China: Domestic

Firms: litigation and transactions

An Tian Zhang & Partners
Fangda Partners
LexField Law Offices
Watson & Band Law Offices
Kangxin Partners PC
Lifang & Partners
Zhong Lun Law Firm
Beijing-based AFD is a prolific filer of domestic, international and Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) applications. The group’s steadfast focus on quality has resulted in annual increases in both filing numbers and allowance rate – and garnered awards for its clients from the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO). Shrewd arguments in administrative contentious proceedings give the firm an edge; it recently had standard-essential patents (SEPs) invalidated on behalf of one of the country’s top telecommunications companies. Founding partner and leader Xia Zheng sets the tone of excellence and provides “unmatched services and counsel on Chinese patent matters”.
An Tian Zhang & Partners
An Tian Zhang is geared up to satisfy the most demanding international high-technology innovators. Its translation team is renowned for its attention to detail and ensures that applications are always error free. No slouch on the contentious side, the set recently demonstrated its ability to hone in on the critical elements of a case and unstinting pursuit of clients’ interests by having the Supreme Court reverse first and second-instance decisions denying the invalidation of a competitor’s patent. It also successfully defended a German car manufacturer in patent infringement proceedings. The “practically minded” and eloquent David Tian “has a great understanding of the things that are most important to his clients and knows how to use litigation as a means to achieve client goals”. Beijing East IP debuts in the IAM Patent 1000 this year. The up-and-coming boutique is hailed as “one of the most professional firms in China”, with attorneys who are “always ready to provide expert opinions and solutions”. Combining the strengths of a prosecution agency with those of a law firm, it serves as an effective one-stop shop. In all areas, its client care and the quality of its output are enhanced significantly as a result of extensive investment in state-of-the-art search systems and patent databases. The firm enjoyed a red-letter year in 2016, opening a Silicon Valley office and establishing a domestic patent division. A senior patent attorney and litigator who also oversees business development, Dragon Wang is a key contact for the address book. “He is energetic, eager to win, open minded and detail oriented”, and “a great strategist in invalidation cases”. Accredited with ISO 9001 certification, Beijing Sanyou Intellectual Property Agency consistently delivers an outstanding, efficient service. As the oldest private IP ensemble in China, it has witnessed the evolution of the national patent system, providing its practitioners – many of whom are former SIPO examiners – with a rare level of insight into the market. With 120 patent attorneys, nearly 100 patent engineers and 20 lawyers on hand, there is nothing that the firm cannot handle when it comes to protecting, enforcing and commercialising intellectual property. Xiaolin Dang is involved in all of these activities and more; the perspicacious counsellor gained his LLM in the United States and has a dual engineering and legal background. The time-honoured CCPIT is one of the largest IP shops in China, home to nearly 300 patent and trademark attorneys and over 70 attorneys at law. The Beijing-headquartered outfit also has multiple domestic and foreign branches, including in New York, Tokyo and Munich, giving it a more extensive international reach than virtually any other domestic player. With this size and scope, it can adroitly field any patent query in any technical field whatsoever. The set maintains a laser focus on quality through exacting control and review processes and one of the most rigorous training programmes for new and junior professionals around. For incisive handling of patent invalidation and litigation, non-Chinese companies would do well to seek out chemistry and materials aficionado Chuanhong Long, who serves as a vice president. Globally oriented Chang Tsi & Partners approaches intellectual property from a resolutely commercial perspective and utilises sophisticated client and file management systems to ensure a seamless customer experience. Domestic and international patrons receive a dedicated service from three specialist teams – electrical, mechanical and biochemistry – and are never left in the dark as to the progress of prosecution or litigation efforts. The squad practises in English, Chinese and Japanese – a further draw for global players. Howard Hao is the deputy manager of the patent department and is a key first port of call.

