China: Domestic

Intellectual property is high on the Chinese government’s policy agenda – not just because innovation is widely seen as key to lifting the country out of the middle-income trap, but also because IP protection is one of the most hotly contested subjects in the US-China trade war. Chinese President Xi Jinping has consistently displayed a robust rhetorical commitment to bolstering IP rights protection in the country, and recent initiatives at various levels of the Chinese bureaucracy seem to reflect this resolve. In October 2018 the National People’s Congress’s Standing Committee decided to set up an IP tribunal within the Supreme People’s Court to hear appeals of patent and technology cases handled by the Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou IP courts. Although the Chinese authorities’ proposed US-style drug regulatory patent linkage system has been shelved for now, the ongoing streamlining and reorganisation of official bodies promise to cut down on red tape and reduce administrative costs for rights holders. The former State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) has become the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA); now supervised by the Administration of Market Supervision and Administration (rather than directly by the State Council, as before), it centrally manages all forms of intellectual property except copyright. Further patent law amendments – set to raise the statutory damages limit for patent infringement to Rmb5 million and extend the protection period of design patents to 15 years – are relatively close to coming into force, with the State Council having approved them in January 2019. The other topic of note has been the continued expansion of foreign firms, which are keen to gain a foothold in the fast-growing market despite regulations restricting the practice of Chinese law by non-Chinese citizens. The highly experienced – though often small – teams they bring are fast becoming embedded in almost all sectors of the country’s IP scene. There are myriad routes to expansion: some outfits have established partnerships with local firms, while others have chosen to merge with their Chinese counterparts, and a few have bitten the bullet and established offices from scratch across the country. Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou are the three hottest destinations, but US firms seeking a new growth frontier have been notably keen on Shenzhen of late.

Advance China IP Law Office 

An effusive wave of client feedback propels patent all-rounder Advance China IP Law Office – “south China’s most prolific IP firm” – into the IAM Patent 1000 listings this year. The Guangzhou-headquartered ensemble “possesses an unparalleled knowledge of the Pearl River Delta region” and many more areas besides. Divided into electronics/software, chemistry/life science and mechanical practice groups, its national and international offices employ some 430 patent attorneys and engineers. The group’s ability to work adroitly in English, German, French, Japanese and Korean – coupled with its “consistently good-quality Chinese translations” – is a tremendous boon to international rights holders. In the words of one patron, “the skilled attorneys at the firm have a great command of Japanese and have become indispensable partners for us in Guangzhou”. The outfit’s professionality is also widely feted. “It takes a responsive, time-efficient and no-nonsense approach to patent work and can be relied on to execute complex and urgent assignments with alacrity. With a laser focus on delivering quality work, it is also truly invested in identifying and overcoming clients’ challenges. The firm’s exemplary knowledge of Chinese legislation and practice is delivered in a responsive, succinct manner on the phone and in writing; it also helps that all this comes with a reasonable price tag.” Chong He and Minhui Zeng are two of the set’s most sought-after attorneys. Based in Shanghai, mechanical and electrical engineer He heads up the international patent department with verve. “He has a superb understanding of the Chinese IP system and the commercial priorities of Western enterprises,” states one respondent. Over in Guangzhou, Zeng leads the firm’s mechanical group. Market sources highlight the Guangdong Patent Agency Association vice president’s special knack for “coming up with well-considered office action strategies”.

AFD China Intellectual Property Law Office 

AFD China is the world’s single largest filer of Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) applications, having published 3,256 applications in the year 2016-2017 according to WIPO’s 2018 PCT Yearly Report. “The firm covers a wide range of technical fields – from biochemical to mechanical – at reasonable rates.” Under the inspired leadership of founder and president Xia Zheng, herself “an emblem of professionalism, pragmatism and proactivity”, the group has been growing at an impressive rate. Two senior patent examiners, each with over a decade’s experience of patent examination, recently joined the firm – taking its total number of non-contentious patent practitioners to 150. Awe-inspiring statistics aside, AFD China consistently receives client feedback that testifies to the outfit’s steadfast commitment to outstanding personal service. It is “a responsive Chinese law firm able to meet tough client demands”, which should be on any serious rights holder’s list.

