China: Foreign

Firms

AWA Asia 

Since setting up shop in China in 2015, Swedish IP consultancy AWA’s highly experienced bilingual and bicultural team has been flourishing. Led by brands specialist Ai-Leen Lim, an IP lawyer and strategist with over 20 years of experience, the firm’s growing Asian practice has adopted an East meets West approach to the services it offers – which include drafting, filing, infringement, advisory and pre-litigation strategy. Market-leading European and Asian companies are in good hands, given the firm’s extensive local expertise and proficiency in devising and executing practical, customised solutions. Chinese-qualified patent attorney Xiaofan Chen is the main man. He takes all forms of patent prosecution in his stride; his technical specialities are mechanical engineering, manufacturing and computer science.

Baker McKenzie LLP

Operating in association with leading Shanghai firm FenXun Partners, Baker McKenzie deploys global and local expertise to deliver pragmatic and commercially astute IP solutions. The full-service outfit nimbly navigates the intricacies of Chinese law on behalf of top IP-rich multinationals, often becoming embedded within companies as a strategic and business partner. The firm tackles patent invalidations and groundbreaking trade secrets cases in the Chinese courts and skilfully manages regional and global patent portfolios. Shanghai-based partner Clement Ngai is a standout performer. He is at his best when handling dispute resolution in the pharmaceutical and software industries and in all kinds of IP transactions.

Bird & Bird

Bird & Bird maintains one of the largest and most specialised IP practices in Hong Kong and China. An integrated team of 50 professionals across the two jurisdictions offer every patent service under the sun. Generics UK, the government of Hong Kong’s IP department and Gibson Innovations Ltd are just a few of the group’s clients. Specialising in contentious issues, the firm delivers worldwide enforcement and defence strategies by drawing on Bird & Bird’s sterling international network. Shanghai-based Christine Yiu is lauded as being “a rising star in Chinese patent litigation who is well-liked by judges and is an expert at coordinating patent assertions and litigations across Asia”.

Clyde & Co 

Since ex-Rouse partner Elliot Papageorgiou took the reins at Clyde & Co’s IP department over a year ago, the side has been going great guns. Under his skilful leadership, the growing IP team has been efficiently resolving contentious and non-contentious patent matters with aplomb. The firm expertly utilises the resources the Clyde & Co global network offers, which it combines with Westlink Partnership for Chinese patent drafting capabilities. Clients of all stripes will find their strategic IP needs met by IP maven Papageorgiou. After practicing in Australia and Europe – and completing a bachelor’s degree in civil law at Oxford University – the polyglot and lecturer now calls Shanghai home. He has an enviable Fortune 500 client base.

DLA Piper

Global law firm DLA Piper is a multi-dimensional practice that draws from a profound well of worldwide technical expertise and collaborates closely with local counsel to produce fantastic results. Multiple leading US and Chinese manufacturing and medical design companies entrust the side with their cross-border patent disputes, as well as strategic prosecution tasks and licensing matters. The firm has also recently observed an influx of biotech and pharmaceutical regulatory work. William (Skip) Fisher anchors the practice in Shanghai. Renowned among his peers and active in almost every industry, Fisher applies over two decades of international experience in IP law to every enforcement brief he undertakes.

Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP 

Top US boutique Finnegan focuses on International Trade Commission (ITC) and US district court litigation, often representing Chinese companies to enforce and protect their IP rights in the United States and Europe. However, the side also prosecutes patents for major pharmaceutical companies like JS InnoPharma and negotiates lucrative technology transfer agreements within China. Teamwork is the name of Finnegan’s game; the personable Ningling Wang often works closely with Washington counterparts Qingyu Yin and Brian Kacedon to make great things happen. Her background in chemical and biomedical engineering works well with her experience in ITC proceedings and her client-centric approach. Wang garners high praise from clients as being “the best in the IP field in the Greater China region”.

Gowling WLG 

Canadian giant Gowling WLG astutely guides its prestigious clientele through the choppy Chinese IP seas, offering “commercial advice that simplifies the lives of clients as much as possible”. The “dedicated, talented, personable and responsive” team takes on patent prosecution, enforcement and transactional work for high-flying and longstanding European, US, Canadian and Australasian clients – including Dyson and Aston Martin. Gowling WLG has enjoyed some ground-breaking successes in China on behalf of Dyson, including its acquisition of one of only three preliminary injunctions ever issued by the Guangzhou IP Court against a design patent infringer. Captaining the Guangzhou office since January 2015, UK-qualified lawyer Jamie Rowlands brings 15 years of experience to the table. Clients “cannot speak highly enough” Rowlands, who is described as being an “exceptional leader”. As one client rhapsodises: “By being very active in ensuring that his work and communication are seamless, effective and strategically sound, he maintains an exceptionally high level of service. He also takes the time to understand our business, so he can provide practical and commercially focused advice but with the added benefit of very good knowledge of Chinese IP law and international litigation experience. He is our go-to attorney in China.” For patent drafting and prosecution, Jian Xu’s doctorate in biochemistry from the University of Manchester comes in handy for companies of all shapes and sizes, as does his “ability to ensure a good understanding of the specifics of Chinese IP law”.