Multi-award winner China Patent Agent is a trailblazer within Chinese IP law and practice. With 570 staff members, including 220 patent attorneys spread across the mechanical, electrical and chemical spheres, it is a powerful force with the in-depth expertise to handle any and every patent mandate. Its robust representation of foreign entities in Chinese patent litigation is worthy of special mention; legal affairs deputy manager Yanfeng Xiong is a seasoned pro in this field, with an impressive success rate. Prolific IP writer and speaker Yuhe Wu also has extensive experience in the courtroom and is another staunch enforcer; with a background in pharmaceutical chemistry, the Beijing office deputy director has close ties with US and UK associates – and a keen understanding of the patent and legal systems in these jurisdictions. On the prosecution side, China Patent Agent goes to great lengths to ensure that its work product is of a uniformly exceptional standard; an independent quality control department which solicits input from university professors and judges keeps the firm’s practitioners on their toes. Recommended for prosecution in the IAM Patent 1000 this year are Tina Tai and Xiangling Zeng. Tai is a worldly-wise lawyer and patent attorney who crafts watertight chemistry patents. General manager Zeng is a master of the mechanical arts and a prominent figure in numerous IP associations – for example, he is vice chair of the China Intellectual Property Society and vice president of the Licensing Executives Society China.

China Science Patent & Trademark Agent Ltd
Established when China’s patent law was introduced in 1984, China Science Patent & Trademark Agent originated as the exclusive agent for the state-funded Chinese Academy of Sciences. Today, the firm is a premier A-to-Z IP provider for a diverse array of domestic and international innovators. Matching deep technical credentials with international training and experience, its committed team proves an invaluable long-term partner to clients large and small. Prominent lecturer and author Liyan Zhang serves as chairman. China Sinda is one of the country’s largest boutiques, with one of the farthest-reaching networks: liaison offices in Washington DC, Tokyo, Munich and Singapore put it within easy reach of those doing business in key legal and technological markets. The international backgrounds of many of its patent attorneys and technical experts, and their ability to work in multiple languages – including Japanese, German, Korean and English – further enhance its global outlook. The firm has all aspects of patent protection, enforcement and monetisation on lock and operates with poise across all major disciplines; advanced docketing and file management systems ensure the smooth delivery of services. Beibing Gary Zhang is president of the firm. Legally and technically trained in the United States, he is a font of wisdom and analysis on both the US and Chinese patent systems and can provide trenchant solutions for those looking to obtain and leverage patent rights in either jurisdiction.
DEQI Intellectual Property Law Corporation
Located just around the corner from SIPO’s main offices in Beijing, DEQI is much vaunted for its swift and precise patent prosecution. However, the firm is equally adept at handling complex and sophisticated legal instructions. Tending to a diverse local and overseas client base, it receives an even balance of inbound, outbound and purely domestic mandates. Regardless of the nature of the brief, the firm’s quality control department performs assiduously and as a result only the best work product gets the stamp of approval. Electronics is a forte, although the set is proficient in all technologies. DEQI’s practitioners tirelessly seek to add value – for example, by organising technical training courses for clients. Chairman of the board, lawyer and patent attorney Zhiqiang Song is a compelling choice for anything relating to electronics, telecommunications or computer science.
Fangda Partners
This elite general business law firm runs a fully fledged IP practice, but shines brightest in major patent litigation and complicated, sprawling transactions. Rights holders also benefit from the regulatory expertise housed in the firm’s telecommunications, media and internet department. The top IP player is undoubtedly Gordon Gao; the veteran pugilist litigates across the IP spectrum, but some of his sweetest victories have come on the patent side. Having spent many years working for international outfits with strong China practices, his perspective on intellectual property is truly global.
One of the first private partnership law firms in China, JunHe is a redoubtable general practice outfit with more than 600 professionals in nine domestic and foreign offices. Given the strength of its IP offering, it is a persuasive one-stop option for technology innovators. The patent team – stationed across offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Silicon Valley – is well versed in key international legal systems and regularly attracts mandates involving crucial transnational components. Prosecution and portfolio management are strongholds, but the team is best known for its litigation and transactional dexterity. The first port of call for electronics and mechanical engineering litigation is PhD Zhaolin (Johnson) Wang, who has fought – and won – at all levels of the Chinese court system. Also seasoned in non-contentious matters, he is often called on to give opinions on a wide range of patent protection matters and is regarded by Fortune 500 companies as an outstanding strategic adviser.
