China: Domestic

The US-China trade war took a backseat in the first few months of 2020 as covid-19 began to ravage the world from its epicentre in Wuhan, China. While the full impact of the outbreak will not be known for some time yet, the IP world is watching with bated breath as companies seek patent protection for vaccines designed to control the pandemic. During this trying time, Wang Binying lost out to Singaporean Daren Tang for the role of the director general of WIPO. Nonetheless, China remains a pivotal player in the global IP landscape. In 2018 the China National IP Administration (CNIPA) received a record 1.54 million patent filings, accounting for nearly half of the total worldwide. Although it received 9% fewer invention patent applications in 2019, Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) applications grew by 9%, while the financing amount of patent pledge projects reached Rmb110.5 billion – an increase of 25%. Slower patent filing by domestic companies was expected as the government had been reducing subsidy programmes and increasing scrutiny to stop them becoming too lucrative. It has also relaxed regulations on patent attorneys and agents, so the country is set for a growing patent talent pool. This is already reflected in the IAM Patent 1000; this year’s chapter welcomes an all-time high of 33 leading patent individuals and 10 firms. Even though Beijing remains the traditional hub for patent work, often-overlooked Guangzhou is gaining ground, while Shanghai-based law firms are joining the patent market – we added two firms headquartered in each region.

Firms: transactions

Advance China IP Law Office 

A favourite among foreign associates around the world, Advance China IP Law Office makes its sophomore appearance in the IAM Patent 1000. “A rising star” headquartered in Guangzhou, the patent firm had much to celebrate as it marked its 20th anniversary in 2019 – alongside a new committee of experts to analyse global IP developments, it launched a self-developed online IP case management system and a set of improved quality control protocols. It also boasts a massive “professional, dedicated and responsive” team of 414 patent attorneys and engineers, on hand to provide “high-quality patent prosecution”, “good-quality Chinese translations” and “strategic and practical advice” at “an affordable price”. A happy patron expounds: “The firm is strongly aware of the need for direct interaction and the personal touch for commercially sensitive cases. It has a strong grasp on a wide range of technologies and an excellent understanding of the commercial and legal considerations of obtaining and enforcing intellectual property in China. Its international reputation is well deserved.” Another continues: “They are a perfect combination of tailor-made services and a human touch in professional activities.” Since it began to develop its litigation practice in 2007, the side now assists clients with patent transactions to help them achieve their business goals. Buoyed by enthusiastic praise from foreign associates, Chong He rises to the highly recommended tier of the prosecution table for individuals. “A great patent attorney with a deep understanding of the Chinese patent system, he is always responsive and provides advice whenever needed.” “Mr He is a brilliant attorney with impeccable experience in patent counselling, drafting and prosecution. He is always open to the client’s needs and ready to offer personalised services. he is among the best in local practice, truly efficient, trustworthy and a great man. It’s been a pleasure and honour working with him.” He is joined by Wenwen Wang, who takes her first bow in the IAM Patent 1000 on the back of fervent praise from foreign associates. “As Wenwen is very responsive and her quality of work is very high, we can rely on her fully.” Minhui Zeng takes the lead on the contentious front. “A great, very experienced and skilful patent litigator,” Zeng is involved in patent infringement and invalidation matters for foreign companies. “He has a smart sense of business when providing practical suggestions and advice to clients.”

AFD China Intellectual Property Law Office 

Glowing reviews from foreign associates are testament to AFD China Intellectual Property Law Office’s meteoric rise across the Chinese patent market in less than two decades. “Efficient, clear, cost-sensitive and responsive,” the firm enjoys a stellar reputation for its drafting and filing capabilities and was the external representative appointed in the largest number of PCT applications worldwide in 2018. “For many years now, AFD has been our number one, go-to firm in China for patent work, mainly because of the fantastic level of service and superb legal advice. They act as very high-quality attorneys for us, putting forth to our client the best way to proceed both technically and commercially. Many other firms we’ve experienced in China only act as agents who simply translate and report, without providing any additional advice. We award AFD five out of five stars!” “What really sets AFD apart is the speed and detail of response. We have had cases whereby after receiving an email overnight from them, we ask questions in the morning and still get a reply.” “We’ve had an IP counsel from a major client remark that the work quality was the best she’d ever seen coming out of China.” Founder Xia Zheng is the mastermind behind the outfit’s success. “Zheng is always a very reliable, extremely responsible and extraordinarily competent and knowledgeable partner. She always gives legally and economically sound and profound advice, so that everything we want to know is accounted for. It goes without saying that her English is flawless.”

AN, TIAN, ZHANG & PARTNERS 

AN, TIAN, ZHANG & PARTNERS enjoys a superb reputation among foreign associates as a one-stop shop for patent services: “Responsive and attuned to the issues, they work seamlessly like an extension of my own team.” “Aside from their expertise in IP laws, I appreciate their prompt replies and willingness to go the extra mile. They are also very good at explaining how China works for foreign clients.” With in-house investigation capabilities, five patent lawyers and experienced managing partner David Tian taking the wheel, the IP boutique quickly resolves patent disputes involving foreign companies. For instance, Tian represented Sysmex Corporation in a patent infringement suit against Citotest Labware Manufacturing.

