China and SARs - China: Domestic

Firms: enforcement and litigation

Firms: prosecution and strategy

Advance China IP Law Office

A massive 600-person IP firm with branches in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen – as well as a liaison office in San Francisco – Advance China IP Law Office is built on strong foundations. Quality focused yet swift and pragmatic, the firm provides an end-to-end service, from prosecution to enforcement. According to commentators, it is “especially strong in terms of outbound work”, for which it takes an “efficient and systematic” approach. “Its response times are excellent, and it reports everything that needs to be reported. It is also happy to consider fixed fee structures, which makes budgeting easier.” Guangzhou is home to Steven Li, a versatile IP expert who handles patent and trademark matters – including complex litigation – with alacrity. His colleague down the hall is Lucy Zheng, an attentive portfolio manager with a focus on trademark protection overseas.

AFD China Intellectual Property Law Office 

Wowing clients with its responsive, fast and commercially attuned service, compact boutique AFD makes its debut in the WTR 1000 this year. According to one overseas associate: “When we started working with AFD it was like a breath of fresh air – the firm just makes your life easier, and makes you look good in front of your own clients. The team is reliable, easy to deal with and provides useful advice.” Another comments: “We like the care, speed and professionalism with which it handles cases, as well as the good advice and positive results we always obtain.” Praise also abounds for the organisation’s president Xia Zheng: “She provides a top-drawer service and a better quality product than you get from many much larger firms in China. She communicates in exceptionally clear English and shows a deep knowledge of patent and trademark laws in China – a strategic visionary in very complex cases.”

An, Tian, Zhang & Partners

“One of the leading Chinese IP firms”, An, Tian, Zhang & Partners “practices with integrity, is extremely pragmatic and delivers results”. Growing organically over the nearly 20 years of its existence, the firm has retained its culture and style, central to which is sheer efficiency. Willing to invest back into the practice in order to become a smooth-running and cost-effective option, the firm designed its own IP management system, which has since proven to be a boon for patrons. While David Tian is now a trademark all-rounder, he started out in enforcement and his firm continues to be particularly strong on the contentious front. Tian’s meticulous planning and evidence collection techniques, coupled with his strategic foresight, recently secured a win for automotive company Mazda against a former licensee.

AnJie Law Firm

Founded in 2012, AnJie is a relatively new arrival to the IP scene in China but stands out as a “rapidly growing” firm abreast of the latest industry trends. “AnJie has quite a high profile in the industry. Playing host to industry events aside, it has a presence at all the important IP events and seminars taking place in China.” The team dextrously handles trademark prosecution and litigation matters, and proves itself to be particularly effective at tackling bad-faith registrations. Having previously practised as a patent attorney at a top Silicon Valley boutique, Jing He is highly knowledgeable on US-China trademark matters and does a great deal at policy level to facilitate IP business between the two jurisdictions.

Beijing East IP 

For well-rounded trademark solutions, Beijing East IP is a great option. Its size – the firm has 30 trademark attorneys and PRC lawyers together with a 20-strong professional support team – enables it to move much more nimbly than its larger competitors, and provide advice that is more tailored to the specific needs of each client. Liaison offices in Palo Alto, London and Tokyo bring this service to the doorstep of US, European and Japanese companies. Jason Wang has been on a hot streak lately, winning a string of administrative and court litigations for household-name US technology brands. He leads the trademark group by example but takes inspiration from chair Lulin Gao, who was the founding commissioner of the State IP Office of China.

Beijing Janlea Trademark Agency & Co

In demand among well-known foreign and domestic enterprises, Beijing Janlea thrives by providing high-quality strategic counsel at every stage of a brand’s lifecycle. Foreign associates call it “a good, practical firm with a strong focus on trademark prosecution and registry matters” and note its “good relations with the Chinese Trademark Office”. The group has a particular knack for securing well-known status for the Chinese names of famous international brands. Popular among domestic clients, the firm is easily accessible thanks to a generous spread of offices in Guangdong, Sichuan, Fujian, Henan and Qingdao. International department manager Joanne Jiao is a key contact.