Kangxin Partners PC
IP specialist Kangxin has one of the best allowance rates of any firm filing patent applications and is therefore a prime pick for companies looking to get IP rights in the deck and ready to use commercially. The set is also a favourite among innovators seeking strategic and informed guidance: it engages in sophisticated statistical and big data analysis to deliver rare insight into the decision-making trends in different courts, and compiles revealing competitive landscape reports. Samson Gang Yu maintains the focus on quality and commercial relevance in his role as managing partner. He practises primarily in the prosecution, transactions and general counselling arenas, but is also a dab hand at IP disputes; his varied know-how encompasses Section 337 investigations at the US International Trade Commission.
King & Wood Mallesons
King & Wood Mallesons’ client base speaks volumes about the quality of its patent service: the firm is trusted by industry-leading technology companies from the United States, Europe and Asia not only to draft and file patent applications, but also to pursue infringement cases and seal lucrative IP-heavy deals. With impressive strength in depth, it has more individuals selected for inclusion in the IAM Patent 1000 this year than any domestic competitor. The coordination of the global and China IP groups falls on the broad shoulders of Nongfan Zhu. He is a highly decorated international IP partner with piercing insight into the US and Chinese legal and IP systems, who knows how to develop well-rounded portfolios within each jurisdiction. Healthcare and life sciences are his domains. Wenping Chen is also a specialist in these fields; the English, French and Chinese speaker focuses on domestic and international patent protection in all its facets. Providing an equally broad array of prosecution, infringement analysis and licensing services is Maohua Wang – although he is predominantly regarded as an authority on the electrical arts. For innovators in need of steadfast advocacy, Zhongsheng Li is the man to call. The erudite legal scholar draws on a wealth of judicial know-how to guide clients and cases safely through the Chinese court system towards a favourable resolution.
LexField Law Offices
Beijing boutique LexField serves up a comprehensive suite of patent services, but is best known for its contentious prowess and ability to carry the day in high-stakes life sciences and high-technology litigations. Of particular note is the firm’s record in retrials before the Supreme Court, of which it has handled more than any of its competitors. A master of these proceedings – and the heart and soul of the firm – is Hongyi Jiang. His résumé features a string of substantial damages awards in high-rolling telecommunications disputes over SEPs and in major pharmaceutical patent suits. Jiang’s regulatory knowledge – accumulated during a lengthy stint as IP counsel for the State Food and Drug Administration – is also a significant boon. Biochemistry PhD Richard Liu can devise winning strategies for any life sciences case and is another key contact. The duo frequently join forces to set precedents emulated by their peers. Captain of the prosecution department David Huang lends support in contentious affairs, but is principally focused on portfolio management in the computer science and high-technology areas. Clients hail him as a “knowledgeable, industrious and professional lawyer” whose “excellent English language skills facilitate communication and prevent errors”.
Lifang & Partners
Intellectual property is a lifelong calling for Lifang’s talented team of technically trained lawyers, many of whom transferred to private practice from governmental or judicial agencies. Able to dispatch any instruction going, they produce precise work on routine patent matters where efficiency is paramount and deliver savvy solutions to extraordinary patent problems where creative thinking is a must. The firm balances the demands of prosecution and litigation very effectively, thanks to excellent working relationships with SIPO examiners and court judges. Managing partner Guanbin Xie is brilliant at building the right team for each individual brief and knows how to get the best out of his colleagues. “He has extensive hands-on experience handling contentious matters in China – particularly cases that are unusually complex for technical or legal reasons. His presentation skills in hearings are excellent.”