AnJie Law Firm 

Through three teams led by senior IP lawyers Jing He, Qinghui (Nick) Liu and Wu Li, AnJie Law Firm resolves all sorts of IP disputes. With four former IP judges to enhance the group’s expertise, as well as an in-house investigations team experienced in medical devices matters, the firm provides well-rounded advice to Fortune 500 companies seeking to protect their intellectual property in China and around the world. Aside from a prolific contentious practice, the prosecution team is experiencing an uptick in drafting and filing matters – it has begun to file PCT applications for Sinopec Group. Clients have much praise for the outfit: “I’ve been absolutely happy working with AnJie. It has an unmatched understanding of the dynamics in the industry, as well as a good network of contacts and great attorneys possessing a high level of experience. It takes their can-do attitude to find creative approaches to a wide range of legal problems.” “Lawyers there work very hard with uncompromised deep consideration for cases to achieve good results.” A familiar face at the Supreme People’s Court, He devotes his time entirely to IP disputes, especially those in the semiconductor and telecoms space. After spending 10 years as a judge at the Beijing High People’s Court adjudicating over 2,000 IP matters, IAM Patent 1000 debutant Liu returns to the courtroom as an attorney at law, representing the likes of Qualcomm and AstraZeneca in patent infringement matters.

Beijing East IP Ltd

“Through a group of excellent patent professionals, Beijing East IP Ltd always does a great job and achieves favourable results.” “From drafting and filing to analytics and strategy consulting, the firm has helped us with all sorts of patent prosecution work. We are especially impressed by their professionalism and broad associate network worldwide.” With an expanding local base in the Chinese cities of Ji’nan and Ningbo, supported by overseas outposts in London, Silicon Valley and Tokyo, 55 patent attorneys tend to the patent needs of a predominantly foreign clientele, including Intel and Cisco. Simultaneously, the firm enjoys a growing domestic client base, as it has filed more than 700 outbound patent applications for well-known Chinese companies. President Guorong Li is a good first port of call.

Beijing Sanyou Intellectual Property Agency Ltd 

Housing “the best-in-class patent practitioners in China”, Beijing Sanyou Intellectual Property Agency Ltd comes highly endorsed by both clients and foreign associates for its patent prosecution and litigation services. Besides prosecuting patents for the likes of LG Chem, NTT Docomo and Fujifilm Corporation, the first private IP firm in China represented Oerlikon Textile in a patent infringement dispute against Xinchang Lanxiang Machinery Co Ltd. “We believe Sanyou is the right choice for contentious patent matters – it demonstrates insight into legal terms, sound understanding of technical aspects and professionalism, as well as trust and coordinated rhythm.” A foreign associate expounds: “We’ve entrusted them with important patent matters for brand name US clients and they respond with strategic advice on substantive matters, professional quality correspondences, attention to detail, precision in billing and genuine care for our clients’ best interests. They have earned the respect of our attorneys and clients.” Another patron continues: “Not only are they able to handle complex cases and meet the demanding requirements of our clients, they are efficient and produce high-quality responses.” Among the 180 patent attorneys at the firm, Xiaolin Dang stands out for his rich experience in patent drafting, invalidation and re-examinations.

CCPIT Patent & Trademark Law Office 

CCPIT Patent & Trademark Law Office’s reputation remains untouched despite Lili Wu’s departure in 2019 – peers continue to expound the gold-rated patent prosecution powerhouse for its “professional and good-quality work, profound experience and expertise”. Entrusted by the biggest industry leaders and Fortune 100 companies all over the world, the oldest full-service IP law firm in China drafts and files such a high volume of patents that its prolific prosecution practice has become well known and highly respected. On the contentious front, 87 attorneys at law focus their attention on administrative litigation and invalidation cases for the likes of Apple, although lately it is also representing Canon in patent infringement matters. To enhance its already expansive global network staffed by 294 patent and trademark attorneys, a new representative office recently opened in Silicon Valley. Chemistry specialist Chuanhong Long impresses with his patent prosecution and enforcement know-how.

Chang Tsi & Partners 

“Very progressive and forward thinking, Chang Tsi & Partners is a Chinese firm with a global outlook. It provides excellent service and seeks to build very strong personal relationships with counterparts, while making special efforts to present advice using expressions and strategies that practitioners outside China will be familiar with.” “You just know that the work will be done and done well while respecting the framework we have agreed upon.” Aside from these satisfied foreign associates, corporations around the world – including Air China, Baidu and Illinois Tool Works – depend on the IP boutique for their drafting and filing needs. With a newly added Japanese department, more than 50 patent specialists divided into three industry teams ensure that clients’ IP rights are protected. US-based patent team captain Chenyan Wu debuts in the IAM Patent 1000 this year. “Not only is she trustworthy, Chenyan is a perfect combination of technical and legal qualities, responsiveness, flexibility and competitiveness.” Over in Shenzhen, Michael Wu takes charge of contentious matters; he recently represented Innolux Corporation in a patent infringement dispute before the Guangzhou IP Court.