Beijing Sanyou Intellectual Property Agency Ltd 

Sanyou IP is on the march and has increased its trademark activities by approximately 50% in the past few years alone; much of this growth has come from heightened demand among the firm’s outstanding domestic client base for trademark protection overseas. With several former trademark examiners on its staff, the team also knows how to sew up protection in China for locals as well as international companies. Trademark group head Lena Shen, for example, has recently been flexing her prosecution skills on behalf of Honda, Time Inc and LG, and putting in artful performances in oppositions, invalidations and cancellations. The China and UK-educated professional is very much a global IP thinker, which makes her advice all the more perspicacious.

CCPIT Patent and Trademark Law Office 

CCPIT is the definition of a Chinese IP powerhouse; it employs nearly 280 patent and trademark attorneys and over 70 lawyers, has several international branch offices – in New York, Tokyo, Munich and Hong Kong – and renders gold-standard guidance on trademark prosecution and portfolio management. The illustrious set has also proved its mettle time and again in administrative litigation on behalf of foreign clients. Gang Hu showed what he could do in a recent case for ExxonMobil that wound its way up from the Trademark Review and Adjudication Board to the Supreme Court. The seasoned Beijing-based all-rounder has a special gift for resolving complex trademark disputes. Also winning WTR 1000 laurels this year is Aimin Huo; companies plagued by counterfeiting problems would be well advised to keep him on speed dial.

Chang Tsi & Partners 

“Exceptional firm” Chang Tsi & Partners is widely admired for the quality of its full-spectrum trademark work. It has an ardent following of US brands and law firms, which recommend its “timely responses to queries, clear and regular updates and reminders, and excellent practical advice”. In addition, many notable Chinese clients have tied their flags to its mast, seeking to benefit from its ability to secure watertight IP safeguards in China and other Asian jurisdictions, including Hong Kong, Taiwan, Mongolia, Laos and Pakistan. Founding partner Spring Chang is a lightning rod for praise from North American sources: “She has outstanding substantive knowledge, is exceptionally responsive, very practical and has a good business sense.” “She gets straight down to the issues and never wastes time.” Managing the organisation is Simon Tsi, a well-connected professional with broad legal experience in and outside intellectual property; best known as a litigator, he is able to carry the day in high-pressure cases with much on the line.

China Patent Agent (HK) Ltd

Internationally minded and internationally recognised, this Hong Kong-based outfit is an IP trailblazer in China. Having evolved with the market since its inception in 1984, the firm understands all the nuances of the country’s trademark system and makes the best use of all available tools to secure superb results for its clients. With 70 lawyers and 30 trademark attorneys, there is nothing it cannot handle; portfolios are maintained with finesse, monetisation opportunities capitalised on, and rights enforced vigorously. Deputy general manager Hong Luo is a good port of contact if you want to explore all that this large organisation can offer. A high-calibre patent and trademark agent – and a seasoned lawyer – he is plugged into the IP scene and knows where the law has been, and where it is going.

China Science Patent & Trademark Agent Ltd

China Science sets the standard in terms of technical proficiency and patent expertise but its rich comprehension of trademark law also marks it out as a go-to for anything brand related. Its tight-knit team of trademark professionals demonstrates a great eye for detail in prosecution and communicates fluently in Mandarin, English and Japanese to its diverse clientele. Juru Sun and Hanmin Sun are the key contacts for interested parties.

China Sinda Intellectual Property Ltd

One of the largest and most reputable boutiques in the country, China Sinda is a reliable guide for global clients making moves in China. The first IP office to become paperless – and a firm with sophisticated docketing software and IT systems – it is hailed for its trademark registration efficiency and pristine handling of large portfolios. The set advises in trademark-adjacent areas – such as brand management, label and packaging design and unfair competition law – in order to serve up holistic solutions to complex problems. Senior partner and vice president of the firm, Xiang An oversees the trademark practice. She has practised in the brands area throughout her career and her profound knowledge touches on every nuance of Chinese trademark law.

Chofn Intellectual Property

“Chofn is a hugely responsive firm, full of capable and committed attorneys who give practical advice and speak clear English. It delivers great results in a notoriously difficult market.” The cost-effective, prosecution-focused outfit has a robust national practice and “an impressive business not just in the top commercial centres, but in second and third-tier cities” – its network encompasses no fewer than 17 offices. Managing partner Tingxi Huo keeps the engine running smoothly. He has authored prominent texts on trademark law, taken to the podium to deliver speeches at home and abroad and acted for famous global brands, all of which marks him out as an authority in the field.