An, Tian, Zhang & Partners 

An, Tian, Zhang & Partners’ strong reputation for IP enforcement and litigation is built on sterling service standards and a results-oriented approach. One satisfied client was emphatic in their praise. “The firm’s service is excellent – we get exhaustive replies in good time. One key strength is the methodical manner with which it keeps track of individual files, while another is the collaborative culture that trumps many Chinese firms. We receive top-notch advice that begets a high success rate.” Notable patrons include pharmaceutical giant Gilead Sciences Inc, which recently enlisted David Tian’s assistance in defending its blockbuster HIV treatment, Viread. Tian is described as “immensely knowledgeable” – a verdict backed up by his illustrious and extensive track record of enforcing copyrights and patent, trademark, unfair competition and domain name rights.

AnJie Law Firm

The crème de la crème of the global telecoms and pharmaceutical players routinely entrust AnJie Law Firm with their highest-stakes courtroom briefs, which should give some measure of the quality its practitioners are known to possess. The ambitious outfit has evolved from a two-person practice to a 50-strong team in only six years – and continues to expand, with four leading former IP judges joining the partnership in May 2017 to provide clients with even more erudite insights into complex Chinese patent litigation. Senior consultant and physics graduate Jing He is a Chinese patent attorney and attorney at law with a California Bar certification to boot. “He combines strong first-hand litigation experience with a robust commercial outlook,” in the words of one market source.

Beijing East IP Ltd

Last year, Beijing East IP processed close to 600 outbound and 3,000 inbound patent applications on behalf of its illustrious stable of automotive and electronics patrons. In addition to its Beijing head office, the prosecution outfit’s representative offices in London, Tokyo and Silicon Valley provide enable clients to speak face to face with the firm on three continents. European clients can also receive counsel on commercial law, in addition to their IP matters, by virtue of Beijing East’s partnership with the United Kingdom’s GW & Partners. Vice president Guorong Li is a name that should be firmly etched into the address book of any serious rights holder.

Beijing Sanyou Intellectual Property Agency Ltd 

Three decades after its initial establishment, the country’s first private patent attorney firm continues to go from strength to strength. Beijing Sanyou has grown by 10% in the past year, largely due to an increase in foreign patrons – which now account for roughly one-half of the firm’s total client base. The agency successfully covers the full spectrum of technical matters, particularly standing out for its electronics prowess. In addition to numbering global giants such as LG Chem Ltd and Panasonic Corporation among the firm’s most ardent supporters, Chinese companies of all sizes have been attracted by its crystalline filing capabilities. Partner Xiaolin Dang leads by example. The Chinese patent attorney and US and Chinese attorney at law has an extremely nuanced understanding of the law in both jurisdictions, which places him in pole position to advise clients in either country on the best way to proceed. He often takes the time to visit European business associates and stays abreast of the latest developments in London, Munich and Paris.

CCPIT Patent & Trademark Law Office 

CCPIT Patent & Trademark Law Office gathers plaudits from across the Chinese IP market. “Firmly focused on compliance, with established work processes and superior service quality,” it is “an enormous firm that somehow manages to stay super responsive to client correspondence while constantly securing sound results”. In addition to its domestic offices in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, the outfit’s bureaux in New York, Tokyo, Munich and Madrid provide multinationals with immense ease of access to its huge collection of patent attorneys and attorneys at law. Vice president Chuanhong Long is a materials science whizz and eminent strategist whose industry standing is highlighted by his vice presidency of the Chinese groups of the International Association for the Protection of Intellectual Property and the Federation of Intellectual Property Attorneys.