China Patent Agent (HK) Ltd 

“Number one in China for patent matters” and one of the first three IP firms in the country, China Patent Agent (HK) Ltd has built long-term relationships with famous international companies that depend on the side to safeguard their IP rights. Through a “very efficient and reliable portfolio management system”, 230 patent attorneys, 30 patent engineers and 80 attorneys at law provide the full range of contentious and non-contentious patent services, particularly in the telecoms sector. Aside from filing patents for Fortune 500 companies, it is the sole representative of PanOptis in a series of invalidation actions and successfully upheld the validity of a patent held by a Nobel Prize winner. “I truly appreciate their professionalism and dedication to our cases. They are one of the most professional firms we have worked with.” Xiangling Zeng oversees the patent department, where Shaohui Yuan drafts ironclad patents in the engineering field. Over in the contentious practice, Yuhe Wu takes charge of pharmaceutical lawsuits. “A very creative and knowledgeable professional,” Yanfeng Xiong is a favourite of clients all around the world for contentious patent matters. He recently represented Koninklijke KPN NV in a series of high-profile SEP lawsuits against major domestic defendants and succeeded in reversing a number of negative decisions for Ericsson in its patent disputes against Huawei. “Dedicated to his work, Yanfeng has great attention to detail and provides a high-calibre service. We got a winning rate much higher than the industry average rate, thanks to him!”

China Science Patent & Trademark Agent Ltd 

As one of the earliest firms authorised to handle patent cases for foreign applicants, China Science Patent & Trademark Agent Ltd has a long history in the local IP space. It started out as the sole IP agent for the Chinese Academy of Sciences in 1984. Now, it has ballooned into one of the top five patent filers nationwide, housing 160 patent agents – most of whom hold a master’s, while one-fifth have a PhD in a broad spectrum of technical fields. From its branches across the country and scattered around the world, the side proffers all sorts of patent services to a substantial Japanese client base, as well as to domestic and international companies. Endorsed by one satisfied patron, vice president Wei Zhao joins the IAM Patent 1000 this year. “A really talented and professional patent attorney, he is very engaged in our cases and always delivers great quality in drafting and invalidation matters. He also has great insights into Chinese patent laws and proactively suggests new ways of working.”

China Sinda Intellectual Property Ltd 

“A reliable and well-established Chinese patent firm”, China Sinda Intellectual Property Ltd drew significant interest in 2019 after it reportedly attracted private equity investors at a possible valuation of around $300 million, although nothing was realised. One of the key draws of the IP boutique is its multinational reach, as exemplified by multiple offices in China and satellite outposts in Europe, Japan and the United States, which maintain a high level of fluency in foreign languages including Japanese, German and Korean. Trained in chemical engineering and armed with legal experience in the United States, president Beibing Gary Zhang oversees the firm’s robust patent prosecution practice. One foreign associate describes him as “a knowledgeable, experienced and professional attorney and lawyer”.

Co-effort Law Firm LLP 

A new addition to the IAM Patent 1000 this year, Co-effort Law Firm LLP has been making a splash in the IP market. Touted for its “great reputation in the industry, especially for its professional and timely services”, the Shanghai-based general law firm tends to the patent needs of domestic and international companies through a compact team of 22. Former patent examiner Mingjie Zheng has a remarkable track record in the Shanghai IP Court and has been involved in a patent infringement matter on behalf of Hewlett-Packard Development Company. “A very professional, rigorous and patient lawyer, Mingjie draws upon rich IP experience to provide a lot of guidance in patent affairs.”

DEQI Intellectual Property Law Corporation 

Just 500 metres from CNIPA’s main offices stands DEQI Intellectual Property Law Corporation. Since its privatisation in 2001, the formerly state-operated unit continues to provide drafting and filing services in multiple languages, including English, Japanese, Korean and German. Its time-tested workflow management further ensures that every piece produced is of high quality and meets its clients’ needs.

Fangda Partners

The top choice for the biggest and most complex patent disputes, Fangda Partners is highly sought after by major Western companies in search of US-style litigation in the convoluted Chinese IP landscape. Operated by more than 70 top-tier attorneys dedicated to patent disputes – over half of whom specialise in the telecoms sector – the law firm boasts the largest patent litigation team in the country. Supported by dual-qualified and “very sharp” associates who are on their way to “developing a great bench” and a substantial ensemble of US-qualified lawyers, the team thoroughly understand the business needs of US companies and “speak English very well”. As such, its lawyers regularly appear in court to represent the biggest industry names in market-changing lawsuits. The youngest attorney to dominate the prestigious top spot of the litigation table in the China: domestic chapter, Alexandra (Pu) Yang is nonetheless a formidable adversary. Exuding absolute confidence in every patent dispute, the trusted lead counsel of Fortune 500 companies has accumulated vast first-hand experience in a wide range of patent lawsuits throughout the Chinese courts since 2007, maturing alongside local IP developments to sweep up victories in high-profile cases. “Alex has a very detailed and evergreen knowledge of patent litigation strategy in China. She and her team understand what it takes to effectively represent US clients. I believe Alex is one of, if not the best patent litigator in China.” With Yang, California-qualified attorney Gordon Gao has represented Apple in its lawsuits against Qualcomm and defended Astellas Pharma Inc against 10 Chinese generic drug companies in six different jurisdictions. Haining Song and Fang Qi take their first bow in the IAM Patent 1000 this year. While Song sought Rmb100 million in damages for Tessera Advanced Technologies Inc from Samsung for patent infringement, Qi was involved in Watson Pharmaceuticals v Eli Lilly before the Supreme People’s Court. Their colleague Helen Shi deserves a mention too: “Helen is an arbitration specialist and she’s fantastic!”

