As a partner at Liu Shen & Associates, what does inspiring leadership look like to you?
At Liu Shen, we adopt the theory of situational leadership. Instead of one generic approach, we evaluate the situation and individuals involved and then choose the appropriate leadership style for that given scenario. We find this to be more suitable for our firm for several reasons. First, situational leadership has flexibility; it can be adapted to clients’ different needs. It can also create a more comfortable working environment for our partners and associates and build a strong team relationship. Finally, it also helps to raise awareness among the leading attorneys about the importance of caring for each person in the firm.
There is increasing talk about how arbitration might be used to settled SEP/FRAND disputes. As you specialise in dispute resolution as part of your practice, what are some of the pros and cons of using alternative dispute resolution in this space?
Arbitration, as well as other alternative dispute resolution solutions, will definitely help to broaden the scopes of the parties to negotiate and reach an agreement. In my opinion, such resolution is possible when the two sides of the dispute have exchanged sufficient information and know the strengths and weaknesses of the respective SEP portfolios. Sometimes it can be difficult to reach this position without decisive court judgments on some of the dispute’s fundamental issues by. Therefore, SEP/FRAND disputes will continue to rely on both litigation and alternative dispute resolution.
What are the key characteristics that a practitioner litigating in the Chinese courts needs to have?
In my view, litigators in China need to understand how businesses operate, so that they can take a broader view of this, outside the legal industry. In this way, attorneys can provide legal advice and strategy that could benefit the business of the client. Further, litigators should have resiliency and resolve to deal with various unexpected situations in Chinese litigation and keep in close communication with in-house attorneys in order to keep up with the fast pace of litigation.
How do you anticipate that the semiconductor sector will evolve in the next five years?
The semiconductor sector is becoming a key business related to national security, so there is increasing awareness in the space with regard to intellectual property and compliance issues. In China, the semiconductor industry is still mostly on the low end and back end. With increasing technical barriers set by the United States and elsewhere, it might be difficult for the Chinese semiconductor sector to grow quickly and steadily. We will see continuous turmoil in the space; a lot of start-ups come and go and few survivors provide nationalised products to Chinese industry. Therefore, deglobalisation might be a common theme in the semiconductor sector soon.
What are the most pressing challenges facing your clients at present, and how are you helping them to overcome these?
One difficult challenge for our clients is monitoring the huge number of patent applications and utility model patents in China, which imposes a relatively heavy burden in evaluating and watching the IP risks. We are now helping clients to identify the key market contributors in certain industries in order to narrow down the risk list on a reasonable budget.
You specialise in a wide range of technologies, from device memory to virtual reality. How do you stay ahead of the curve in such a fast-paced space?
China is growing rapidly in technology sectors. The clients we serve – whether they area domestic client or an international company – always educate us with their cutting-edge technology advances, recorded in their patent applications. This exposes us to the newest tech gadgets, which is also part of the appeal of being a patent attorney in China.
What has been your most memorable case to date – and why?
The most memorable case for me was a cross-border litigation between two international corporations. During the preparation process, we, as Chinese counsel, talked with attorneys from different countries such as Germany, Japan, Korea and the United States, who provided us with insights on how the same legal issues play out in different jurisdictions. That was quite an eye-opening experience for me and has taught me to always look at issues with a globalised view.
What are the most common mistakes that foreign rights holders make when it comes to enforcement in China, and how can they avoid these?
For foreign rights holders enforcing rights in China, the most common mistake is to apply litigation experience from other countries directly to Chinese litigation. For example, in patent litigation, Chinese courts often decide key infringement issues based on test or appraisal reports, instead of expert declaration from the parties. Therefore, it takes additional preliminary work in order to attend to those Chinse specific issues.
You have provided training and patent mining for clients’ R&D personnel. Can you tell us more about what this approach looked like?
We typically have two ways that we provide such training and mining services. One way is client oriented. If we have built a long-term relationship with a client, we regularly visit them and speak with people in various R&D departments to discuss recent projects. In this way, we can offer our IP services as an integral part of the client’s IP extraction. The other approach is project oriented. This approach is typically tailored for clients’ special products or technology development. Clients invite us to attend intensive brain-storming sessions and we provide views on their ideas to solve the technical issues.
As an IP strategist in Asia, how would you characterise the business landscape, particularly with regard to how it has evolved over the years with respect to IP appreciation and adoption?
IP appreciation and adoption are definitely part of the reason behind China’s business growth. Based on my personal experience, more and more Chinese companies are investing in IP protection and raising their IP awareness. They are more willing to procure IP services involving different aspects of their business.
Jun Qiu’s practice includes IP litigation, patent prosecution, invalidation and dispute resolutions before the CNIPA and the courts and counselling on IP strategies, patent licensing, IP related contracts and patent due diligence. He graduated from Tsinghua University with a bachelors and master’s degree in material sciences and engineering. He also studied and worked at the University of Michigan and graduated from John Marshall Law School with an LLM.