Chang Tsi & Partners 

IP agency Chang Tsi & Partners complements its sterling trademark practice with an outstanding patent offering, thereby providing clients with a potent one-stop IP service. Market sources are quick to praise the firm for its technical quality, communication and relationship building. “The work it produces is superb and always delivered in good time ahead of deadlines. Its patent attorneys clearly show clients a feasible way forward and invest time and energy into building personal relationships.” Over the past year, the outfit has been busy unifying work processes across its patent and trademark departments, with the aim of driving up cost effectiveness and quality control. Meanwhile, the addition of new practitioners – including patent department head Hailong Sun, SEP expert Michael Wu and Tsinghua University law professor Jianmin Chen – has enhanced Chang Tsi’s technical and legal prowess on both sides of the contentious divide. A Beijing Sanyou and JunHe alumnus with over 20 years’ experience drafting patents for leading multinational concerns, Sun is responsible for the patent portfolios of some marquee names, including Air China and Baidu. Wu leads a specialised team dedicated to drafting and prosecuting 5G patents for a leading global telecoms firm, in addition to running multiple patent litigations in the electronics and technology, media and telecoms fields. His experience gained in-house in the mobile telecoms industry is a major draw for patrons.

China Patent Agent (HK) Ltd 

Bean-to-cup offering China Patent Agent stands out from the crowd due to its illustrious history and its attorneys’ “creativity, dedication and awe-inspiring level of performance”. In the words of one patron, “great IP counsel in China is not easy to come by, as it is often hard to have a one-to-one conversation with the people working on the files, but China Patent Agent attorneys are different: easily accessible and always happy to give a straight answer”. The depth of expertise on offer at the practice is tremendous, with 220 patent attorneys and 75 lawyers stationed at the firm’s seven domestic and global offices. Yuhe Wu is a pharmaceutical doyen who straddles the contentious divide with verve; he serves as vice chair of the Beijing Patent Attorneys Association. A “pillar of the firm’s litigation team”, Yanfeng Xiong epitomises its “detail-oriented and innovative approach to problem solving”. “Possessing knowledge of every tool in the legal toolbox, this personable attorney is a first-rate option for both contentious and non-contentious patent work in China.” He has been incredibly busy representing Dutch telecoms company KPN in five SEP litigations, among myriad other instructions. Xiangling Zeng and newly ranked Shaohui Yuan are also highly coveted practitioners. They are both prosecution mavens with a gift for drafting watertight patent applications in the engineering space.

China Science Patent & Trademark Agent Ltd

Savvy foreign associates view China Science Patent & Trademark Agent as an eminently dependable option for patent prosecution in the country. Why? In addition to its proud history and close links with the China Academy of Sciences, the firm is packed to the rafters with prodigious minds. Over 20% of its 160 patent attorneys have PhDs, 80% have master’s degrees and over one-third have industry R&D experience. President and chairperson of the board Liyan Zhang is a key contact.

China Sinda Intellectual Property Ltd 

China Sinda is a patent prosecution powerhouse that can adapt to any IP conundrum, distinguished by its high degree of dependability and large scale of operations. With a carefully crafted overseas network that includes offices in Washington DC, Tokyo, Munich, Singapore and Hong Kong, foreign clients can rely on the firm’s 200-plus attorneys – who are collectively proficient in English, Japanese, German and Korean – for their every patent need. Armed with a JD and a PhD in chemical engineering, Beibing Gary Zhang utilises knowledge and experience gained practising in the United States and China to offer finely balanced advice that is easily understood by foreign associates.

DEQI Intellectual Property Law Corporation

Located near Beijing’s Zhongguancun technology hub and the CNIPA, DEQI Intellectual Property Law Corporation is the former state-owned Patent Service Center of the Ministry of Information Industry. A stalwart in the patent prosecution space since the promulgation of the Patent Law in 1984, it is now a private outfit with a modern, cutting-edge approach to patent protection. The firm’s work process management and quality control mechanisms are well honed – a fact that is largely a result of chair Zhiqiang Song’s leadership efforts. He is the initial point of contact for interested parties.

Fangda Partners

Fangda Partners has risen to the gold tier of this year’s IAM Patent 1000 Chinese litigation rankings. The US-style full-service law firm is Apple’s principal provider of contentious patent services in China, having previously represented the telecoms giant in design infringement, anti-monopoly and FRAND briefs. The group also does a fantastic line in high-stakes pharmaceutical battles, recently acting for Astellas Pharma against 10 Chinese generic drug companies seeking a grand total of Rmb180 million in compensation. The “extremely passionate and responsible” Alexandra (Pu) Yang is one of the country’s most formidable patent litigators; her “fierce and proactive advocacy style” wins accolades from clients and fellow practitioners alike. She is Fangda’s chief client draw. “Her extraordinary representation is akin to what one would expect of a US firm: timely, crystal-clear communication delivered in perfect English that provides clients with accurate expectations about the case schedule. The teams she develops always create and execute winning legal strategies that yield outstanding results. Financially, she has a knack for staying within budgets through diligent preparation of monthly and quarterly budgets.” Her colleague Gordon Gao is a Stanford PhD graduate who is admitted to the California Bar. His expertise in delivering outstanding case strategy is second to none.