Foridom IP Law Firm 

IAM Patent 1000 newcomer Foridom IP Law Firm may have only 15 years of history, but it is certainly one to watch in the Chinese patent market. “With its rich experience in the software patent industry, as well as serious and responsible patent attorneys, Foridom can help us to solve many legal issues regarding patents.” Given its proficiency in drafting and filing patent applications, the side has become the trusted partner of a largely domestic clientele across industries for outbound patent prosecution. Most notably, it has filed more than 500 patent applications for Alibaba Group Holding Limited since 2014; as a one-stop IP service provider, it has also emerged victorious in a patent infringement matter for Shanghai Bluetech Co, Ltd and obtained Rmb1 million in compensation. Patent department manager Dong Shao has been recognised as a certified patent attorney of Alibaba and a star attorney of Shanghai Lantern Network Technology Co, Ltd.

Han Kun Law Offices 

A year since Han Kun Law Offices welcomed CCPIT-alumnus Lili Wu, the IP practice group has expanded its services from traditional patent litigation and invalidation to filing and prosecution. With an 80-strong IP team – including two former judges and a senior patent examiner – strategically stationed in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen, the general law firm has been receiving an increasing number of patent prosecution mandates from top industry players such as Oracle, Dolby and Disney, while keeping busy with patent disputes. Wu brings over two decades of IP experience and expertise managing patent portfolios for multinational clients. On the contentious front, Yan Wang and Rui Luo are representing market leaders in high-profile, multi-jurisdictional patent lawsuits, including Sharp against Hisense Electric Co, Ltd in a series of patent infringement actions.

IP March 

Formerly Co-Talent Intellectual Property Firm, the small but mighty IP March makes its first appearance in the IAM Patent 1000 this year. Based in Beijing, the IP boutique boasts a strong patent practice in the automobile and biotech industries, with an enviable client list of famous foreign companies entrusting it with their patent applications. Armed with top-notch language skills in English, French, German, Japanese and Korean, its 24 patent professionals are divided into mechanics, biotech and electronics groups and supported by strict quality-control processes to deliver superb patent prosecution services. One happy patron expounds: “They are a young firm but with a lot of experience in the IP field and a strong passion for their work. They always provide very professional services of high quality.” Managing partner Stephen Yang brings experience in-house and at Hydrogenics Corporation in Canada to represent well-known foreign corporations in the Chinese patent market.

Jeekai & Partners

Joining the IAM Patent 1000 this year is Jeekai & Partners, a traditional patent firm with a long history of prosecuting patents in China. Since being established in 1998, it has been designated as a foreign-related IP firm that attends to the needs of overseas entities, including multinationals, universities and research institutes. Its 80 patent attorneys and technical specialists are divided into two distinct groups: electronics and mechanics; and chemistry and biotech. Foreign associates attest to the side’s quality, praising its “comprehensive analysis and quick response to any query”. Managing partner Robin Zhao is on hand to field enquiries from interested parties.

Jiaquan IP Law 

IAM Patent 1000 debutant Jiaquan IP Law has its roots in the Pearl River Delta. Established in 1987, it has grown a substantial footprint in South China and recently set up two office in Beijing and Guangzhou to offer legal services beyond intellectual property. More than 360 patent attorneys and patent engineers, including 13 former patent examiners, tend to all manner of IP needs for a predominantly domestic clientele. Astutely applying lessons learned in enforcement, the firm takes a smart and targeted approach to prosecution. Dual-qualified Jacky Yingqiang Tan specialises in telecommunications and computer software, as well as hardware matters.

Kangxin Partners PC

Established in 1994, Kangxin Partners PC offers dedicated patent services to international and domestic clients across a broad range of industries. With more than 70 patent attorneys working in tandem with litigation arm Kangrui Law Firm, the side meets the patent needs of companies of all stripes. It also boasts a special department that advises domestic outfits on patent strategy and freedom to operate. One foreign associate comments: “They are willing to offer advice beyond simply filing what I ask of them, which saves time and cost in the long run. Besides being very responsive, courteous, timely and conscientious, they offer out-of-the-box solutions to complex problems. They have also gone the extra mile and acted as intermediary in contractual matters when a Chinese-speaking professional was required.” James Chen leads the foreign patent department in prosecuting patent applications for the likes of Technogym SPA. On the contentious front, Guiming (Gary) Wu takes charge of the legal team to represent Daqing Volvo Automobile Manufacturing Co Ltd in a patent dispute.

King & Wood Mallesons 

Featuring the highest number of ranked individuals in the China: domestic chapter, King & Wood Mallesons stands head and shoulders above its peers for its truly holistic patent services and “impeccable communication skills” in both the contentious and non-contentious space. A covetable list of blue-chip clients based in and outside China rely on the team of more than 130 patent professionals, who cover a broad range of industry sectors and technical areas. With its new KWM Belt & Road Centre for International Cooperation and Facilitation, the firm has further cemented its position as a top-notch provider of legal services to domestic and international entities. At the helm of the China IP group, Maohua Wang ascends to the highly recommended tier of the prosecution table for dispensing sage advice to global giants, including Microsoft, Nokia and Dell. In the contentious practice, Wenping Chen and Zhongsheng Li have earned their places at the apex of the litigation table. Where Chen enjoys a fantastic reputation in pharmaceutical matters, Li can handle all sorts of civil and administrative patent disputes. Global IP coordinator Nongfan Zhu is touted for his “intimate understanding of the US and European patent systems”. “He has depth and subject-matter expertise, while understanding the legal nuances of the ever-changing Chinese patent market.” A year after joining the firm, Tina Tai has fully settled in, having spent decades at China Patent Agent. Revered for her life sciences expertise, she continues to represent big names in pharmaceutical invalidations. For computer science and telecoms matters, Zhenhua (Ben) Ni is the lawyer to seek – with an outstanding track record in representing industry leaders in SEP disputes. Backed by peer endorsement, Jing Xu and Jin Mao make their first appearance in the IAM Patent 1000 this year. Both were involved in advising Baidu in a series of patent disputes against Sogou at various Chinese courts.

