IT & Communications / Media & Entertainment
In 2014 the Sayenko Kharenko’s IT practice advised major Ukrainian and foreign companies, whose core business interests lie in the sphere of IT, as well as IT outsourcing and IT start-ups. The firm assisted a marketing intelligence software developer with developing project structures, assigning IP rights, drafting NDAs, consulting and outsource agreements with Ukrainian software developers. The IT practice in cooperation with its Crimea group advised a leading telecommunications operator of Ukraine on the sale of its business operations on the territory of Crimea. The firm has a sizable pool of media and entertainment clients, i. e. gaming industry, broadcasting companies, media groups. The IT group advised Ukraine-based mobile applications and games developers on their operations in Ukraine; assisted one Ukrainian gaming studio with launching its games in the Republic of South Africa. The team advised a US film studio on licensing rights to use Ukrainian translations of The Hobbit trilogy for screening the final film; acted as a Ukrainian law counsel for an international sports rights marketing agency and an exclusive owner of broadcast and exhibition rights of the Olympic Games in Sochi and Rio. In 2014 the dedicated team was involved in improving sector-specific legislation and regulations. Practice in the IT sector is coordinated by associate Mykyta Polatayko, who received praises from peers. Partners Nazar Chernyavsky and Oleksandr Padalka are the firm’s point of reference for IT, media and entertainment clients.
Baker & McKenzie renders advice to an impressive diversity of clientele, involving advisory, transactional and contentious matters. Throughout 2014 the office was enlisted to handle regulatory and corporate matters, data protection and a broad range of IP protection assignments, taxation and employment advice. Viacheslav Yakymchuk, partner, seasoned in handling M&A, private equity, equity capital markets and telecommunications matters, heads the dedicated practice in Kiev. IP partner Ruslan Drobyazko is focused on structuring transactions related to IP and IT, anti-counterfeiting and IP enforcement matters, securing IP rights in Ukraine. The global heavyweight is a point of attraction for global brand names. For example, Intelsat S.A., Pioneer, Sharp, LG Technology, Symantec, etc.
The multidisciplinary practice of Asters is active on transactional and regulatory mandates across all sectors of TMT. The broad expertise includes data protection, regulatory issues, commercial arrangements, IP transfer, corporate governance, sectoral M&A. Asters enjoys an outstanding telecoms client base, as well as technology and communication companies, wireless operators. For instance, regulatory issues concerned the use of radio frequencies and governing national roaming at wholesale level. Areas of significant activity include legal due diligence for various purposes and labor, contract and tax law, including transfer pricing. The media sphere proper consisted of TV promotion work, including advertising and unfair competition, M&A and tax. The sphere of responsibility is divided between well-known on heavy telecommunication work managing partner Oleksiy Didkovskiy and new hire Julia Semeniy, who strengthened the firm as an IP partner.
Juscutum Attorneys Association has its ever-growing nichein the IT sector, has been rapidly developing of late. In the outgoing year it became an exclusive member of World IT Lawyers, European network and opened an office in Lviv. The dynamic team operates in a number of the Ukrainian IT areas, inter alia, IT outsourcing (Ciklum, NixSolutions), product companies, internet projects (ex.ua), start-ups and venture funds (WannaBiz venture fund) and software integrators (BMS Consulting, Ilnine Group). Given the global reach of IT industries, the team often leads project practices, including foreign jurisdictions. For instance, the team drafts a set of model software development contracts for top tier company Ciklum; was enlisted to represent NixSolutions before the courts in an Internet defamation case. Juscutum attracted a number of lawyers, consolidating its media practice (drafting contracts for film industry, music producers, IT outsourcing) and expertise in copyright, contract and technology law. Partners Artem Afian and Dmytro Gadomsky are extremely active on the market and are involved in various legislative initiatives. Other important members of the ambitious team are Mikhail Pergamenshik, Nazar Polyvka and Denys Beregovyi.
Jurimex Law Firm is a recognized domestic player with particular strength inthe telecommunications sector, e-commerce, and lotteries industry. The team consulted Novyny TV (Espreso TV) on broadcasting in the Internet, broadcasting state lotteries, purchase of television content; advised Hromadske Radio on issues of broadcasting in the Internet and distribution to the national radio channels. The team continues to be instructed by its consistent client, MSL LLC, an operator of state lotteries, as to application of telecommunication networks and TV broadcasts, as well on a wide range of regulatory, contractual and IP matters. The firm advised the Parliamentary Committee on Freedom of Speech and Information Policyon the legal concept of conversion to digital TV broadcasting, stopping rebroadcasting of Russian TV channels in Ukrainian cable television networks, adaptation of Ukrainian legislation on advertising to EU standards. Yuriy Krainiak, managing partner, has many years experience in telecoms.
Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & Partners Ukraine focuses on pressing legal issues encountered by international and local IT/TMT companies. In particular, the corporate and M&A team, led by partner Oksana Ilchenko, acted as Ukrainian legal counsel to the world’s largest entertainment company on a number of acquisitions in Ukraine, including the acquisition of IT assets of a couple of software development companies. The IP team advised Viacom on the enforcement of IP rights and cease of sales of counterfeited products representing the client before courts and state authorities. The firm also advised one of the world’s leading computer and telecommunications equipment companies, a world leader in networking for the Internet, on various labor, tax, corporate, commercial law and compliance issues with respect to its business activities in Ukraine. Counsel Taras Kyslyy leads the TMT practice at EPAP Ukraine along with IP.
AEQUO, a Ukrainian law firm established in August by five partners from Vasil Kisil & Partners, brought awide-ranging practice offering combined with comprehensive TMT expertise from the team. The corporate team, as led by partner Anna Babych, advised JV establishment and acquisition transactions in the IT sector. The well-established IP practice headed by Oleksandr Mamunya, represented Mobile TeleSystems OJSC in a complex litigation matter defending against a claim for cancellation by a number of its key trademarks registered under the Madrid Convention. The growing clientele of the young market player stands out for sound names, for example, Google Inc., Syniverse, Mosquito, ABBYY, ASBIS, Samsung, Discovery Networks, Forbes, Thomson Reuters, YouTube, W.M.L. WORLD MEDIA LIBRARY LIMITED.
Outside of the traditional scope of work related to protection of trademarks, patents and copyrights in Ukraine, the IP and technology team of DLA Piper, headed by Natalia Pakhomovska, partner, serves many IT companies on respective IT matters, including e-commerce and domain names. The team recently advised an international communications and software company on compliance of its services agreements on software development with the requirements of Ukrainian IP law; provided legal support to an international operator of e-commerce platforms with the transfer of IP assets and domain names in the framework of internal reorganization of the Ukrainian subsidiary and further separation of a new business. The team provides significant legal support to a multinational media and digital marketing communications company with its acquisition of a group of media companies in Ukraine. The firm is currently involved in a contentious matter for a leading worldwide media company broadcasting in Ukraine, acting in a dispute with a Ukrainian distributor. Olga Romanenko, associate, is another dedicated practitioner.
The Kiev office of CMS Cameron McKenna has an established multidisciplinary practice servicing IT, communication, technology, media clients, both international and domestic. Last year the firm was enlisted for regulatory, currency control, antitrust, IP, restructuring of IT operations, tax issues, corporate restructuring and M&A, employment. The team includes Nataliya Kushniruk, Nataliya Nakonechna, Olga Belyakova and renowned senior partner Olexander Martinenko.
The Kiev team of Dentons is instructed by many leading international names from the TMT sector. The firm is a preferred legal counsel for financing, telecom regulatory issues, corporate and equity finance, IP, data protection, employment matters. Adam Mycyk and Natalia Selyakova are the key contacts.
The IT practice of ILF (Inyurpolis Law Firm), which operates two offices in Kharkov and Kiev, was one of the most notable of the past year. Domestic IT clients often instructed the firm for business structuring using foreign companies and formalization of relationship with employees and contractors on sharing of IP rights on software. The team supported a number of projects on legalization of Ukrainian start-ups. Amongst the key international projects were consolidation of Ukrainian assets of company Accloud within the framework of its preparations for an IPO on the Australian Stock Exchange and entry of online library and shop IBUK on the Ukrainian market. The firm participates in reforms of the IT industry and is a legal partner of the leading Ukrainian IT organization IT-Ukraine. Associate partner Anton Zinchuk is known on the market for his work on IT assignments. Artem Naumov and Veronika Vasylchenko are the key members of his team.
In 2014 the International Legal Center EUCON launched its electronic and mobile commerce practice, and admitted a new partner, Svyatoslav Senyuta, as its head. His team advises all major telecom providers in Ukraine, namely Kyivstar, Astelit and MTS on the implementation of mobile commerce services. The team handles comprehensive support of Euro Terminal Sp. z o.o. (Poland), including receipt of a financial license, accomplishing a branded prepaid cards project with M-Bank and crypto currencies ATMs. Another highlight is legal support of e-ticket transport projects for EasyPay Ltd.
The mainstream activity of Arzinger in 2014 embraced tax advisory and IP work. The team, as headed by partner Pavlo Khodakovskyy, advised a large IT company on taxation and customs issues, and carried out contractual work for a Ukrainian IT company related to employment matters and IP rights protection. The major clients are Softline International, Ellie Mae, Inc., Inline Group Zakhid. Peers mentioned the strong ability of Anton Polikarpov in IP related issues of IT business.
