Craig I. Celniker

Craig I. Celniker


University of California, San Diego (B.A., 1985)
Johns Hopkins University (M.A., 1987)
Columbia Law School (J.D., 1990)

Bar Admissions

New York

Craig Celniker has extensive international commercial litigation and arbitration experience, with a particular emphasis on intellectual property issues. He leads Morrison & Foerster’s International Arbitration and Asia Dispute Resolution practices. Mr. Celniker has been described by clients as “an exceptional strategist on both the legal and business levels.”

Experience in Asia

After spending 10 years in our Tokyo office, where he developed his reputation as a leading international disputes lawyer, Mr. Celniker now divides his time between the firm’s Hong Kong, Tokyo and Singapore offices. Clients have come to rely on Mr. Celniker’s regional knowledge and contacts as well as his strategic advice. Mr. Celniker is ranked as a leading individual for Dispute Resolution: Arbitration (International Firms): China in Chambers Global and Chambers Asia-Pacific 2018, having been described as “a world-class lawyer – highly experienced, knowledgeable and business-minded. His strategies make you feel safe.”

Mr. Celniker is the only attorney rated as a “Star Individual” for Dispute Resolution: International Firms: Japan by Chambers Global and Chambers Asia-Pacific’s 2013 - 2015 editions, making him their highest-rated foreign dispute resolution specialist in Japan.

Since its inception in 2009, Japan’s Best Lawyers has listed Mr. Celniker in the categories of Intellectual Property, Litigation, and Arbitration and Mediation. In 2015, he was named Japan’s Best Lawyers’ Tokyo Litigation “Lawyer of the Year.”

Dispute Resolution Experience

Mr. Celniker represents clients from every continent in the world and from diverse industries in the litigation and arbitration of intellectual property, construction and commercial issues before U.S. courts and administrative agencies and courts in Japan and China.

Mr. Celniker’s experience covers a range of international litigation issues, from the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, Act of State Doctrine and the United States Arbitration Act to international arbitration conventions, the Hague Convention and international discovery and enforcement issues.

International Arbitration

Mr. Celniker has participated in more than 80 international arbitrations before various tribunals, including the American Arbitration Association (AAA), the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA), the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre (HKIAC), Japan Commercial Arbitration Association (JCAA), the Singapore International Arbitration Centre (SIAC), the China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (CIETAC) and the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal.

Mr. Celniker has drafted hundreds of arbitration clauses and advised clients on various arbitration issues, including the enforcement of arbitration awards and the benefits of arbitration under different regimes.

He is a member of the Panel of Arbitrators for the JCCA, the Shenzhen Court of International Arbitration (SCIA) and the Shanghai International Arbitration Centre (SHIAC), as well as the SIAC’s IP Panel of Arbitrators. He is also recommended by the International Arbitrators of the Pacific International Arbitration Centre (PIAC) in Vietnam.

Intellectual Property

Mr. Celniker has been recognized for his strength in IP litigation by such publications as Benchmark: Asia Pacific and Asialaw. Intellectual Asset Management described him as a “bona fide IP authority.” In 2013, Lawyer Monthly’s Legal Awards recognized Mr. Celniker as the winner in the category of Biotechnology Lawyer of the Year for Japan.

Lehman Brothers
Represent Lehman Bros. in $350-million contract and fraud case in Tokyo District Court.

Japan Commercial Arbitration
(Japan Commercial Arbitration Association). Representation of a Japanese joint venture partner in a dispute between the U.S. partner and joint venture regarding technology licensing with respect to semiconductor manufacturing equipment.

Telecommunication Company Arbitration
(HKIAC). Represented a Cayman Islands telecommunications company before HKIAC in a dispute with Chinese telecommunications company in an arbitration involving the breach of an asset purchase agreement.

ICC Arbitration for major Japanese industrial company
(ICC). Successfully represented a major Japanese industrial company before the ICC in a breach of contract case arising out of construction of a steel mill in Brazil.

In re IXI Litigation
(Tokyo District Court). Currently represent Dell, Inc., and its subsidiary Dell Japan, in series of litigation proceedings in Tokyo and Osaka District Courts relating to certain transactions for Dell goods and services.

Kuwait Petroleum Corporation v. Arabian Oil Company.
(London Court of International Arbitration). Successfully settled a dispute under a long-term oil supply agreement between our client Arabian Oil Company (AOC), a Japanese oil and gas company, and Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) in which KPC sought upwards of $8 million for alleged underlifting by AOC. The agreement was governed by English law and provided for all disputes to be resolved by arbitration under the LCIA Rules in London.

Palermo 34 v. Hill's-Colgate.
(Osaka District Court / Osaka High Court).  Represented Colgate-Palmolive in a products liability case before the Osaka District Court involving Hills' Science Diet pet food.

Syntron Bioresearch v. Genix Biotek
(California Court of Appeals, Fourth Appellate District). Secured a $12.5-million judgment and permanent injunction on behalf of our client Syntron Bioresearch in a trade secret and trademark case against former employees accused of stealing monoclonal antibodies, hybridoma cell lines, and production processes used in manufacturing immunoassays.

Trial for Invalidation of Patent No. 3638738
(Japan Patent Office). Represented Albemarle Corp. in a series of petitions for invalidity filed with the JPO.

Craig Celniker is recommended as a top-tier dispute resolution lawyer by Chambers Global 2018 and Chambers Asia-Pacific 2018; The Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2015; Intellectual Asset Management’s IAM Patent 1000 2014: The World’s Leading Patent Practitioners; Benchmark: Asia Pacific 2013 (leading litigation star in Japan); Best Lawyers in Japan (since inception in 2009); and Euromoney’s Expert Guides.

He is the only attorney rated as a “Star Individual” for Dispute Resolution: International Firms: Japan by Chambers Global and Chambers Asia-Pacific’s 2013 - 2015 editions, making him their highest-rated foreign dispute resolution specialist in Japan.

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