Leader Patent & Trademark Firm 

Riding a wave of effusive praise from peers and clients, Leader Patent & Trademark Firm makes a well-deserved entrance in the IAM Patent 1000 this year. “The strength of Leader is built on the quality and expertise of its people – they have solid technical backgrounds and rich experience in complex patent cases, as well as a deep sense of responsibility for each matter. They provide comprehensive, forward-thinking advice through professional and reliable strategies and solutions that have proven to achieve consistently wonderful results. They are one of the best IP firms I know and will remain our loyal partner.” “The firm’s attorneys are true professionals who always look for ways to add value and obtain maximum protection. As they are utterly fluent in the technology, communication with our inventors is very smooth and efficient.” Foreign associates enjoy working with the side too: “Competitively priced, Leader offers good quality and very reliable patent services.” “Their service is of the highest standards of quality, comparable to top-ranked Chinese IP law firms but with a modern, international and customer-oriented approach. They are also flexible, which cannot be found easily in larger and older Chinese firms.” A leading side for patent invalidations, the 70 patent attorneys are also kept busy drafting 5G and telecoms patent applications for domestic giants such as Huawei Technology. Fang Liu dominates the headlines in the contentious space – she has represented Qualcomm against Apple in multiple matters, as well as Hisense and Skyworth in SEP infringement lawsuits. “She is by far one of the best patent attorneys I’ve met. She has unique and deep insights for improving a client’s IP situation and her recommendations are always crystal clear and highly valuable.” Her colleague Shuang Ma takes her first bow in the 2020 China: domestic chapter. “Shuang is always accessible and deeply involved in the matters, which is a big advantage when dealing with clients from distant time zones. Her dedication makes us feel like we are her only concern. Apart from being a wise and talented professional with great analytical vision and communication skills, she is a kind person and it is really easy to work with her.”

LexField Law Offices

Garnering some of the most enthusiastic feedback in the China: domestic chapter, LexField Law Offices finds itself propelled to the coveted top spot of the firm litigation table this year. Headlined by star litigator Hongyi Jiang, the firm has been engaged in numerous big-ticket patent infringement suits on behalf of well-known corporations, such as Qualcomm, Seiko Epson Corporation and DIDI. Clients cannot help but enthuse about the side: “We only engage with law firms that have extensive litigation experience and can handle a large amount of work and resolve complicated technical and legal issues in an efficient way. In this, Lexfield came up as the top choice and Hongyi is our lead counsel. In terms of cost and response time, they respond to our inquires incredibly efficiently. Despite the massive workload, they handled it without any incident through meticulous care and impressive accuracy. They also think about and plan the proceedings in a strategic way. Lexfield is simply the best patent firm in China.” “All of their lawyers are excellent – they are very professional in their work and serious in providing top-notch customer service. I have an excellent impression of them.” “Hongyi has created a strong firm and I highly respect and appreciate the attorneys I work with at Lexfield. Not only do they have excellent communication skills, they have a good grasp of strategy and set forth all scenarios in matters while working diligently to understand their clients’ goals. Moreover, they offer both prosecution and litigation services, which provides a solid base for the team’s expertise in patents.” Despite the departure of Jiang’s protégés Andy Xiang and Bob Jin, clients are “not at all concerned about the quality of work”. On the non-contentious front, David Huang oversees 14 patent attorneys, who tends to the strategic IP needs of a largely foreign clientele. “David has a very good combination of deep understanding of our business and relevant legal knowledge.” “He provides very commercial and constructive advice – clients think very highly of him.”

Lifang & Partners

Lifang & Partners shines brightest in the patent litigation space. As it continues to expand, the commercial outfit recently moved to a bigger office in Beijing, where six partners are stationed to defend well-known industry leaders embroiled in lawsuits related to SEPs. Over in Wuhan, the prosecution team has also put down new roots for the 150-strong group, which drafts and files patents for domestic giants including Qihoo 360, Tencent and Bytedance, in addition to famous foreign multinationals such as POSCO and Samsung Electronics. Buoyed by a first-rate market reputation and extensive experience in patent disputes, courtroom sharpshooter Guanbin Xie rises to the apex of the litigation table this year. Well versed in SEP matters, he represented Samsung in its series of patent disputes with Huawei. With his colleague Haidong Yu, Xie also advocated for Sogou in a big-ticket landmark patent dispute against Beijing Baidu Netcom Technology at the Beijing IP Court. Meanwhile, in the Shanghai IP Court, semiconductor specialist Yuanyuan Zhang and Xie took on a patent infringement lawsuit for Xiaomi Technology against Siemens.