Hogan Lovells International LLP

For a “positive experience with intelligent, diligent and reliable professionals whose advice you can confidently follow in its entirety”, multinational players should look without hesitation to global titan Hogan Lovells. It has offices in Beijing and Shanghai, in addition to those of its associate Fujian Fidelity Law Firm, and access to a sprawling international network, which is indispensable when it comes to approaching complex, cross-border patent prosecution, disputes and deals. Thanks to its promise of consistently first-rate work and profound industry expertise, the firm engenders the loyalty of a diverse group of clients that includes Honeywell and Hubei Aerospace Institute of Chemical Technology. Zhen (Katie) Feng takes the lead on complex contentious mandates. She has cultivated an excellent track record of litigation victories thanks to her strategic perspicacity.

Jones Day

Jones Day’s supreme courtroom quality means that it can meet opponents head on in complex patent cases and emerge victorious time and time again. The firm’s all-encompassing legal and scientific know-how encourages top brands to seek it out to assist with a kaleidoscopic range of IP issues. Sitting atop the IAM Patent 1000 litigation and transactions tables this year is Tony Chen, a veteran of the Chinese market who commands respect from peers for his abilities in the pharmaceutical and life science fields. Stationed in Shanghai, he represents many prestigious innovators and actively participates in public policy projects on IP protection including the US-China IP Cooperation Dialogue.

Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP

Over a decade of practice in China has enabled Morgan Lewis & Bockius to establish an excellent rapport with foreign and domestic companies doing business in the country. The firm’s “reliable and excellent strategists provide well-rounded, highly efficient and professional services that proactively safeguard clients’ commercial interests”. Since moving to Morgan Lewis in 2017, US lawyer Shaobin Zhu has impressed with his vast knowledge of the developments in US patent law and enforcement. Zhu heads up the China IP practice with Yalei Sun. Comfortable operating in both Beijing and Silicon Valley, Sun has taken on a whole host of leading Chinese technology conglomerates on behalf of his clients. The holder of a master’s degree in geophysics from Stanford University, he is a consummate drafter of US patent applications.

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP

The critically acclaimed team at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe has been turning heads in China for many years as a result of the “high-quality and responsive” service it dispenses. Specialising in ITC and US district court patent infringement cases, it is the top choice for anything hotly contentious, although patent prosecution also presents no problem. Xiang Wang directs the side. Unanimously recommended by competitors for his extensive experience, Wang has a doctorate in electrical and computer engineering; spent over a decade in-house in the medical and electronic device fields; and has four medical technology patents to his name – there is little left in the patent world that can surprise him. “Yufeng Ma impressed us with his strong expertise in IP law, his warm personality, quick grasp of his client’s business and needs, as well as his prompt delivery of the work,” praised one client. Dual-educated in China and the United States in law and chemistry, Ma has enjoyed a string of recent successes at the ITC – including a stunning victory for Shenzhen Howshow Technology against Kent Displays that attracted widespread attention in the industry.

Ropes & Gray LLP

High-stakes transactional support in the life sciences arena is the forte of Ropes & Gray. A robust team of six make up the dedicated IP transactions unit in Shanghai and together they confidently take charge at the negotiating table for a range of major international and domestic players. Over the past year, the firm has overseen a revolutionary digital health education licensing deal between Healthwise and Tencent and advised China-based Simcere Pharmaceutical Group on an exclusive licensing agreement with the Netherlands-based company Merus. Geoffrey Lin is the mastermind behind much of the firm’s success in China. A cogent choice for complex IP transactions, Lin is highly regarded for his sage advice and attention to detail. Newly promoted counsel David Chen is also taking on critical mandates with considerable success.