Han Kun Law Offices

Han Kun Law Offices has undergone substantial growth this year, adding a strong and experienced patent prosecution team to its already renowned litigation and invalidation practice. The 15-year old firm has 40-plus practitioners stationed in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen, many of whom possess experience gained at other top outfits including CCPIT, Fangda Partners, Liu Shen & Associates and King & Wood Mallesons. In China, the firm is known primarily for its patent litigation work on behalf of one of the world’s most valuable technology companies, but it is also trusted with some other high-level briefs by the likes of printer manufacturer HP and others. Yan Wang and Rui Luo are the names to note. A Weil, Gotshal & Manges and Morrison & Foerster alumnus and former Broadcom senior counsel in the United States, Wang is known as a “superb” patent litigator. His partner Luo is a “diligent and excellent” attorney whose former clients include Nokia, Philips and Sony. Crack patent attorney and litigator Lili Wu recently joined the firm – along with her core team of 10 patent attorneys – from CCPIT, where she spent the best part of 21 years managing the portfolios of well-known international conglomerates and polishing her skills.

Kangxin Partners PC

Kangxin Partners is well known in China and abroad for its sparkling patent drafting, filing and strategy. Showboating fully ISO 9001-compliant internal case management systems, the firm celebrates its 25th anniversary this year with outstanding results. Kangxin enjoys a phenomenal prosecution success rate, with over 90% of its patent applications accepted, and  was the world’s fourth highest filer of PCT applications in 2016, according to recent figures. The outfit has stellar expertise in the chemistry, life sciences, electronics and mechanics fields. Managing partner Samson Gang Yu is a renowned electrical engineer with experience gained in Germany and Silicon Valley; naturally, he is a firm favourite among Fortune 500 companies. Head of the legal department Gary Wu is a force to be reckoned with and adept at engineering litigation of all hues.

King & Wood Mallesons 

“King & Wood Mallesons is a well-oiled machine that excels in strategy formation, technical dexterity, responsiveness and team management.” The legal giant enjoys a packed house of technically gifted strategists, all of whom are at the very top of their game. As lead partner of the China IP Group, Maohua Wang helms the firm’s 130 patent professionals. He is the first port of call for a host of top Chinese and foreign technology companies, including industry giant Microsoft. Responsible for the bilingual drafting of over half of the company’s Chinese patent applications in commercially important areas, including AI and cloud computing, he is also a forced to be reckoned with in contentious settings due to his “robust working knowledge of SEP and FRAND issues”. Market sources describe Wenping Chen as a “highly dependable and hands-on” attorney whose astute understanding of the pharmaceuticals market and the Chinese legal system garners great courtroom results. As the former director general of an IP tribunal in Shenzhen, Zhongsheng Li is an established all-rounder in civil and administrative patent disputes. US-qualified lawyer Nongfan Zhu’s cross-cultural competence and innate ability to engage with, relate to and satisfy the needs of clients are widely admired among his peers. Newly minted in the guide is Zhenhua (Ben) Ni, who epitomises many of the firm’s signature traits. In the words of one impressed client, “he meshes technical knowledge with strategic insights – planning, managing and coordinating cases in a coherent, effective and timely manner to yield superior results in the courtroom”. Dual-qualified Tina Tai arrived at the firm’s Beijing office in January 2019. She is a favourite among multinational pharmaceutical companies, thanks to her ability to prosecute and litigate the most commercially important patents without error.