Linda Liu & Partners 

A popular choice for Japanese companies seeking to prosecute patents in China, Linda Liu & Partners offers the full range of patent services to a multitude of foreign clients hailing from various industries. It boasts 110 “highly professional and knowledgeable” patent attorneys, who are on hand to draft and file nearly 6,000 patent applications a year for the likes of Nitto Denko and Bridgestone. Foreign associates will find themselves in safe hands too: “I am extremely satisfied with their work and highly confident that they will handle and prosecute my cases in China with optimal results.” “Aside from paying a lot of attention to detail, they always provide excellent and thorough advice and analysis. I direct all my China patent work to Linda Liu and I encourage my US clients to instruct them too, especially for matters related to computer software and hardware. I’m a big fan!” While Peter Zhang captains the domestic department, Nancy Song takes charge of US clients and Junping Yan works closely with European associates. Meanwhile, the contentious practice continues to grow steadily – a 30-strong team of attorneys at law led by Sai Chen is laser focused on as many as 50 patent invalidation cases annually.

Liu Shen & Associates 

Top-tier patent prosecution firm Liu Shen & Associates enjoys a fantastic reputation among peers for its fantastic filing and drafting services. One of China’s biggest PCT filers, the outfit is well known for prosecuting patents for foreign clients, especially with a massive team of 200 patent attorneys, as well as dedicated Japanese and German language groups. Skilled in materials science, Allen Tao takes charge of contentious patent matters, while Jun Qiu resolves patent disputes from his office in Shanghai.

Lung Tin Intellectual Property Agent Ltd 

As it celebrates its 25th anniversary, Lung Tin Intellectual Property Agent Ltd looks back on an illustrious history in the Chinese IP market. Since its establishment in Hong Kong, it has been authorised by the government to represent international clients in China. Now, 160 patent attorneys with language capabilities in Japanese, Korean, German and French prosecute patents for the likes of OPPO, Valmet Technologies and Lunan Pharmaceutical Group Corporation. A “solid patent firm that always delivers very good quality and service”, its 20-strong patent litigation team is making a mark for itself too – handling 120 patent invalidation matters in 2018. German-speaking patent attorney Yan Huang oversees the mechanical engineering and design department.

NTD Intellectual Property Attorneys 

With more than 50 professionals joining the firm recently, NTD Intellectual Property Attorneys has moved to a new office in Beijing. The IP boutique offers a comprehensive set of IP services to an enviable list of famous multinationals across industries, through fully integrated prosecution and litigation practices manned by 158 patent attorneys and 54 lawyers. “It is a big surprise to me that NTD can always assemble a professional team with in-depth knowledge in the specific legal field and good technical support. Given the seamless cooperation between NTD professionals and a very stable legal team, they have successfully represented us in many patent disputes.” To augment its Chinese offering, the firm has extended its reach to outposts in Tokyo, Munich, Silicon Valley and New Jersey. As well as providing services in Japanese, German and French, the patent prosecution powerhouse also drafts patent applications in English and does so prolifically for long-term foreign customers. Under the astute leadership of June Wang, Heather Lin and Christopher Shaowei, the side is growing from strength to strength. Experts in their respective fields, the trio ensures that clients’ contentious and non-contentious patent needs are met. Wang is a fan favourite of global blue-chips for electronics and telecoms matters. While Lin oversees the biotech and chemistry department, chief litigator Shaowei brandishes three decades of courtroom experience to free clients from patent disputes. Colleagues Jonathan Miao and Fei Kou deserve a mention too: “I recommend Jonathan for his dedicated service and focus on clients’ long-term interests when assisting them in their navigation through legal challenges in China. For complex patent issues in biotechnology, patent lawyer Fei has strong capabilities to handle them easily.”

Panawell & Partners 

Through a deft team of 44 patent attorneys, Panawell & Partners draws upon a wealth of experience garnered through international training and deep technical expertise to tend to the patent needs of a largely foreign client base, especially those based in the United States. Lately, its contentious practice has been showing clear signs of growth as 10 IP attorneys work to defend clients in court, while the rest find themselves in high demand from domestic and international companies to provide legal opinions on freedom to operate. The side has also added a Chengdu base to meet the needs of patrons in the region. A frequent speaker at IP seminars, William Yang is a fine choice for all manner of patent problems.

PatentSino IP Firm

PatentSino IP Firm joins its peers in the firm prosecution table this year on the back of recommendations by foreign associates for its well-reputed patent services. “Quality, reliability, experience and cost – PatentSino meets all of our requirements. Apart from providing excellent service, they work very efficiently and produce high-quality work.” “Regardless of demanding client requests for speedy responses and quality of service, the firm will deliver.” One satisfied domestic patron enthuses: “They have met our expectations for the quality of patent drafting, grant rate, workflow processes, international outlook and professionalism. They are an outstanding patent firm that clients can trust.” Since its establishment in 2012, the group has ballooned from its Beijing headquarters to a 200-strong team – including 40 patent attorneys and a special Japanese and Korean department – scattered across Hefei, Xi’an and Dalian. With the aim of providing quality services for Chinese companies, the side focuses on drafting and prosecuting patents – filing more than 5,000 patent applications in 2018 alone. It also recently represented Hoya Lens Thailand Ltd and the Hong Kong Polytechnic University in a patent invalidation matter. Managing partner Jifu Liu is a material science specialist. “It is always a pleasure to meet Jifu, who has a good sense of humour.” His colleague Chunwei Wang garners praise as well: “He is very good at responding to clients’ demanding requests.”