Rouse & Co International

Respected for their enforcement prowess, “the practitioners at Rouse have a sophisticated knowledge of the Chinese legal system and devote the right resources to building the strongest cases and most effective, business-aligned strategies. No infringement situation is unmanageable to them.” Sharon Qiao is leader of the litigation squad and takes charge in the courtroom with her sharp legal reasoning, honed advocacy skills and candour. Her colleague Ling Jin spent a decade at the Office of Legislative Affairs of the People’s Republic of China State Council and provides watertight IP transactional advice.

Simmons & Simmons (Beijing) Intellectual Property Agency Company Ltd

European IP titan Simmons & Simmons’ Chinese offering is not to be underestimated. Counting Fortune 100 companies and a world-renowned pharmaceutical corporation in its list of top clients, the full-service firm can make light work of all manner of patent issues. Taking command in Beijing, Canadian-qualified lawyer and experimental medicine PhD holder George Chan excels in disputes, prosecution and regulatory work. He receives some of the most effusive feedback from multiple satisfied clients. As one highlights: “I’ve worked with George for many years and have always had a wonderful experience. He is a tireless professional who can quickly size up any issue, explain Chinese legal principles in a clear and straightforward manner and provide cost-effective and efficient strategies. With his finely tuned knowledge of Chinese law he can cut to the chase, particularly in complex IP scenarios involving a Chinese party or connection.” Another adds: “We followed George across several firms in China simply because we love his candid and practical advice, how he steers patent portfolios thoughtfully and takes a creative approach to problem solving. He is dedicated to his clients – he does not simply do what is asked – he will tell you if something doesn’t make sense or if there is a better way.”

Spruson & Ferguson

Spruson & Ferguson has been taking the Asia-Pacific region by storm. The firm acquired Ella Cheong (Hong Kong) Limited and its subsidiary Ella Cheong Intellectual Property Agency (Beijing) Company Limited in 2016 and has also established an exclusive arrangement with Beijing Pat SF Intellectual Property Agency to broaden its offering. With a PhD in chemistry, over 15 years of in-house practice and experience in the Singaporean office under his belt, European and German patent attorney Oliver Lutze manages Spruson’s Chinese activities from his Beijing base. “Not only is he an expert in Chinese patent law who is able to contextualise legal and regulatory changes to help us respond and plan ways to protect our interests, he is a pragmatic and realistic practitioner who comes up with manageable solutions. Besides always being extremely responsive, he takes the time to explain things clearly and pierces through any complexity to give you all the information you need to drive your business forward. As a European living in China, he can help us understand differences in perspective vis-à-vis the West.”

Other recommended experts

Electrical engineer Harold Johnson runs Brinks Gilson & Lione’s new Shenzhen office. He counsels clients on IP infringement with skill and poise. Covington & Burling LLP’s Weishi Li tops the IAM Patent 1000 transactions table for the seventh consecutive year. She is known for her prowess when it comes to the life sciences. Ryan McCarthy is the chief representative of Fish & Richardson in Shenzhen. The cosmopolitan lawyer, who has also lived and worked in Germany, has a well-rounded patent skill set that encompasses prosecution, opinion-giving, IP due diligence, licensing activities and litigation. David Shen heads up Allen & Overy’s IP practice in China. He is an expert on licensing and enforcement, particularly within the life sciences.

Individuals: litigation

  • Tony Chen - Jones Day
  • Xiang Wang - Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP
  • Zhen (Katie) Feng - Hogan Lovells International LLP
  • William (Skip) Fisher - DLA Piper
  • Yufeng Ma - Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP
  • Clement Ngai - Baker McKenzie LLP
  • Elliot Papageorgiou - Clyde & Co 
  • Sharon Qiao - Lusheng, Rouse Network Firm
  • Jamie Rowlands - Gowling WLG
  • Ningling Wang - Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP
  • Christine Yiu - Bird & Bird
  • Shaobin Zhu - Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP

Individuals: prosecution

  • Tony Chen - Jones Day
  • Xiaofan Chen - AWA Asia
  • Oliver Lutze - Spruson & Ferguson
  • Yalei Sun - Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP
  • Ningling Wang - Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP
  • Xiang Wang - Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP
  • Jian Xu - Gowling WLG

Individuals: transactions

  • Tony Chen - Jones Day
  • Weishi Li - Covington & Burling LLP
  • Geoffrey Lin - Ropes & Gray LLP
  • George Chan - Simmons & Simmons (Beijing) Intellectual Property Agency Company Ltd
  • Ling Jin - Lusheng, Rouse Network Firm
  • Harold Johnson - Brinks Gilson & Lione
  • Ryan McCarthy - Fish & Richardson
  • David Shen - Allen and Overy LLP
  • Ningling Wang - Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP
  • Christine Yiu - Bird & Bird