Fangda Partners

A powerhouse in the contentious area, Fangda wins plaudits for its anti-counterfeiting potency and resonant courtroom performances. “It takes care of all the little details and devotes all necessary resources to a case in order to bring about successful outcomes.” The firm runs a pan-China practice from offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Hong Kong. Tenacious advocate Gordon Gao has fought, and won, some highly influential battles; he recently prevailed for Michael Jordan at the Supreme People’s Court in the Qiaodan case. Dixon Zhang is another esteemed trademark and all-round IP litigator with several annual top-10 wins to his name; flexing unrivalled transactional skills, he is also a key commercial partner to clients.

Ferrante Intellectual Property

“Ferrante provides a great service – it always responds quickly with the best solutions, and is very customer oriented”. Newly minted in the WTR 1000 this year, the firm “works to very high standards but charges reasonable rates”. Clients are effusive in their praise: “It gives detailed and accurate legal explanations while focusing on the business aspects of an issue, then renders timely, tailored solutions and vital all-round support.” Thanks to the US and European backgrounds of many staff members, the team thinks globally and brings international best practices into play in China. Founder and managing partner Michele Ferrante, a fluent speaker of Italian, English, French and Spanish, has over two decades of IP experience in Asia. “He analyses problems with a wide commercial lens, is proactive in terms of getting to understand his clients’ businesses and committed to identifying and executing the best strategies.” “Extremely reliable and rigorous in his work, he is also very knowledgeable about and very well connected in China.”

HongFangLaw

“The HFL team provides unique and creative strategic solutions on issues around the prosecution and enforcement of trademarks, especially for US companies. It communicates clearly and translates high-level, complex legal issues in a way that is easy for clients to understand, and has a great deal of experience to capitalise on.” The Guangzhou-headquartered ensemble has branches in Beijing and Shanghai, and a six-partner team that utilises sophisticated data-analysis tools to get the best results. Commanding in the fight against fakes, the team also showcases a deft touch in civil infringement law suits; it recently secured compensation for Diageo in a dispute against Yantai Hengde Winery based on the infringement of a Johnnie Walker mark. Managing partner Nikita Xue is lauded as an “extraordinarily proficient, experienced and driven IP attorney”. “Extremely professional, courteous and responsive, she is an expert on IP infringement and anti-counterfeiting procedures in China. She has an extensive network of contacts for conducting investigations and handling seizures, knows the workings of the courts from inside out and how to manoeuvre with the greatest efficiency.”

IntellecPro 

Beijing’s IntellecPro appears to be in finefettle and has had a busy year. It recently entered into a partnership with Shanghai-based Han Sheng Law Offices in order to extend its geographical reach. In addition, it promoted a new partner, Wenjuan Liu, to take care of its growing base of foreign clients, landed some significant new clients and continues to cultivate its foreign associate network better to service domestic companies, which are increasingly filing abroad. As testament to the close relationships it maintains with patrons, the trademark team is often called in at an early stage to advise on brand names and logo designs; it then stays the course for the trademark lifecycle, seeing to the successful registration of rights and putting in flawless performances in administrative litigations. As IP infringers become more sophisticated, so too has IntellecPro’s enforcement team, which is at its best in complex multi-layered suits involving different categories of IP right. Managing partner Hu Qi is an important contact.

