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President of Masuda Funai, George Kobayashi serves as general counsel to Japanese companies entering the U.S. market. Fluent in English and Japanese, George worked in Japan and understands the Japanese business mindset and how commercial decisions are made and executed. George is valued for his skill in explaining American law and business in a way Japanese executives can understand and leverage to ensure ROI. George feels a sense of personal success when his clients succeed in the domestic marketplace.


George maintains a unique practice focusing on the representation of Japan-based clients in a wide range of cross-border business transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, strategic alliances and other commercial transactions valued into the hundreds of millions of dollars. As a member of the firm’s Intellectual Property & Technology practice, George has represented and advised public and privately held companies in various industries, including information technology, fashion, application development, transportation, machine tool, automobile, robotics, food products and healthcare.

George regularly assists his clients in all aspects of vertical distribution including franchising, dealership and distributorship programs, sales representative and commercial agency relationships, complex commercial licensing and co-branding arrangements, and direct selling and business opportunity relationships. George has appeared numerous times before the United States Patent and Trademark Office and Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, and regularly advises clients on trademark, service mark, branding, copyright and other intellectual property-related issues.

George also has experience assisting companies internationally, including those in and from Japan, Mexico and Brazil, and has developed strong relationships with experienced business and legal advisors around the world to assist his clients’ expansion into these markets. He has conducted numerous seminars, both in the U.S. and in Japan in English and in Japanese, on a broad range of commercial, intellectual property and other legal issues affecting businesses conducting cross-border transactions.

Prior to law school, George worked in Tokyo as a Product Development Manager for 3Com Corporation and its predecessor US Robotics, Inc. While in law school, he studied comparative law in Tokyo and was a legal intern at the Tokyo office of TMI Associates.



  • Creighton University, B.S.B.A., 1995
  • Temple University Japan Law Program (Tokyo), 1999
  • The University of Illinois Chicago School of Law, J.D., 2000


  • Illinois


  • Japanese


Lead legal counsel to a major Japanese automotive component manufacturer in the negotiation, formation and establishment of complex, multi-tiered dual joint venture entities in Mexico with a large scale global private investment fund.
Assisted the world's 10th largest Internet company in the participation of a $27 million round of financing for a Chicago-based global market technology company.

Represented a foreign buyer in a multi-million dollar asset purchase of an industrial products division of an established trading company.

Lead counsel for the sale of a U.S. subsidiary of a Japanese logistics company.

Represented global audio component and accessory manufacturer in their expansion of operations into Brazil.

Assisted a large Japanese trading company in connection with the restructuring of global fashion accessory business with a U.S. partner, involving a series of multi-million dollar acquisitions of the assets located in various territories around the world.

Represented client in the acquisition of a motorcycle and ATV products company in Utah.

Represented Japan-based computer and smart-phone application developer in trademark prosecution and other intellectual property matters.

Represented Japan-based household products manufacturer in the negotiation of long-term manufacture and supply agreements.

Advised an international electronic entertainment company on U.S. laws and regulations applicable to its bringing a number of its entertainment properties to the North American market, with an emphasis on online gaming and E-Sports competition sectors.



American Bar Association
Asian American Bar Association Chicago - Former Board of Director
The Japanese American Service Committee Housing Corporation (Heiwa Terrace) - Board of Directors
U.S.-Japan Council - Regional Vice-Chair (Midwest Region)
Are You Losing Revenue by Not Fully Taking Advantage of Your IP Portfolio?
Businesses accumulate intellectual property (IP) assets over time – some purposefully acquired, while others are created by the natural…
Recent Changes in Labor Laws May Require Immediate Action for Companies with Operations in Mexico
Executive Summary Businesses that maintain operations in Mexico may need to take immediate action with respect to their workforce as…
How Japanese Owned U.S. Subsidiaries Can Avoid Common Mistakes When Applying for the Second Round of the U.S. Government's Paycheck Protection Program ("PPP") Loans
Executive Summary The U.S. government’s Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”) announced the release of a second round of loan funds to…
How Illinois-Based Japanese Essential Businesses and Manufacturing Companies Will Be Affected under the Illinois Extended Stay-at-Home Order
Executive Summary Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker announced on April 23, 2020, that the Illinois stay-at-home order will be extended…
Japanese Keidanren Delegation Executive Breakfast, Partnering with Japan Companies Interested in Growing Illinois' Economy, May 19, 2017
Speaker at State of Illinois Investment Seminar in Tokyo and Osaka, 2010-2016
Masuda Funai's George Kobayashi and Tadashi Tahara Collaborate on Insightful Article for Business Houmu Magazine
Masuda Funai’s George Kobayashi (President) and Tadashi Tahara (Associate) have co-authored the compelling article "A Practical Guide to…
Masuda Funai Hosted the 2022 Intellectual Property Seminar
Masuda, Funai, Eifert & Mitchell, Ltd. hosted the 2022 Intellectual Property seminar on October 20, 2022 in Novi, MI. An English session…
Masuda Funai Participates in 2019 SelectUSA Investment Summit in Washington, D.C.
Press Release June 10-12, 2019 – David Alexander, Keith Groebe and George Kobayashi, Principals of Masuda, Funai, Eifert & Mitchell Ltd…
Masuda Funai 2019 Leadership Changes
Masuda, Funai, Eifert & Mitchell, Ltd.’s Board of Directors elected a new President, George Kobayashi, effective January 1, 2019. George…
Masuda Funai Participates in 2018 SelectUSA Investment Summit in Washington, D.C.
David Alexander, Keith Groebe and George Kobayashi, Principals of Masuda, Funai, Eifert & Mitchell Ltd., joined more than 3,000…
Co-Authored "A Practical Guide to Reviewing U.S. Nondisclosure Agreements" - Business Houmu Magazine, October 2023
"Recent Changes in Mexican Labor Laws May Require Immediate Action for Japanese Companies with Operations in Mexico" - BizBuddy, June 2021


  • Leading Lawyers, 2015-2023