What has been your proudest professional achievement so far?
My proudest professional achievement was leading the licence negotiations on behalf of Global Goods Fund on a passive cooler to Chinese manufacturers, involving technology that can keep vaccines cold for over 30 days without electricity. The licensed products were donated to transport Ebola vaccines in Africa contributed by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and other relief efforts such as the 2015 Nepal earthquake. The project won the USPTO’s 2016 Patent Humanitarian Award. As an IP lawyer, I am proud to have been part of a project that helps improve life and brings life-changing technologies to those less fortunate around the globe.
How do you build trust and engagement with clients?
Building trust and engagement with clients is a necessary guarantee for moving cases forward smoothly, which requires the experience and wisdom of lawyers. In my opinion, professional service is the most important factor for building trust. As lawyers, we should first show our quality of specialised legal service, which is the foundation for establishing engagement. Further, I believe that providing clients with certainty is conducive to trust. Due to the asymmetry of knowledge between both sides, clients need transparent feedback from lawyers to gain a sense of security. For this big picture, clients should then be confident that their lawyer will master the overall direction. Timely feedback and communication is crucial. Lawyers should not only focus on professional knowledge, but also on practical considerations, as well as risk control.
What emerging trends and technologies are having the biggest effect on innovation in China right now?
From an industry perspective, I believe that the development of AI and alternative energy will have a huge impact on innovation in China. The combination of 5G and Internet of Things (IoT) technology has raised the application of AI to a new level, and provided a wide range of practical applications in all walks of life, such as transportation, finance, trade, media and law, while improving production efficiency and quality of service. In addition, the application of alternative energy is becoming a power source for China to support the innovation of industry 4.0; it looks set to have a profound influence on the development of secondary and tertiary industries.
How has the Chinese transactions space developed over the last 10 years?
With the rise of the capital market and the booming digital economy in China, the transactions space has shown great dynamism in the past decade. As the leading emerging market, China’s transactions space is growing rapidly both with regard to foreign trade and domestic deals. This is true not only in traditional professions like agriculture, but also in various new industries such as the Internet, multimedia and transportation, and thus there are ever-increasing transaction demands from clients. The development of the transactions space in China is closely integrated with technology. Clients have a positive attitude towards various new modes of transactions and are willing to try to commit themselves to the new transactions space. At the same time, imperfect regulations and supervision, as well as the blindness of the market, have undoubtedly brought more uncertainties to the entire transactions space. I believe that lawyers should play an active role in the transactions service, grasp the opportunities, update their knowledge and improve their professional abilities so that they can play a key role going forward.
What, in your opinion, are the key components of a truly world class IP strategy?
The key components of an excellent IP strategy are professional legal services and an in-depth understanding of the overall development requirements of the enterprise. To upgrade an IP legal service to the highest level requires not only focusing on IP matters themselves, but also integrating intellectual property with corporate development and public policies.
High-quality legal service should reflect the commercial demands of enterprises in each specific litigation and non-litigation practice, and closely integrate legal services with the client’s business targets.
Ping Gu is a partner at Zhong Lun Law Firm and is licensed in New York. Ms Ping graduated with a JD from Washington University at St Louis Law School before practising in New York for eight years at Morgan & Finnegan and Milbank Tweed. She has extensive expertise in patents, trade secrets, copyrights litigations and cross-border licensing, and her cases have been awarded Case of the Year of China in 2019 and 2020.