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 leads MoFo’s global international arbitration and Asia dispute resolution practices. He has more than 25 years of experience in international commercial litigation and arbitration, and more than 15 years of experience in commercial litigation and arbitration in Asia.

Craig has been described as an exceptional strategist on both the legal and business levels, and as “a world-class lawyer—highly experienced, knowledgeable and business-minded. His strategies make you feel safe.” He is renowned for his ability to assess difficult situations, strike the right tone, and effectively manage the parties. He represents clients from every continent and across diverse industries on their most challenging litigation issues. He is particularly well-versed in matters that involve Japan, China, and Southeast Asia.

His experience covers intellectual property, commercial disputes, and investigations before courts, administrative agencies, and arbitral tribunals. He is well respected for his deep experience in IP litigation, and he regularly arbitrates IP disputes. Intellectual Asset Management described him as a “bona fide IP authority.”

Craig has led more than 80 international arbitrations before the world’s leading tribunals. He has drafted hundreds of arbitration clauses, and advises clients on a wide range of arbitration issues including jurisdiction, the benefits of arbitration under different regimes, and the enforcement of awards. Craig is an experienced arbitrator and a panel member of the following tribunals:

  • The Japan Central Court of Arbitration
  • The Shenzhen Court of International Arbitration
  • The Shanghai International Arbitration Center
  • The Singapore International Arbitration Court (IP Panel)
  • The International Arbitrators of the Pacific International Arbitration Centre, Vietnam

Representative Experience

  • Represented a U.S. media company in a time-limited, Hong Kong-seated arbitration under the UNCITAL Rules arising from a patent license agreement with the subsidiary of a large, publicly listed PRC company governed by Hong Kong law with substantial PRC law issues.
  • Represented a Malaysian telecommunications company and its subsidiaries in a time-limited, London-seated LCIA arbitration arising from a share purchase agreement governed by English law.
  • Represented a leading publicly listed Chinese appliance manufacturer in a Hong Kong-seated arbitration under the Hong Kong Arbitration Ordinance arising out of an alleged long-term distribution contract with a Middle Eastern company governed by Hong Kong law.
  • Represented a Fortune 100 financial services company in Hong Kong court proceedings seeking to set aside an award resulting from Hong Kong-seated ICC arbitration of a US$500 million dispute.
  • Represented the Singaporean subsidiary of a multinational technology and consulting company in a Singapore-seated SIAC arbitration arising from an agreement for IT systems implementation services governed by Singapore law.
  • Represented the Chinese subsidiary of a leading publicly listed U.S. industrial gases company in a Beijing-seated, Chinese-language CIETAC arbitration with the branch of a Chinese state-owned oil and gas corporation arising out of an agreement governed by PRC law.
  • Represented a multinational pharmaceutical and medical device company in a government-facing investigation of potential FCPA violations in Vietnam.
  • Represented a multinational technology and consulting company in an internal investigation into employee self-dealing in India.

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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