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Masataka Shitanishi

Partner / Attorney at Law

Osaka Office

Major Practice Areas
International Practice / Intellectual Property / Employment and Labor / Dispute Resolution / Pharmaceuticals / North America / Southeast Asia / Healthcare & Beauty
Attorney at Law Admitted in New York and California, U.S.A.
Japanese / English


Masataka Shitanishi is a Partner of Kitahama Partners, and is admitted in Japan, as well as in the U.S. States of New York and California. Utilizing his experience working in the Japan office of a global enterprise (pharmaceutical company) as an in-house lawyer, Mr. Shitanishi provides practical legal advice from the client standpoint. In addition, he has experience working in law firms in Japan, as well as in the U.S., Philippines, and Malaysia, ensuring that he is capable of handling domestic matters as well as international matters requiring communications in English. With respect to international matters, Mr. Shitanishi handles both inbound (legal advice to foreign enterprises doing business in Japan) and outbound (legal advice to Japanese enterprises doing business overseas) matters on a regular basis. His practice focuses primarily on international transactions, labor and employment, intellectual property, and litigation. He provides legal advice to clients in a wide range of industries, including pharmaceuticals, healthcare, academic institutions (universities, international schools, etc.), as well as manufacturing. He is also actively engaged in teaching in seminars and internal training as a speaker.

Work Highlights

International Legal Practice

  • Acquiring shares of a foreign company by a Japanese company (Philippines and Malaysia)
  • Legal advice on overseas expansion of a Japanese company through a joint venture (U.S.A., India, Malaysia, and Philippines)
  • Japanese company’s intellectual property litigation in a foreign country (working with local attorneys) (Singapore and Hong Kong)
  • International parallel litigation for damages in Japan and U.S.A. (working with U.S. attorneys)
  • Filing a petition for bankruptcy of a Japanese company which owns overseas subsidiaries
  • Bankruptcy trustee case involving debt collection in foreign countries (working as Trustee Representative)
  • Negotiation of a franchise agreement with an U.S. restaurant representing Japanese company
  • Drafting and reviewing various types of agreements and contracts in English
  • Researching local laws and regulations, etc.

Intellectual Property

  • Intellectual property infringement litigation in Japan (patent and copyright)
  • Drafting and reviewing joint research and development agreements (Japanese and English)
  • Drafting and reviewing intellectual property license agreements (Japanese and English), etc.

Employment and Labor

  • Dispute resolution relating to labor and employment (litigation, collective bargaining, and negotiations)
  • Providing advice on labor and employment issues to companies (including advice in English for foreign affiliated companies)
  • Drafting and reviewing employment agreements and rules of employment (Japanese and English), etc.

Litigation and Dispute Resolution

  • Intellectual property infringement litigation (patent and copyright)
  • Litigation regarding nullity of dismissal
  • Product liability litigation, etc.


  • Company internal investigations for misconduct by its employees
  • Corporate in-house training seminars

Education & Professional Career

Dec 2017Admitted to practice in the State of California
Jan 2017 – PresentKitahama Partners, Partner
Jun 2015 – Aug 2015Visiting attorney at Tay & Partners (Kuala Lumpur Office, Malaysia)
May 2015Admitted to practice in the State of New York
Mar 2015 – Jun 2015Visiting attorney at ACCRALAW (Manila Head Office, Philippines)
Nov 2014 – Feb 2015Visiting attorney at Jenner & Block (Los Angeles Office, U.S.A.)
Aug 2014 – Nov 2014Legal intern at an international pharmaceutical company at its headquarters in U.S.A.
May 2014UCLA School of Law (LL.M.)
Dec 2011Seconded to the legal department of a foreign-affiliated private pharmaceutical company
Jan 2009Joined Kitahama Partners
Dec 2008Graduated from the Legal Training and Research Institute of the Supreme Court of Japan; Admitted to practice in Japan
Mar 2007Kobe University Law School (J.D.)
Mar 2004Kyoto University (LL.B.)