Linda Liu & Partners
Effusive foreign associate recommendations propel Linda Liu & Partners into the IAM Patent 1000 for the first time this year. “It is my go-to firm for important matters before the Chinese patent office,” reports one respondent. “As a US attorney who often needs detailed guidance from Chinese associates, I know I can count on Peter Zhang and his colleagues to deliver thorough analysis on matters, as well as concrete suggestions for moving forward." Another adds: “The group’s work is organised by Peter, who does a perfect job. His team is very responsive, has a high degree of technical skill and comprehension, makes good comments on office actions and provides helpful advice with no delay. Also, the service is reasonably priced.” All in all, the ensemble is “the perfect cooperation partner in China for patent prosecution”. Hong Kong and Beijing partnership Liu Shen & Associates is home to a sizeable cohort of top-grade technical and legal talent, and always keeps an ear to the ground in terms of local and international patent law and policy. Major names in the technology world entrust it with filing and prosecution duties – Google and Siemens are recent beneficiaries of its reliable service – as well as with important infringement suits. Ensuring that all clients are extremely well cared for, managing partner Allen Tao is the face of the firm. A lawyer and patent attorney, Tao operates deftly across the contentious/non-contentious divide, but is primarily acclaimed for his bold performances defending and enforcing IP rights in Chinese courtrooms on behalf of powerful multinationals. Unstintingly dedicated to quality, Lung Tin has a long tradition representing international clients in China and was one of the first IP groups to win government approval for this purpose. The exceptionally well-resourced outfit is headquartered in Beijing and has branches in Shanghai, Shenzhen, Hong Kong, Osaka and New York, as well as a carefully cultivated network of foreign associates – a set-up which enhances the global thinking for which it is famed. Founding partner Taikeung Cheng has a rich background in IP and business litigation and arbitration, so it is no surprise that Lung Tin runs a strong dedicated contentious patent practice; although the 120-attorney squad also fires on all cylinders in prosecution. NTD came into being in 1987 and has dispensed a classy, attentive patent service to both domestic and international clients ever since. Highly recommended for prosecution, it also deftly handles an array of enforcement and monetisation mandates and features in the IAM Patent 1000 litigation and transactions table to reflect its versatility. Well accustomed to the needs of multinationals, it is also increasingly sought out by start-ups as Chinese individuals return from overseas posts in large international companies ready to establish their own businesses. Emerging companies love to appoint NTD at early R&D stages to ensure that everything IP related is properly organised from the outset. From a technical perspective, the life sciences is a strong suit for the group. Heather Lin is always on call as an outstanding chemist and biotechnologist; the senior partner is not just technically astute, but has a refined strategic wisdom and can work wonders in portfolio management. Electrical innovators also find invaluable allies here, such as June Wang, who blends legal and technical nous to compelling effect. Wang is all about efficiency and devised the firm’s innovative IP management and docketing systems. Christopher Shaowei is the main contact for litigation: a formidable advocate in both court and administrative settings, he has encyclopaedic IP knowledge and deep ancillary expertise in fields such as unfair competition. A medium-sized and relatively young boutique, Panawell & Partners operates with a high degree of efficiency and modernity. Its well-built team of professionals provides a refined prosecution and litigation service to A-list multinationals – Kimberly-Clark and Eaton Corporation are two examples – and to domestic entities such as the Institute of Computing Technology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Trained to the highest standards at US law firms, William Yang makes a good first point of contact for interested parties. Working as proficiently in English as he does in Chinese, Yang delivers well-rounded advice that draws on his panoramic insight into multiple areas of intellectual property. He is particularly respected for his licensing and litigation prowess. Since its