters Accelus. Zolandz earned his JD and BA from George Washington University, with high honors and cum laude, respectively.

Norton Rose advises consortium of banks on $500m bond issuance

Global law firm Norton Rose Fulbright has advised Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited, Citigroup Global Markets Limited, Emirates NBD Bank PJSC, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Limited, Dubai (DIFC) Branch, J.P. Morgan Securities plc and Société Générale as joint lead managers on a US$500 million bond issuance by Emirates NBD Bank PJSC.

The notes are due February 2025 and were issued off Emirates NBD Bank PJSC’s $12,500,000,000 Euro Medium Term Note Programme, which was updated in July 2019 and on which Norton Rose Fulbright also advised.

The Dubai-based Norton Rose Fulbright team was led by head of debt capital markets for the Middle East, Gregory Man, with assistance from senior associate, Ganna Vlasenko.

Gregory Man commented: “We are proud to have been involved in this transaction. This deal builds on Norton Rose Fulbright’s track record of advising on notable bond transactions in the region and once again provided us with the opportunity to represent many of our leading financial institutions clients.”

About Norton Rose Fulbright

We provide the world’s preeminent corporations and financial institutions with a full business law service. We have more than 3,700 lawyers and other legal staff based in Europe, the United States, Canada, Latin America, Asia, Australia, the Middle East and Africa.

Recognised for our industry focus, we are strong across all the key industry sectors: financial institutions; energy; infrastructure, mining and commodities; transport; technology and innovation; and life sciences and healthcare. Through our global risk advisory group, we leverage our industry experience with our knowledge of legal, regulatory, compliance and governance issues to provide our clients with practical solutions to the legal and regulatory risks facing their businesses.

Wherever we are, we operate in accordance with our global business principles of quality, unity and integrity. We aim to provide the highest possible standard of legal service in each of our offices and to maintain that level of quality at every point of contact.

Norton Rose Fulbright Verein, a Swiss verein, helps coordinate the activities of Norton Rose Fulbright members but does not itself provide legal services to clients. Norton Rose Fulbright has offices in more than 50 cities worldwide, including London, Houston, New York, Toronto, Mexico City, Hong Kong, Sydney and Johannesburg.

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Hogan Lovells Celebrates the New Year with 29 Promotions

Global law firm Hogan Lovells today announced that 29 of its people have been promoted to partner effective 1 January across a network of 45+ offices in 24+ countries, spanning Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, the Middle East, and the Americas.

Speaking on the promotions, Hogan Lovells’ CEO Steve Immelt commented:

“Each of these individuals has demonstrated our core values through their hard work, client dedication, leadership behaviors and innovative thinking. Their additions to the partnership are a reflection of our truly global and diverse culture at the firm. The achievements of this talented group reflect the excellent work the firm does in recruiting and retaining the best people in a highly competitive legal marketplace. With that in mind, I am particularly pleased that more than 40 percent of our new partners and new counsel are women. I congratulate all those who were promoted and wish them every success as they continue their career with us.”

Each of Hogan Lovells’ five practice groups is represented in the 2020 partner promotions:

  • Eight in Corporate (including in Transactional, Real Estate, and Tax)
  • Seven in Litigation, Arbitration and Employment (including in Litigation, Arbitration, Investigations, White Collar and Fraud, and Employment)
  • Nine in Global Regulatory (including in Communications, Environment and Natural Resources, Medical Device and Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology, Health, International Trade and Investment, Antitrust, Competition and Economic Regulation, and Financial Services)
  • Two in Finance (including in Business Restructuring and Insolvency, and Infrastructure, Energy, Resources and Projects)
  • Three in Intellectual Property, Media and Technology

The additions to the partnership are a reflection of Hogan Lovells’ progress as one of the legal world’s only true global law practices. The new partners include:

  • 14 in the Americas, spread across our Baltimore, Denver, Mexico City, New York, Northern Virginia, and Washington, D.C. offices
  • Eight in the UK and Africa, in our London office
  • Six in Continental Europe, spread across our Frankfurt, Luxembourg, Munich, Madrid, and Rome offices
  • One in Asia Pacific and the Middle East, in our Tokyo office.
  • 13 women and 16 men.

In addition to the 29 new partners, 56 of our lawyers have been promoted to Counsel.

Our clients see us as an extension of their team, because we put ourselves in their shoes at every turn. They trust our recommendations, and we prove our worth time and again with commercially astute solutions.

If you would like to find out more information, please visit: https://www.hoganlovells.com/

HFW boosts fast-growing transactional offering

Global, sector-focused law firm HFW has continued to expand its fast-growing transactional offering with the hire of senior corporate finance partner Wing Cheung.

Wing specialises in capital markets, including initial public offerings, as well as M&A, private equity and other transactional work. He joins HFW’s Hong Kong office from US law firm Locke Lord, where he was Hong Kong Managing Partner.

Wing’s arrival continues HFW’s significant expansion of its global corporate and finance practices. HFW launched a transactional practice in China earlier this year and has now added 19 transactional partners across its international network since 2018, including lateral hires in Abu Dhabi, Hong Kong, Houston, London, Monaco, Paris and Singapore.

