You are using an outdated browser and your browsing experience will not be optimal. Please update to the latest version of Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox. Install Microsoft Edge

Thomas J. Treutler

Partner and Managing Director, Vietnam


Thomas J. Treutler is the managing director of Tilleke & Gibbins’ Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City offices. Tom is registered to practice as a foreign lawyer in Vietnam and has been providing legal services in Vietnam for 25 years. He is an attorney licensed by the State Bar of California.

Tom specializes in corporate and commercial law as well as intellectual property, and co-heads the firm’s life sciences practice with Alan Adcock. He advises leading multinationals, as well as small and medium-sized businesses, on setting up their business operations in Vietnam. He regularly handles mergers and acquisitions work, including the Vietnam portion of one of the largest global acquisitions of 2017. Tom leads Tilleke & Gibbins’ strong franchising practice in Vietnam, and advises foreign companies on distribution of products into the fast-growing Vietnamese market. He also advises foreign companies on compliance matters and how to navigate the complicated nuances of Vietnamese labor law. In this area, Tom has led FCPA compliance investigations, and helped successfully resolve several high-profile labor disputes in Vietnam.

Tom, who formerly served as the Chairman of AmCham Vietnam’s IT, Telecom & IPR (ITTI) Committee, regularly advises in the area of media and technology law. Recognized as a leading lawyer in intellectual property by Chambers, The Legal 500, and Managing IP, Tom has extensive experience in patent and trademark counseling, and IP enforcement. He has secured a number of landmark patent infringement victories for foreign companies operating in the life sciences and technology sectors. Under Tom’s leadership, Tilleke & Gibbins has been named Firm of the Year for Vietnam nine times since 2012 by Managing IP. In 2014, Tom helped lead an anti-counterfeiting action for a U.S. printer cartridge producer that was named Case of the Year for Southeast Asia by Managing IP, due to the court’s award to the plaintiff of damages and attorney fees, as well as costs for a prior administrative action. As a former patent attorney in Silicon Valley and Los Angeles, he has prepared and prosecuted patent applications in the semiconductor, computer, software, electronics, communications, and medical device industries.

Tom is the co-chair of AIPLA’s IP Practice in the Far East Committee and a former chair of the East Asia and Pacific Subcommittee of INTA’s Famous and Well-Known Marks Committee. He currently sits on the INTA Academic Committee and is also a member of the INTA Asia-Pacific Global Advisory Council. Tom has advised EuroCham Vietnam’s Pharma Group (an industry group of major pharmaceutical innovators), and has assisted with drafting position papers on compulsory licensing and a roadmap for Vietnam’s compliance with the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement and TRIPS. He also serves as a local expert for Vietnam for the European Commission’s ASEAN IPR SME Helpdesk.

Tom earned his JD, magna cum laude, from Indiana University Bloomington’s Maurer School of Law, where he now serves as a member of the Dean’s Global Advisory Board, and graduated from the University of Michigan with a BSE in Computer Engineering. Having lived and worked in Vietnam as a translator in the early 1990s before becoming a lawyer, Tom reads, writes and speaks Vietnamese fluently. Tom founded the Hanoi Youth Baseball Club in 2008, and his 16U team qualified for the 2015 Colt World Series in the United States.


  • Helped a major U.S. hospitality chain to structure, draft, and negotiate management contracts and conduct due diligence for six hotel, resort, and condominium projects in compliance with Vietnamese law, including  land title, zoning issues, complex brand licensing, and various taxation issues.
  • Advised a timeshare entity on all aspects of its entry into the Vietnamese market including real estate ownership, leasing and management, marketing, advertising, and data privacy.
  • Advised a major Japanese construction company in a USD 140,000,000 mixed-use office, condominium and serviced apartment project in Hanoi, including all licensing matters, land title issues, zoning variances, land subdivision, joint venture negotiations, corporate governance, and property management regulations.
  • Advised on various labor disputes in Vietnam including court cases and handling informal mediation, including for cases related to employee fraud and FCPA violations; prepared Vietnam’s first English-language translation of Vietnamese Labor Code in 1994.
  • Advised on various aspects of telecommunications and data privacy law, including live teleconferencing software; advised on various aspects of broadcasting, film production, and pay TV in Vietnam.
  • Advised the Vietnamese government on post-WTO accession TRIPS compliance issues under the Beyond WTO Project funded by the World Bank.
  • Provided IP training to judges at Vietnam’s Supreme Court under an EU-sponsored project.
  • Represented a major European appliance producer in a trademark infringement and unfair competition case in which a Vietnamese appliance maker falsely claimed that its products contained components produced by our client.
  • Obtained several of the largest settlements in Vietnam IPR history in multiple copyright infringement actions.
  • Obtained an expert opinion on an agrochemical patent infringement in favor of the patent owner in a landmark case in Vietnam.
  • Secured on behalf of a major European apparel label the assessment of substantial fines (approximately USD 50,000) on infringers producing counterfeit shirts and shoes.
  • Advised a leader in wireless technology on government authorities related to the telecommunications industry.
  • Obtained professional conclusions on patent infringement by the Vietnam Intellectual Property Research Institute in an ongoing patent infringement case concerning several patented insecticides.
  • Provided a freedom-to-operate opinion pertaining to a drug for inhibiting human gastric acid secretions.
  • Provided in-depth advice to a global software solutions provider on doing business in Vietnam.
  • Assisted a top American restaurant franchise with franchising registration, registration updates, and general business operations.
  • Drafted the following patents granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office:
    • Patent No. 6,952,269 “Apparatus and method for adiabatically heating a semiconductor surface”
    • Patent No. 7,359,393 “Method and apparatus for border gateway protocol convergence using update groups”
    • Patent No. 7,376,724 “Dynamic reconfiguration of nodes in a cluster file system”
    • Patent No. 7,389,529 “Method and apparatus for generating and using nested encapsulation data”
    • Patent No. 7,415,457 “Using a cache to provide cursor isolation”
    • Patent No. 7,472,183 “Approaches for capturing illegal and undesired behavior in network components and component interactions”
    • Patent No. 7,571,241 “Method and apparatus for advertising update messages to peers and peer groups in a border gateway protocol process”
    • Patent No. 8,001,112 “Using multidimensional access as surrogate for hash table”
  • Prepared documentation for the establishment of LPG and bitumen production businesses in Vietnam, which were successfully licensed.
  • Prepared applications and documentation for establishment of one of the first software outsourcing companies in Vietnam.
  • Conducted a due diligence exercise for a USD 300 million investment in a brewery in Vietnam, and worked on various other major due diligence exercises in Vietnam.
  • Prepared documentation for various capital injections into beverage production facilities in Vietnam.
  • Advised some of world’s largest franchises on establishment of their operations in Vietnam in fields ranging from education, restaurants, and fashion to rental cars; assisted two franchises to win litigation and/or arbitration cases relating to franchise disputes in Vietnam.
  • Prepared and advised on the establishment of various business and industry associations and NGOs in Vietnam, as well as on day-to-day issues.
  • Advised on various aspects of a mixed-use office/apartment complex in Hanoi; advised on structures for developing condominium projects in Central Vietnam; negotiated leases on behalf of clients.
ABOUT Thomas J.






    JD, Indiana University – Bloomington

    BSE, University of Michigan


Awards & Rankings

Other Professionals