AstapovLawyers international law group has a full-service offering with particular focus on IP. The IP team, as led by recently joined Ilarion Tomarov,provided a TV channel with trademarks and copyrights advisory. Another highlight is IP work for a number of major IT companies. The solid clientele of the group includes STB Channel, NVision, Television Industry Committee.
Patent Law Agency Synergy is focused on IP service with particular focus on IT and Internet projects. The agency acted for a music band on copyright and related rights on audio and visual works and elaborated for online-resources Equalibra, Teenbook.ua and Uteka.ua rules on relationships with their users. Partner Anna Kravchuk is referenced in legal IT circles.
Gvozdiy & Oberkovych commands aconsistent workflow in the IT, media and entertainment sectors. Among assignments in the past year were advising Ubisoft Ukraine LLC on corporate, commercial and labor issues; Digital Service Center Ukraine LLC, a subsidiary of the Polish company Cyfrowe Centrum Serwisowe S.A., on corporate law, lease, delivery of equipment from abroad, currency regulation. The firm’s team also represented Angel Publicity LLC regarding collection of insurance payment and advised Agora Ukraine LLC in an intercompany loan. On the entertainment front, it advised a producer of a young pop singer on a production agreement. Senior associates Maksym Lebedev and Iryna Kalnytska are the main practitioners in the firm. The practice is supervised by both partners, Valentyn Gvozdiy and Sergiy Oberkovych.
NOBLES was active in media and entertainment with advising prominent foreign names on market entry requirements, regulatory issues, licensing and litigation. Recent notable work also included advisory provided to Constantin Film AG, a German film production and film distribution company, on contractual matters and copyrights protection of film distribution in Ukraine; Warner Home Video on regulatory matters for DVD distribution; Gala Radio on corporate and regulatory issues. Volodymyr Yakubovskyy is a lead partner.
Being known for its transactional capacities Avellum Partners also advises on taxation, restructuring of IT operations, employment, IP. The team advised Intapp, major international IT company operating in the field of legal IT services, on issues related to employment of developers, as well as confidentiality, IP issues from the labor law perspective. Partners Mykola Stetsenko and Kostiantyn Likarchuk were involved.
Gramatskiy & Partners reaffirmed its presence within the IT, media and entertainment sectors. The team of Ernest Gramatskiy, Igor Reutov and Mykola Voitovich accomplished legal support of IT-projects for foreign investors. The work flow covered corporate, tax, labor, investment, administrative, commercial, IP. The team extensively advised foreign investors on acquisition of Ukrainian companies, transfer of IT abroad, development of new IT (Playtech Ukraine, ClickMeIn Ukraine), and purchase of rights on software of Ukrainian developers. In 2014 the firm also arranged legal support of delivery and installation of media equipment of Media-Trade Ukraine for the Ukrainian judicial system and media-systems for public entertainment performances. The firm continued to represent the interests of the winner of the Golos Krainy song contest. Mykola Dovgusha is a main contact for media and entertainment.
Ilyashev & Partners has its premier area in disputeresolution. Recent highlights included representation of Morion Publishing House regarding protection of IP rights to trademark “Compendium” and its recognition as well-known in Ukraine. Another important mandate was acting for Kyivstar in a regulatory dispute on the procedure for providing a number porting services. Roman Marchenko and Maksym Kopeychykov, partners, were in charge of the mandates.
Grischenko & Partners, under the guidance of partner Igor Kovbasinsky, represented TV chabbel Era in its disputes with the National Television and Radio Broadcasting Council of Ukraine on invalidation of the results of a contest on the issue of licenses for digital over-the-air television.
EY provided the world largest software development company with tax and legal advisory support for restructuring the contractual framework of operations. The legal team was also seen providing full transaction support for a US sourced investment fund’s investment into a large Ukrainian e-commerce business and restructuring public television in Ukraine. Albert Sych, partner, a law leader in Ukraine, is the primary contact.
Olena Vardamatska of Wolf Theiss office in Ukraine, has been acknowledged for active participation in elaborating new legislation in the area of IT and IP rights, especially for her input in the development of an e-commerce draft.
Partner Andriy Tsvtetkov heads the Attorneys’ Association Gestors matters for media. He supported the signing of an agreement between Ukrainian company Svetofor Film and MTV Exit Foundation. Taras Moroz is another important practitioner, involved in telecom regulatory advice.
For many years Varlamov & Partners has provided legal support to motion picture and TV production, legal support for publishing activity, mass media and commercial activity of show business, legal services in advertising. Maxim Varlamov, managing partner, is a known name on the market.
PricewaterhouseCoopers Legal attorneys association,headed by Andrey Pronchenko,advised an international IT company on an efficient structure for introducing a new product to Ukraine.
The creative performance of Borys Baturinets, Baturinets and Partners, was mentioned in the poll.