JunHe LLP

JunHe is a powerful full-service law firm with nearly 700 professionals in its ranks; despite these impressive numbers, it prioritises craftsmanship and focuses intently on the quality of its legal guidance. The firm’s IP team maintains the esprit de corps in this regard, providing a tailored, results-oriented service to a host of multinationals. These include Ferrero, which it is assisting on trademark monitoring and administrative proceedings, as well as BMW and Stokke, for which it recently handled oppositions. The set’s success rate when it comes to obtaining well-known status for famous international marks is worthy of special mention. Providing inspiring leadership to the team is Chumeng (Jessica) Xu, who is currently representing Shenzhen Zhenai Networks Information and Technology in the widely followed Fei Cheng Wu case, which involves complex issues concerning trademark use, reverse confusion and conflicts between different IP rights. She heads the trademark department together with Qiang Ma, another practitioner at the cutting edge. One source comments: “There are no international or Chinese brand lawyers I would trust more than Qiang Ma. He is a practical and solutions-oriented counsellor with years of experience who delivers critical value in an age in which many multinational companies are fighting for brand rights and addressing counterfeiting in China.” He recently bagged Rmb2 million – the statutory upper limit – in damages for BMW at the Shanghai IP Court against three infringers. Favourable references also flood in for IP, competition and dispute resolution ace Tao Sun, who “excels in all kinds of trademark work”. “Tailored to the client’s needs, goals and risk tolerance, his analysis is thoughtful, detailed, complete, and on-point. If you need expedited and detailed analysis on large projects, Tao and his team deliver the goods in a timely fashion.”

Kangxin Partners PC

Beijing and international firm Kangxin is all about quality and efficiency – it is ISO 9001 certified, deploys sophisticated technological systems which maintain the highest standards in both its portfolio management and enforcement efforts, and provides exceptionally vigorous training for its staff. Serving a predominantly international client base, the group advises holistically on brands, rather than focusing narrowly on trademark law. Gloria Wu is the key contact for anything brand related. A percipient counsellor with a rigorously commercial and international mindset, Wu has had a busy year: she successfully acted for Bulgari on an important invalidation action, which provides further guidance on the criteria for well-known status, while also working her magic for Dentsu and SATA GmBH & Co, among many others. Samson Gang Yu, the managing partner, is another name to note; thanks to his dexterity in all IP fields and his blend of prosecution, counselling, transactional and litigation expertise, he acts as a one-man, one-stop shop. Additional litigation firepower comes from former judge Mike Chen. For foreign clients looking to make sense of enforcement in China, Aaron Hurvitz is the man to call.

King & Wood Mallesons

A muscular full-service law firm – but one which can provide highly specialised, comprehensive and international trademark services – King & Wood Mallesons is a rare breed. A one-stop brands shop for the most sophisticated and discerning global companies, it is dead set on quality and has the advanced management systems – and outstanding professionals – to deliver on its promises. The presence of Xiaoli Yang is a compelling reason to come here; she can turn the tide in her client’s favour in any protection or enforcement scenario, thanks to her experience and creativity. She recently took the lead in an administrative litigation for General Electric, ultimately achieving well-known status for the company’s GE mark. Jiuchu Lin deserves commendation for his work on administrative cases; he achieved a similar result on behalf of Salvatore Ferragamo. Head of department Fei Liao is another professional with an eye for practical solutions. For this reason, clients like to field him in a broad role; he has handled registrations, oppositions and invalidations for NetEase Information Technology, and also served as a general counsellor to the company. Litigation troopers include Yusheng Shi and Zhongsheng Li – both robust and tactically smart advocates.

Lawjay Partners

Best known for its anti-counterfeiting wizardry, Lawjay Partners is the darling of many top foreign law firms and international fashion houses. In hot demand, the firm has opened two new offices in Guangzhou and Shanghai to extend its enforcement reach. “Highly effective and a leader in the fight against fakes”, James Luo has “an in-depth understanding of the courts and is a frequent fixture in important trademark infringement cases”. Considered a thought leader, he sits on the Supreme Court’s IP Case Law Centre experts committee.

LexField Law Offices 

“LexField is a valuable strategic and business-savvy partner to have on your side. It produces excellent work across the trademark spectrum and has an impressive depth of expertise and knowledge.” One source comments: “This firm is a true gem because it takes a resolutely practical and results-oriented approach. In addition to standard trademark registration and classic enforcement, the team is committed to achieving our commercial goals and has helped us develop and execute creative and effective protection strategies for all of our key brands. LexField’s internet savvy has also been instrumental in enabling us to navigate domain and keyword issues ever since they first emerged in China.” Former CCPIT trademark director and the founding partner of King & Wood Mallesons’ IP department, Jan Liu is an influential figure and the lynchpin of the group. “She is a stellar attorney and business partner and her expertise, creativity, persistence and practical problem-solving skills are phenomenal. She is also a talented firm manager who has put together an outstandingly capable team.” A key member of this is Hairuo Zhang, an IP litigator with a wealth of experience on cross-border IP and unfair competition cases. The former Baker McKenzie senior associate joined LexField in 2016 as a partner and makes her debut appearance in the WTR 1000 this year.