PC & Associates 

Endorsed by peers and foreign associates alike, PC & Associates makes its debut in the 2020 IAM Patent 1000. Since it started out as a litigation-heavy firm, with founder Wei Dong enjoying an excellent reputation in Greater China as an adept patent litigator and a dab hand at global patent enforcement, the team can often be found invalidating patents and defending a predominantly domestic clientele against patent infringement. Now, it is making waves in the prosecution space. Not only is the side drafting and filing utility model patents for Brother Industries, it was recently selected as the new patent agency for drafting PCT applications for DJI. Chinese companies and corporations worldwide can expect “responsive and practical advice”. With a new outpost in Shenzhen, the firm is set to remain popular for its one-stop patent services.

Scihead

Given its formidable presence in Guangzhou and long history in intellectual property, Scihead joins the IAM Patent 1000 this year. Since its establishment in 1986, a year after the Chinese Patent Law was enacted, the firm has been prosecuting patent applications for a mostly domestic clientele, including Huawei Technologies and SZ DJI Technology. While the prosecution practice has been consistently recognised for filing the highest number of patents in the Guangdong province, the dispute resolution team has been busy representing clients in high-profile IP infringement cases. Under managing partner Chuanxin Hao’s astute leadership, the firm has grown into a behemoth with over 400 patent staff stationed in more than 20 offices across China. Revered by his peers nationwide, Xu Wen has been a “leading patent litigator for over 30 years”.

Shangcheng & Partners

Domestically renowned for its predominantly Japanese client base, Shangcheng & Partners is one of the few Chinese patent firms to have opened a branch office in Tokyo. Only a little over a decade old, it holds its own in the local patent market, filing around 2,500 applications each year across technical fields. President Chun Long is a name for the address book.

Shanghai Patent & Trademark Law Office LLC

Founded in 1983, Shanghai Patent & Trademark Law Office LLC is one of the oldest IP firms in the country. With almost 200 IP and legal professionals, as well as an extensive global network, the state-funded outfit has the means to provide the full range of patent services to its diverse clientele. Zheng Fan is the point of contact for interested clients.

Tsingyihua Intellectual Property LLC

Recognised by peers for its prowess in prosecuting patents and filing PCT applications, particularly for large Chinese companies, Tsingyihua Intellectual Property LLC makes its first appearance in the IAM Patent 1000 this year. Established in 1984, the patent firm used to be a patent office that served Tsinghua University exclusively – it now provides IP training there. Chair Hecheng Song is the first port of call for rights holders.

Unitalen Attorneys at Law 

“Unitalen is one of the leading IP firms in China representing many international clients.” “It does not just develop its business in traditional patent fields but makes the effort to explore new sectors, such as IP counselling and strategy by using new technologies like big data search and analysis.” From its 21 offices throughout China and around the world, 240 patent attorneys – including 11 former examiners – and 51 attorneys at law offer “responsive and very good prosecution advice” to a host of famous companies across industries, drafting air-tight patent applications and achieving top-notch grant rates in the patent office. Lately, its litigation practice has expanded with more than 130 patent infringement and administrative cases in 2018 alone. Managing partner Deshan Li is a favourite among foreign associates: “Having worked in Chinese IP law for over 20 years, Deshan has exceptional knowledge about all sorts of legal issues regarding intellectual property in China.” Buoyed by fervent praise from foreign associates, Wei Pan joins his peers in the prosecution table. With outstanding language skills, the experienced US patent agent oversees the Australia and Asia markets. “He is very responsive and routinely provides excellent high-level commercial and legal advice for obtaining patent protection in China.” His colleague Yongbo (Robert) Li deserves recognition as well: “He knows Chinese patent mechanisms very well and uses them with great efficiency.”

Wanhuida Intellectual Property 

Three years after it first announced a merger with Peksung IP Ltd, Wanhuida Intellectual Property decided to halt the process and “unwind the small portion of the business that had started integration”. As it celebrates its 20th year, the firm has opened a new office in Tianjin to add to its ubiquitous presence in China, through which clients can draw upon the expertise offered by 70 patent attorneys in a wide range of technical areas – for a “decent” price. “Extremely experienced and able to seriously study cases and logically draft their observations, the team works very well with in-house patent counsels.” “They are very good at providing the most appropriate whole strategies and detailed approaches, based on their experience, full understanding of our situation and deep involvement in the cases. Our engineers also find it efficient to communicate with the lawyers on technical issues, especially in the electronic field.” Another long-term patron attests: “They are our key law firm in China. The trust we have with each other is really special. I recommend them at every opportunity.” IP veteran Xiaoling Duan offers three decades of experience, including 12 years as senior patent examiner and deputy director at CNIPA, to prosecuting ironclad patent applications. On the contentious front, the firm presents a range of talents. Touted for her “rich invalidation and litigation experience, superb pharmaceutical professional knowledge, unique understanding of specific cases and perfect communication skills”, Tiejun Tang is renowned for her courtroom sharpshooting skills in the life sciences field. Alongside US attorney S Sam Li, she is representing a big foreign pharmaceutical company in several major patent disputes. Shuhua (Mark) Zhang and Feng (Janet) Zheng make their debut in the IAM Patent 1000 this year upon client recommendations. Both qualified in New York, they specialise in representing foreign entities such as Freebit in local Chinese courts. “I have been very happy with Janet’s work – she is very good at communicating in English and gives very good and commercial advice that is pragmatic and direct. Not only does she understand our technology right away, she makes very good technical and legal arguments.”