LexField Law Offices 

LexField is known as “a front runner” in the Chinese patent litigation landscape. The firm has been entrusted with a sizable caseload of SEP negotiations and litigations, for which it has been recruiting heavily – with former director of intellectual property at ZTE Corporation Qishan Zhao coming aboard to provide additional support on these hotly contested issues. The outfit’s contentious department is spearheaded by “first-rate” litigator Hongyi Jiang. He made waves in December 2018 when his team won a preliminary injunction for Qualcomm against Apple before the Fuzhou Intermediate People’s Court, which banned the sale and import of certain iPhone models. He is highly adept at handling patent invalidation and infringement litigations, while pharmaceutical briefs are his strongest suit. His partner David Huang leads the prosecution side of the practice, which has seen a marked increase of late in the number of premium clients from China and Japan interested in Lexfield’s patent drafting and mining services. Huang is a client’s dream; easy to communicate with, he is an ever-reliable filer who thrives under the pressure of an impending courtroom battle.

Lifang & Partners

The “highly experienced and dependable” Lifang & Partners is enjoying a red-letter year in 2019, rising to the IAM Patent 1000’s silver litigation tier and breaking into the prosecution rankings table for the first time. The firm is expanding rapidly, having opened new offices in Shanghai and Seoul in addition to its antitrust and compliance department. On top of this, the group has recruited seven new partners, bringing its total number of patent attorneys to more than 150. On the contentious front, a plethora of patent infringement and invalidation matters are in full swing, notably on behalf of Samsung Sogou and Qihoo 360. Guanbin Xie founded the firm in 2012; his is a familiar face in high-profile patent and trademark disputes. New to the guide this year, Yuanyuan Zhang is an electronics maven who has spent significant time honing her skills at the Patent Re-examination Board (PRB) and CNIPA substantive examination department. She has a granular understanding of validity issues, having previously chaired a CNIPA panel tasked with deciding on invalidity cases. Another newcomer to the guide, Korean speaker Haidong Yu has been occupied by a host of important technology, media and telecoms litigations of late. Both Zhang and Yu are proficient and accomplished drafters to boot.

Linda Liu & Partners 

Glowing market feedback propels Linda Liu & Partners to the highly recommended tier for patent prosecution this year. “Any foreign client would be happy with the firm’s timely and personalised communication, top-notch technical and legal advice, dedication to clients’ interests and attention to detail – these invaluable traits clearly set Linda Liu apart.” As a result of its quality, a substantial number of files and portfolios have been transferred to the patent attorney outfit from its competitors, while its Chinese and Japanese client base is also steadily expanding. Peter Zhang, Nancy Song and Junping Yan are three of the firm’s most notable client magnets on the non-contentious side. As a former CNIPA and PRB examiner, Zhang – who manages Linda Liu’s domestic department – has a knack for drawing out technical details and conducting thorough analyses before producing crystal-clear judgements. Song recently returned to China after receiving her LLM in the United States. The former MediaTek patent counsel is now a junior partner at the helm of the electrical engineering department. Yan is a Tsinghua University PhD graduate who never fails to impress her European associates. “Shuffling Chinese patent applications along without a hitch, she comprehensively and intelligently advises clients by refining the proposed strategy to Chinese requirements. She also has a great track record of winning challenging re-examination cases.” On the contentious front, attorney at law Sai Chen is flying high. She recently won Rmb3.2 million in damages – the highest for a design case before the Beijing courts – on behalf of a major consumer electronics company.

Liu Shen & Associates 

Providing patrons with unparalleled technical breadth and quality, the 62 partners and 200 patent attorneys at Liu Shen & Associates are especially renowned for their representation of clients in the telecoms and pharmaceutical fields. Although overseas clients still account for most of the firm’s client base, its stable of Chinese clients – including BOE Technology Group, Lenovo and Tencent – is steadily growing. The firm boasts plenty of contentious firepower, which dovetails nicely with its deep bench of technical prowess to provide a one-stop shop that can lift the stress from rights holders’ shoulders. Managing partner Allen Tao has been extremely busy of late, representing Samsung in a patent infringement clash with Huawei. He is an unfailing source of timely, practical and detail-oriented solutions to suit the whole spectrum of patent problems. Jun Qiu has a refined understanding of how to leverage patent litigation proceedings in order to best achieve his clients’ financial goals; unsurprisingly, he is a practitioner in demand.