Lifang & Partners

“Lifang has a highly capable team and is adept at dealing with the thorniest legal issues. It consistently achieves your legal and business objectives in a timely and cost-effective manner. The work ethic, tact, rich experience and strategic insight of its professionals deserves great credit.” Ingenious litigators Bin Zhang and Guanbin Xie have been representing Shanghai Canxing Culture & Media in the highly charged Voice of China dispute. Zhang is a force to be reckoned in the sphere of online trademark infringement; “Xie’s profound knowledge and extensive experience enables him to carry out the most incisive analyses. Demonstrating an acute business understanding, he comes up with suggestions and methods in line with clients’ long term interests. His amazing attention to detail minimises subsequent risk exposure”. Another trademark sharpshooter, Yajun Huang spent eight years at the Chinese Trademark Office and knows its workings like the back of his hand.

Liu, Shen & Associates

Liu, Shen & Associates – a combination of trademark agency and law firm – is “one of the most reputable IP outfits in the country”. The firm has been devising and executing strategic soft IP solutions for over two decades and performs its client service role in a “highly responsible and professional manner”. Lawyer Lily Lei and trademark attorney Yuguang Wei are the key contacts for interested parties.

Lung Tin Intellectual Property Agent Ltd 

Lung Tin was one of the first Chinese IP firms to win government approval for representing international clients in China. The Beijing outfit – which has several domestic branches, in addition to bureaux in Hong Kong, Osaka and New York – delivers crisp results via a team of academically gifted, talented, well-trained and experienced lawyers. “Lung Tin is a reputable and top-notch firm which you can entrust with any prosecution or enforcement tasks, and its service across the board is of the highest grade.” Using her Japanese language skills, Di (Deland) Wu has cultivated a loyal following of Japanese clients, who find her easy to communicate with. She sews up registration matters with a minimum of bother, blending strong transactional expertise into her prosecution practice.

NTD Intellectual Property Attorneys 

“NTD was one of the first firms in China to offer a broad spectrum of IP services and, bring responsive and reliable, it has done an excellent job for its clients since 1987.” The Beijing-headquartered firm has branches in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Tokyo, Paris and New Jersey and can advise clients in Japanese, German, French and English; as such, it is a popular port of call for international brand owners in need of rigorous advice in China. Aidi Ge and Christopher Shen are responsible for many of the set’s top client accounts. Head of trademarks Ge is praised for her “clear and dependable advice”; Shen is admired as a “cogent advocate and IP strategist”.

Panawell & Partners LLC 

Initially serving Chinese research and tertiary institutions, Panawell & Partners has come a long way and now acts for a glittering array of domestic and international companies. “Panawell is more practical than others and does not simply relay the trademark office’s opinion to you. It is good at thinking outside the box and coming up with innovative solutions to the most difficult problems.” The versatile William Yang is a name to note; he is an adroit prosecutor, enforcer and deal broker.

Shanghai Patent & Trademark Law Office LLC

The “historic” Shanghai Patent & Trademark Law Office presents a “fundamentally sound” prosecution package to the domestic and international marketplace. Offices in Beijing and Hong Kong – as well as an extensive and carefully cultivated network of foreign associates – make it a one-stop shop for all filing needs internationally.

Tiantai Law Firm

Commercial player Tiantai litigates with forceful precision in the IP arena; that said, it has no problem dialling it down to negotiate peaceful out-of-court resolutions. In addition to fielding broad and deep trademark expertise, the firm provides trenchant advice on unfair competition law and trade secret issues, too.