Patrick Yeung, Hong Kong Office Head, HFW:

“This is a major boost to our transactional offering in Greater China and the wider region. Wing brings a wealth of experience of high-end corporate finance, and has an outstanding reputation for his technical expertise and exceptional client service. I am thrilled to welcome him to the firm.”

Wing advises clients on a wide range of corporate and commercial matters, including initial public offerings and M&A. He also has significant experience in regulatory enforcement and compliance, having acted on major investigations and other proceedings by the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission.

Wing Cheung, Partner, HFW:

“I am very excited to be joining HFW. It’s been really noticeable over the past few years that HFW is building a strong global corporate and finance practice to complement its leading reputation for disputes and sector-related work. I’m looking forward to helping the firm continue that growth, and working with the HFW transactional teams in Greater China and across the firm’s extensive international network.”

HFW has operated in Greater China for more than 40 years, having been one of the first international law firms to open an office in the country, in 1978.

The firm now has almost 80 lawyers in Greater China, including 21 partners, and is a market leader in aviation, commodities, construction, energy, insurance, shipping, commercial litigation and corporate.

HFW also recently brought in a market-leading team to launch in Monaco – one of 11 international office openings, mergers and associations since 2016, including a fully-integrated US merger and other moves in Brazil, China, Indonesia and the Middle East.

About HFW

HFW is a leading global law firm in the aerospace, commodities, construction, energy, insurance, and shipping sectors. The firm has more than 600 lawyers, including 185 partners, based in offices across the Americas, Europe, the Middle East and Asia-Pacific. HFW prides itself on its deep industry expertise and its entrepreneurial, creative and collaborative culture.

If you would like to find out more information, please visit: https://www.hfw.com/

UAE Ministry of Economy update fees for Trademark Enforcement

To ensure efficiency and streamlining with international best practice, namely in trademark prosecution and the enforcement of registered rights, the UAE Ministry of Economy has issued an administrative order to decrease and waive some of the core official fees associated with their trademark registration and enforcement services.

Following an increase to such fees in 2015, the UAE Trademark Office was urged by trademark owners to consider a reform of this decision. Whilst the number of filed and examined marks has somewhat declined since 2015, this decrease can in part be attributed to the reduction of illegitimate marks filed in bad faith and those filed with intention to benefit from pre-existing rights.

The UAE Ministry of Economy has decreased and waived more than 100 nominal fees across different departments and sections, such as commercial agencies, the Trademark Office and Copyright Office. Notably, the Trademark Office has reduced its registration fees by 33%. This follows the introduction of steps to ensure the complete protection of trademark rights with the full integration of an online system for all trademark prosecution services and e-filings. This full electronic integration, operational since January 2019, has reduced the volume of administrative work for officials and has enhanced examination efficiency. On average, it now takes less than 6 months to complete the entire process of filing, examination, publication and registration of new trademarks. In the past, this time frame was considerably longer, taking approximately 12 months or more, to complete the process.

Prior to the reduction in fees for trademark registration, the applicable fees in the UAE were considered among the highest, if not the highest, in the world. As a result, officials received substantial requests to reconsider such rates and bring the cost in line with international standards. Eventually, in July 2019, decision makers at the UAE Ministry of Economy decided to adopt and publish a list of service fees to be reduced and waived relating to trademark registration, renewal inspection in enforcement of trademarks and parallel import complaints. The new nominal fee for trademark registration was reduced by 33%, decreasing the official fee for registration from AED 10,000 to AED 6,700. This move is expected to encourage brand owners to increase their protection in the UAE to cover various elements such as shapes, slogans, terms, colours and other core components of brand integrity.

Additionally, grievances or appeals before the Trademark Appeal Committee from provisional refusal or office action by examiner is now available free of charge. This used to be subject to a fee of AED 5,000.

In addition to the above, officials at UAE Ministry of Economy recognise the necessity to offer an accessible and proactive enforcement system. Therefore, a decision was made to waive the official fees associated with any request or application made by trademark owners to officials at the Trademark Office to investigate incidents of trademark infringement. Registered commercial agents in the UAE also benefited from the wavier of certain fees as they are no longer required to a pay fee to seek protection from parallel import by virtue of issuing administrative circulars to notify registered commercial agencies rights to border authorities, i.e. UAE Customs. These fees were previously mandatory following administrative enforcement action taken before the Ministry of Economy in anti counterfeiting and infringement cases and the enforcement of commercial agencies rights against grey market/parallel import shipments.

BSA is keen to see brand owners benefit from these new arrangements and urges all professionals in the IP field to partake in continuous dialogue with UAE Ministry of Economy to encourage enhanced protection which is both affordable and aligned with international standards.

For any enquiry or additional assistance in trademark prosecution, enforcement of IP rights, commercial agencies or general IP legal services in the UAE and the wider Middle East region, contact Head of Intellectual Property, Munir Suboh.