foundation in 2008, Shangcheng & Partners has become an incredibly dynamic presence on the IP scene, developing into a robust force of over 60 lawyers and 100-plus IP professionals in total. The vast majority of these have received advanced technical training from distinguished institutions and many have international education and experience. On the prosecution front, Shangcheng covers all bases with three dedicated teams – life sciences, electrical engineering and mechanical – while on the litigation side it has an abundance of trial-ready experts who tenaciously defend the interests of patrons from its Beijing and Shanghai bureaux. Chun Long presides over the ensemble. A large firm with nearly 700 professionals spread across no less than 21 branches – including one in Hong Kong and one in Taiwan – Unitalen is always available when needed and is a daunting force for competitors to reckon with. A prolific filer, the firm also fights on the frontline of patent infringement litigation and dispute resolution in China. It enjoyed a landmark year in 2016, earning a defensive victory for client Shenzhen Hong Xin Tuo Pu Electronic Technology against a plaintiff that had won multiple infringement suits to protect a magnetic levitation patent; it also secured two invalidations for drone technology pioneer Shenzhen DJI-Innovations. Veteran physics PhD Deshan Li harnesses the group’s considerable horsepower with verve. His personal practice spans patent procurement, licensing and enforcement, and he also manages the firm’s foreign patent practice. Li is a popular writer and speaker, and has assisted SIPO as an expert in connection with various amendments to patent law and regulations; he is a veritable font of wisdom. At the tail end of 2016, WAN HUI DA announced its merger with PEKSUNG Intellectual Property; although the amalgamation has been planned as a gradual process – and the two entities currently retain separate legal status – there is already plenty of collaboration between them and loyal clients now have the two firms’ pooled resources at their fingertips. The group’s collective experience encompasses hundreds of lawsuits and thousands of patent applications, which means that practitioners have dealt with virtually all eventualities; this inspires confidence, particularly for overseas clients seeking a reliable service when protecting or expanding their interests in China. In litigation, obtaining the right evidence is paramount and in this endeavour WAN HUI DA really excels, thanks to its dedicated investigations team. Senior partner and founder Jiancheng Jiang has been involved in the patent field since its inception, and prosecutes and litigates with equal aplomb. He is also a crucial port of call for players in the life sciences field – a bastion of strength for PEKSUNG.
Watson & Band Law Offices
When it comes to patent infringement litigation, sophisticated commercial outfit Watson & Band is the slickest player on the market. No legal or technical conundrum can throw its practitioners off their game, whether they are asserting grounds for invalidating or upholding a patent or presenting a non-infringement defence. A flexible team structure ensures that clients always have the best possible combination of lawyers, patent attorneys and technical experts at their disposal for their specific case. Although most noted for its contentious nous, Watson & Band is a one-stop IP shop with a thriving prosecution operation. While its translations on inbound filings are as tight as can be, the set also drafts plenty of original specifications – in multiple languages – for many foreign companies with R&D centres in China. Jianguo Huang is involved in most of the firm’s patent litigation work and is the go-to contact.
Wu Feng & Zhang
Wu Feng & Zhang makes its debut in the IAM Patent 1000 this year. The firm is a different breed from its competitors: the compact set-up focuses on the chemical, pharmaceutical and biotechnology areas – realms in which its three founding partners are all dyed-in-the-wool experts. It assists an impressive array of marquee international drug and chemical companies and is renowned for filing pristine applications, obtaining rock-solid patent protection, responding to office actions promptly and concisely and supervising invalidity actions with poise. Leading the unit is Amy Feng, a life sciences maven who founded the firm in 2014, having spent 18 years at Liu Shen & Associates. She has a sophisticated understanding of the intertwined IP and commercial objectives of US and European multinationals.