Unitalen Attorneys at Law 

Unitalen has just about the widest combined domestic and international geographic spread of any firm in China; it has 22 offices locally, plus branches in Tokyo, Osaka, San Francisco and Munich. “The firm has strong roots and a stable foundation, and maintains a very healthy prosecution practice.” Ying Huang is one of its best and brightest trademark agents. However, the firm is not just a prolific filer; it has a deep well of dispute resolution experience to call on, encompassing trademark, unfair competition and trade dress actions. A director within the international department, Ray Zhao is a familiar and popular name on the world IP stage; European sources call him “an excellent lawyer with vast Chinese trademark law experience”. He generously shares his knowledge through extensive speaking and writing engagements and always has fresh insights from which others can learn. Senior partner Dan Chen also elevates the international IP discussion, regularly taking to the podium to speak on China issues in diverse international associations; incidentally, she was the first Chinese lawyer to serve on the European Communities Trademark Association anti-counterfeiting committee. In the words of one top-tier London firm: “Dan is our first recommendation for trademark work – she is meticulous and thorough and can be trusted to take care of the largest portfolios.”

Wanhuida Peksung 

Wan Hui Da’s merger with PEKSUNG has created a firm with over 400 IP professionals; 107 of these are lawyers who litigate, while 98 are trademark attorneys. With this cavernous chest of resources, which includes some 30 in-house investigators, there is nothing this side cannot achieve in the trademark area. The firm earns equal praise from commentators for its prosecution prowess as for its enforcement credentials. In particular, “it shines when dealing with novel or unusual matters – it has tried new points of law in many cases, and always left a great impression”. As a recent example, the team secured judicial protection for the shape of Chivas’s Royal Salute bottle. Senior partner Hui Huang always has plenty of interesting matters on his plate; he is currently representing the Institut National De L’Origine et de la Qualité in an invalidation action targeting a copycat French geographical indication. Deeply into the theory, “he is the person to call if you have an interesting case that requires intensive studies”. Another senior partner who more than earns her WTR 1000 laurels, Haiyan Ren is the most experienced trademark attorney here; a versatile operator with precision prosecution skills, she also brings the hammer down on counterfeiters.

Zhong Lun Law Firm

With offices in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, Zhong Lun has one of the largest US presences of any Chinese firms – in fact, it has one of the best international networks, with a presence in London, Hong Kong and Tokyo. Easy to reach and easy to cooperate with, the firm has an ardent following of foreign associates and international clients who appreciate its full-scope trademark capability, rapid services and high standards. It is also hugely popular as a pathfinder for Chinese companies going international. Interviewees rave about Jimmy Huang, “an innovative and learned trademark attorney with a great ability to resolve international conflicts”. One foreign lawyer comments: “We had a client considering priority filing in China – the deadline was coming up and at the last minute they decided to go ahead. We sent an urgent email to Jimmy – he responded immediately, gave us all the information we needed, and took control of the situation. He is just a really pragmatic guy; his English is excellent, too.”

Zhongzi Law Office

A highly respected player in the patent space, Zhongzi “excels in soft IP litigation” too. “Constantly up to date on all relevant laws and technology developments”, the trademark team “puts its knowledge to use to provide good, practical guidance”. It wins further plaudits for its “premium service” and “total commitment to clients”. Xuemin Chen understands the finer points of trademark law, and brings domain name and geographic indications expertise to the party; he is also a prolific author.

ZY Partners 

Seeing regular action in courts around the country, as well as the Supreme People’s Court, ZY Partners has honed its trial skills to a keen edge and is widely considered a formidable IP enforcement and litigation firm which “wins difficult cases”. However, on either side of the contentious/non-contentious divide, it gives “thoughtful and considered advice” and is “extremely efficient and effective”. “Simply a great advocate” is the verdict on “impressive lawyer” Hui Zhang. “She knows the court system through and through.” Staying cool no matter how high the stakes get, Jingbing Li is another persuasive presenter when it comes to IP and commercial cases.

Other recommended experts

Admitted to the Shanghai International Arbitration Centre as an arbitrator, HFG Law & Intellectual Property’s Fabio Giacopello is at the forefront of alternative dispute resolution in China. A tenacious enforcer, Yunze Lian fronts the Hylands Law Firm IP department. Guizeng (Wayne) Liu is the founding partner of Yuanhe United Intellectual Property. He is a litigation and enforcement strategist par excellence, and a prosecution and transactional sage to boot. Chaoyang Wang was formerly head of the prosecution department at Fangda Partners. He now leads the line at AZIMARC .

Individuals: enforcement and litigation

Individuals: prosecution and strategy

Luminaries

  • Lulin Gao - Beijing East IP