Watson & Band Law Offices

Headquartered in Shanghai, Watson & Band Law Offices joins the firm prosecution table this year given its growing drafting and filing practice – in 2018 it filed more than 2,500 patents, 80% of which were invention applications. The side extends its full range of patent services to a largely Japanese clientele, as well as a sprinkling of major foreign corporations around the world, which benefit from an extensive network of offices in China, including one that is due to open in Chengdu shortly. For patent invalidation and infringement matters, a special patent litigation team can quickly be called to court, working in tandem with technical specialists and an in-house investigations team. General manager Hua Xiao makes his first appearance in the IAM Patent 1000 as a software patent prosecution expert.

Zhong Lun Law Firm

“Legal, technical, communication and interpersonal skills, as well as accessibility, responsiveness, reliability and persistence – Zhong Lun Law Firm achieves all these to a very high degree, which I have rarely seen.” With 16 offices around the world, the full-service law firm offers the full gamut of patent services from prosecution to litigation and transactions. “Very professional and hardworking”, its 90-strong team has attracted an enviable list of multinational clients in the life sciences field, including Abbott Laboratories and Pfizer China Research & Development Co, Ltd. Based in Shanghai, Helen Cheng brings years of international experience to the courtroom for clients embroiled in high-profile patent disputes.

Zhongzi Law Office 

Home to one of the largest IP departments among Chinese general law firms, Zhongzi Law Office excels in prosecuting patents for all types of client. Founder Bonan Lin enjoys a good reputation among his peers, who praise him for being “very experienced”, “well recognised and capable”. His colleague Xiaoguang Yang specialises in the electrical and electronic engineering space.

Other recommended experts

A “very sharp” patent prosecutor in the life sciences field, Amy Feng of the eponymous Wu Feng & Zhang enjoys a stellar reputation among her peers. A new face in the IAM Patent 1000, Zhihua Huang is managing partner of TDIP & Partners – “a top but small IP firm in China that provides very specialised service” in patent prosecution for domestic clients. Another IAM Patent 1000 debutant, Jun Ji formerly led the IP department at Broad & Bright, where he tended to a largely Japanese clientele in contentious patent and regulatory matters. He recently moved to Anli & Partners. After his firm split from Wanhuida Intellectual Property, Jiancheng Jiang – described by his foreign associate as “a very seasoned and experienced professional” – is now managing partner of Peksung Intellectual Property Ltd. Over in their newly established Twelve Tables Law Firm, Bob Jin and Andy Xiang are set to take China by storm. Although they are new entries in the 2020 IAM Patent 1000, they are hardly strangers to the local patent market – at their previous firm, they were involved in high-profile patent disputes in the telecoms space. New and former clients have fervent praise for the dynamic duo: “With Bob as the rain-maker, Andy sets the pace – Andy keeps everything under control and makes sure nothing unexpected happens while his partner ensures everything plays out the way it should. They make a great team.” “What stands out about them is their excellent communication skills. They are willing to understand and listen to what is important to the client.” “Andy is a friend and a trustworthy business partner. The legal support he provides really help us to select the best business model to secure our commercial interest. He has very good international experience and business insights, so he can clearly explain the rationale behind his solutions while keeping our cost at a reasonable level.” “Bob is really special. He understands what you need, he knows what to do and strives to deliver excellent work.” IAM Patent 1000 newcomer Xiao-Min Ni leads Guangzhou-based WinGuan Patent and Trademark Attorneys, an IP boutique that specialises in prosecuting and drafting life sciences patents. Clients have much to say about his expertise and service: “Very responsive and reliable, Xiao-Min does not simply report deadlines, but provides considered and commercially relevant advice when needed. He demonstrates good understanding of technical and scientific challenges of biotech and biopharma inventions. We have very much enjoyed working with him and his firm.” “We consider him a top-notch patent service provider in China because of his excellent work quality and overall administrative support. He is very bright and understands both Chinese and US patent law.” Hailing from Beijing-based Intelight IP Law Firm, IAM Patent 1000 newcomer and life sciences expert Shiwen Ouyang is a former patent examiner in the biochemical field. From Tian Yuan Law Firm’s dispute resolution team, Yan Sun also joins the IAM Patent 1000 this year. Although he is better known for his work in antitrust matters, Sun has been busy representing domestic clients in multiple patent infringement matters at various courts recently, including Goertek Inc against two domestic companies at the Supreme People’s Court. Daz Wang, founder of IP boutique Insight Intellectual Property Co Ltd, joins his peers in the individuals prosecution table this year upon recommendation from his foreign associate. Fluent in German, he specialises in drafting and filing patents in the biology and pharmaceutical fields. Zhaolin (Johnson) Wang of JunHe LLP is a patent litigator who takes on cases in the electronics and mechanical engineering fields. Jingtian & Gongcheng’s new IP litigator Ye Zhao breaks into the IAM Patent 1000 this year upon fervent peer endorsement – he is described as “a good patent litigator” with “creative solutions”. Although he is known for his “deep understanding of antitrust law”, he recently represented Huawei Technology against InterDigital in the country’s first dispute on SEP royalties before the Supreme Court. In another matter against Samsung, he won Rmb80 million in damages for Huawei. Based on the recommendation of his peers, Yunchuan Zhou makes his debut in the IAM Patent 1000. “Very strong” in patent disputes, Zhou hails from new IP boutique law firm Saelink Law, which is made up of ex-judges such as Chen Wenxuan and experienced IP lawyers with “solid patent litigation experience in China” such as Richard Liu.

Individuals: litigation

Individuals: prosecution