Zhong Lun Law Firm
Foreign and domestic operators can reach Zhong Lun via eight offices in China and four international outposts in Hong Kong, Tokyo, London and New York. The business law firm – one of the largest in the country, with 220 partners and 1,200 professionals in total – provides every legal service under the sun; 13 specialised partners offer an A-to-Z patent protection, monetisation and enforcement service that resonates with clients of all stripes. Shanghai partner Helen Cheng has been at the forefront of many of the group's most notable contentious wins. Utilising her biochemistry background to full effect, she has recently been representing Huntsman Advanced Materials in an infringement case which is both complicated from an evidentiary and legal perspective and high value – with Rmb231 million at stake. Adept at portfolio development, she is also handling the domestic and PCT applications of Abbott Laboratories. Quality strategic and commercial legal representation, matched by a resolute focus on client care, sets Zhongzi Law Office apart in the competitive Chinese market. Intellectual property is a central plank of its full-service offering; its substantial and technically accomplished patent team – fully proficient in English, Japanese, French and German – knows the ingredients which make for a great patent. Equally, the Zhongzi litigation squad has an instinctive feel for the diverse components of compelling courtroom presentations. First among equals is Bonan Lin, a dual prosecutor and litigator with a background in chemical engineering. The author of a seven-volume treatise on Chinese patent law – and an accomplished international speaker – he knows the ins and outs of the system in China and keeps his finger on the pulse of global IP developments. Hailing from the electrical engineering world is Xiaoguang Yang; he undertakes both procurement and enforcement, like colleague Lin, and adds a healthy blend of licensing and transactional expertise to the mix. Consistently setting precedents in the courtroom, ZY Partners packs a mighty punch in patent litigation. It is a preferred option for blue-chip rights holders and top-tier foreign associates seeking first-class representation in China, and as such moves into the IAM Patent 1000 gold band for litigation this year. Comprehensive antitrust and regulatory expertise further diversifies the firm’s offering. Extensive extracurricular activities – including government lobbying and legislative consulting – put the firm at the vanguard of efforts to strengthen China’s IP system for the benefit of innovators worldwide. Hui Zhang has judicial experience, solid technical credentials and a stint at an international law firm on her résumé, which informs her highly cultivated, worldly perspective on IP affairs. Defending US technology companies and European pharmaceutical players has been high on her agenda recently. Xiaolin Huang’s patent practice is all encompassing, but he is chiefly known for his rich prosecution and portfolio management know-how. He is au fait with everything that comes under the high-technology umbrella.

Individuals: prosecution

Xiaolin Dang - Beijing Sanyou Intellectual Property Agency Ltd
Amy Feng - Wu Feng & Zhang
David Huang - LexField Law Offices
Xiaolin Huang - ZY Partners
Jiancheng Jiang - WAN HUI DA
Deshan Li - Unitalen Attorneys at Law
Heather Lin - NTD Intellectual Property Attorneys
Chuanhong Long - CCPIT Patent & Trademark Law Office
Tina Tai - China Patent Agent (HK) Ltd
Dragon Wang - Beijing East IP Ltd
June Wang - NTD Intellectual Property Attorneys
Maohua Wang - King & Wood Mallesons
Xiangling Zeng - China Patent Agent (HK) Ltd
Beibing Gary Zhang - China Sinda Intellectual Property Ltd
Xia Zheng - AFD China Intellectual Property Law Office

Individuals: litigation and transactions

Highly recommended
Wenping Chen - King & Wood Mallesons
Gordon Gao - Fangda Partners
Hongyi Jiang - LexField Law Offices
Zhongsheng Li - King & Wood Mallesons
Bonan Lin - Zhongzi Law Office
Christopher Shaowei - NTD Intellectual Property Attorneys
Yuhe Wu - China Patent Agent (HK) Ltd
Hui Zhang - ZY Partners
Helen Cheng - Zhong Lun Law Firm
Wei Dong - PC & Associates
Jing He - AnJie Law Firm
Richard Liu - LexField Law Offices
Allen F Tao - Liu Shen & Associates
David Tian - An Tian Zhang & Partners
Guanbin Xie - Lifang & Partners
Yanfeng Xiong - China Patent Agent (HK) Ltd
William Yang - Panawell & Partners LLC
Xiaoguang Yang - Zhongzi Law Office
Samson Gang Yu - Kangxin Partners PC
Beibing Gary Zhang - China Sinda Intellectual Property Ltd
Nongfan Zhu - King & Wood Mallesons

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Issue 89