Lung Tin Intellectual Property Agent Ltd 

“Great workmanship and superior service” are at the heart of Lung Tin Intellectual Property’s highly respected offering. One of the first private IP agencies licensed to practise in China, the outfit thrives internationally – with its integrated network of seven offices in China, Japan and the United States handling instructions in English, Japanese, Korean, French and German. Founder and president Taikeung Cheng is the name to remember for prospective patrons.

NTD Intellectual Property Attorneys 

NTD Intellectual Property Attorneys taps into its deep well of technical expertise to offer clients tailored advice at all points in the patent lifecycle. Organised into mechanics, electronics and biochemistry groups, an army of 158 patent attorneys conducts more than 8,000 new filings and 13,000 office actions every year, with the aid of state-of-the-art case management systems designed in-house by June Wang. She is an applied physics buff with a stellar track record of representing high-profile technology concerns in patent invalidation and infringement suits. Meanwhile, Heather Lin is a biotech maven who has spent over 20 years advising start-ups and multinational companies alike on their portfolio management. A former scientist, she has a knack for forming extremely productive working relationships with investors. Last but not least, the Licensing Executives Society’s Chinese vice president Christopher Shaowei remains a top-notch litigator and patent attorney with a truly comprehensive IP practice.

Panawell & Partners, LLC 

Panawell & Partners is a first-rate IP agency, whose deep bench of technical talent has been a source of reliable and cost-effective patent solutions for more than 15 years. Having started off as an agent primarily servicing the country’s tertiary sector – in particular, the Chinese Academy of Sciences – it has since expanded to assist an illustrious private client base including the Eaton Corporation and Kimberly-Clark. Partner William Yang is the former deputy director of China Patent Agent’s legal affairs department. He has built up a treasure trove of experience in running patent litigations for multinational concerns.

Shangcheng & Partners 

Despite being a mere decade old, Shangcheng & Partners has made a strong impression on the Chinese IP scene. The Beijing, Shanghai and Tokyo-quartered firm has a tight-knit team of 60 professional employees, of whom close to 90% possess a master’s or PhD in their chosen technical field and 40% have studied or worked abroad. Blessed with this all-star line-up, the ensemble commands a 90% winning rate when acting on behalf of petitioners in patent invalidation proceedings and an 87% success rate in patent litigation proceedings. President Chun Long is the gateway to the firm for many clients.

Shanghai Patent & Trademark Law Office LLC

“One of the trailblazers in Chinese intellectual property, Shanghai Patent & Trademark Law Office is a dependable and famous outfit for IP work. It is a state-owned company that has won the trust of a truly illustrious client base.” Patent attorney and litigator Zheng Fan is the first port of call for interested rights holders.

Unitalen Attorneys at Law 

Unitalen has a ubiquitous presence in Greater China, where it operates from a remarkable 22 offices in addition to its three overseas locations in Japan, Germany and the United States. The firm’s stable of 236 patent attorneys has an extremely broad technical scope and can prosecute patents with ease in areas ranging from biotechnology to telecoms and semiconductor patents. *Au fait* with prosecution procedures in China and other countries, it handles more than 8,000 applications per annum. Unitalen also possesses robust contentious capabilities, with attorneys at law including Deshan Li stationed in its many offices. Li is a physics maven who holds a PhD from Frankfurt University; the firm’s chief vice president provides an ideal doorway to China for many would-be international filers and litigants.

Wanhuida Peksung IP Group 

The dust has settled at Wanhuida Peksung after a successful 2016 merger resulted in a firm whose combined team of some 90 patent attorneys, 50 patent engineers, 100 litigators and 30 investigators is now housed in Beijing’s picturesque Friendship Hotel. Not only did the merger maintain the outfit’s client base, but its volume of work has actually increased to the extent that two senior associates – Ning Zheng and Yuan Wang – have been elevated to partner, while a new Hangzhou office has opened for business. With its unwavering emphasis on professionalism, “the firm’s provision of proactive advice to clients makes it stand out from the crowd”. Having already attained a critical mass of technical expertise, the firm recently invested in upgrading case management systems and overhauling its quality control mechanisms to ensure that quality advice is supported by smooth internal processes. In her 30 years at the IP coalface, Xiaoling Duan has served as deputy director of a CNIPA examination division and as leader of China Patent Agent’s biochemistry group. As a result, she knows everything there is to know about crafting watertight applications. Jiancheng Jiang comes highly recommended for his sterling prosecution work, freedom-to-operate analyses and post-grant procedural nous. “Jiang is a cosmopolitan attorney who not only possesses intimate knowledge of the EPO, but also understands the European way of conducting business and arguments. His superb communication skills and outstanding English language skills enable him to be perennially frank, so clients’ expectations are always well managed. Ever dependable for great results, he goes out of his way to make himself available for client enquiries too.” The set is equally impressive on the contentious front, having handled more than 100 patent litigations in the past year. “Top-calibre litigators and IAM Patent 1000 inductees S Sam Li and Tiejun Tang are undoubtedly the first choice for pharmaceutical patent invalidation proceedings. Clients evaluate Li extremely highly – he blends great courtroom performance with an innate ability to build a rapport with them.” Tang, on the other hand, is “peerless when it comes to biochemistry inventions”. She has insight on the most complex legal issues in this technical sphere, which is why her counsel is highly sought after by global pharmaceutical players.

Watson & Band Law Offices

Shanghai-headquartered Watson & Band Law Offices is a full-service offering with truly impressive patent invalidation expertise. Renowned as a “prominent presence”, the firm benefits from an extensive network of offices in cities that are relatively untouched by larger Chinese IP powerhouses. The Watson & Band network already includes offices in Beijing, Hong Kong, Harbin, Gansu and Yantai, as well as a recently opened office in Suzhou. Moreover, new Zhengzhou and Chizhou offices are in the works. Managing partner Frank Qian is a key contact.

Zhong Lun Law Firm

Full-service outfit Zhong Lun Law Firm celebrated its 25th anniversary last year. Its 15 offices spread across China, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States place the firm at the disposal of domestic and multinational companies alike, who are increasingly drawn to the group’s outstanding patent litigation and transactional offering. In Shanghai, the “no-nonsense” Helen Cheng has earned an unmistakable reputation as a discerning choice for pharmaceutical briefs. Her colleague, Qingdao partner Fanglong Sun, has studied international commercial law across many EU states. He is a globally minded practitioner with superb credentials.

Zhongzi Law Office 

“Zhongzi Law Office has a bustling prosecution practice, which is complemented by the presence of some truly top-notch litigators.” Managing partner Bonan Lin is a “superb operator”, his advocacy in contentious proceedings and attention to detail at the drafting desk make him a top choice for clients seeking the very best. Also dual-qualified, Xiaoguang Yang is “a highly experienced attorney warmly regarded in the industry for his approachable style and top-quality counsel”. Biotech and chemistry briefs are Lin’s domain, while electronics cases are Yang’s happiest hunting ground.

ZY Partners 

ZY Partners remains a discerning choice for the results-oriented rights holder. Adding yet another feather to its cap, it recently succeeded in representing Apple Electronics Products Commerce (Beijing) against a patent infringement suit brought by a Chinese individual. This is on top of its work on behalf of HTC Corporation, for whom it has triumphed in several recent patent invalidation cases before the PRB. Prosecution practice leader Xiaolin (Richard) Huang has more than 13,000 patent applications to his name – and is a ferocious litigator to boot.

Other recommended experts

Managing partner of PC & Associates Wei Dong stands out for his “thorough understanding of complex arguments and spectacular courtroom performances”. Wu, Feng & Zhang’s founder and managing partner Amy Feng is an entrepreneurial patent attorney renowned for being “exceptionally adept with life science patents and their invalidation proceedings”. Leader IP’s founder Fang Liu breaks into the IAM Patent 1000 this year on the back of her stunning high-tech courtroom performances. Her Beijing-based firm is rapidly “gaining prominence for its role in crucial recent telecoms matters”. Zhaolin (Johnson) Wang of JunHe is not only an electronics and mechanical engineering whizz, but also a truly versatile operator in the patent space.

Individuals: litigation

Individuals: prosecution