China and SARs: China: Domestic

This year has been a busy one for China. It kicked off with the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic that led to lockdowns in multiple cities, although the China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) quickly resumed service windows on 3 February and encouraged online services. By June, the number of filed trademarks had increased by 25% compared to the same period in 2019, bringing the total number of valid trademarks in the country to over 27 million. Unsurprisingly, some of the most prolific filers during the first six months of 2020 came from the healthcare industry, especially since the CNIPA launched a fast-track process to streamline applications for new business projects and those related to restarting work and production. Nonetheless, the top corporate filers of 2019 were from the tech sector, namely Huawei (which is also the country’s top Madrid filer), Tencent and Alibaba. As well as keeping a watchful eye on bad-faith trademark filings – the CNIPA remains determined to curb illegal IP activity in the IP profession and swiftly doles out punishment to malicious filers – the Chinese government is committed towards improving the local IP landscape and protecting foreign IP rights. For instance, the Supreme People’s Court ruled in favour of Under Armour, a landmark decision that defied the general trend and signals that such outcomes could become more common. It also invalidated two logo marks in a significant victory for New Balance. Over in Shandong Province, the geographical indication collective trademark BORDEAUX was successfully enforced in a civil lawsuit. The authorities are talking a good game too, with the State Administration for Market Regulation issuing its 2020 IP Rights Enforcement Action Plan in April 2020, while the Beijing Higher People’s Court published new guidelines for assessing damages in IP cases. In an effort to keep up with the newfound popularity of livestream e-commerce – particularly as a new avenue to sell counterfeit and replica goods – the authorities are addressing legal gaps and introducing regulations to this area. However, counterfeiting remains a serious problem, with the launch of new Chinese shipping agents, such as Sugargoo, targeting Western buyers of counterfeit goods. On the global front, despite the ongoing US-China trade war, the United States remains the top foreign destination for trademark and Madrid applicants from China. The USPTO also saw, for the first time ever, Chinese filings overtake domestic US filings. The EUIPO is witnessing a similar trend – by September 2020, Chinese companies had surpassed their German counterparts to become the number one source of EU trademark applications, a 150% increase compared to 2019.

Firms: enforcement and litigation

Firms: prosecution and strategy

Advance China IP Law Office 

A go-to for the full suite of trademark services in China, Advance China IP Law Office enjoys a fantastic reputation among foreign associates. “We find in them an effective combination of a high standard of quality and a reasonable cost. They offer tailormade services quickly and efficiently. The firm is certainly amongst the best in their jurisdiction.” “They are excellent practitioners who provide cost-effective and business-oriented advice.” “Besides providing prompt answers and trying to do what is best for their clients, they always make it easy to reach them, even on the phone and despite the time difference.” IP litigators Steven Li and Lucy Zheng successfully represented Huawei Technologies in its review of refusal and trademark opposition matters. Over in Shenzhen, deputy director of trademarks Cathy Liu is “a dedicated legal professional who is extremely knowledgeable in her field. She handles all legal queries promptly and with extreme attention, providing comprehensive and reliable advice at all times after preliminary research and dude diligence of the legal implications from all angles.” Senior associate Yalin Jiao is one to watch: “Yalin is extremely knowledgeable, pleasant to work with and devoted to her clients.  Most importantly, she is responsive and always strives to find a solution to our problems.”

AFD China Intellectual Property Law Office 

AFD China Intellectual Property Law Office may have a small team of nine trademark professionals – of whom eight are women – but it counts among its clients some of the most famous multinationals in the world. The firm prides itself on its robust internal training programme and high expectations. No wonder foreign associates laud it for providing “timely, focused advice with suggested solutions that are helpfully detailed for the problems encountered”. With more than 30 years of IP experience under her belt, Xia Zheng is the “super responsive” leader presiding over the outfit.

AnJie Law Firm 

Despite having been dealt a severe blow by the departures of Jerry Xia, Jing He and Steve Zhao, Anjie Law Firm maintains its IP offering through a compact team of IP professionals. Former judge Qinghui (Nick) Liu is a name for the address book.

Beijing East IP Ltd 

With over 30 trademark attorneys at law and Chinese lawyers, Beijing East IP Ltd is manned by “a terrific group of professionals, who are strong writers and communicators, reasonably priced and who stick to their budgets”. “Incredibly responsive and thorough, East IP has helped us to evolve our strategy.” The firm’s predominantly foreign clientele includes famous brands such as Adobe Systems Incorporated, Verizon Media Group and S&P Global. Facebook even awarded it Best Local Counsel Award last year. Managing partner Jason Wang keeps a watchful eye over the side. His colleague Yan Zhang recently obtained well-known trademark status for Cisco Systems, and also represented McDonald’s Corporation in administrative litigation cases. Clients turn to Yanfang Fu for her “astute negotiation skills”. “She is super responsive and clearly sets forth the options and budgets with recommendations. She has achieved terrific results in thorny trademark disputes.”

Beijing Janlea Trademark Agency & Co

Established in 1995, Beijing Janlea Trademark Agency & Co represents foreign companies such as Kimberly-Clark, McCormick, ABB and Budweiser for their trademark prosecution needs. Joanne Jiao specialises in incoming matters from Europe and the United States, whereas her colleagues Emily Cai and Regina Feng take on overseas trademark matters with aplomb.

Beijing Sanyou Intellectual Property Agency Ltd

For “personalised and excellent assistance” in every type of IP matter, clients flock to Beijing Sanyou Intellectual Property Agency Ltd. “We are very satisfied with their professional capacity and client-oriented service.” “By fully understanding the peculiarities of our business in China, they always provide practical and commercially sensible advice, rather than just a dry statement of the legal position. Their attention to detail also meant that we rectified a detail across our entire portfolio of marks, something which I seriously doubt we would have spotted without their intervention and may have become an issue in future.” “The firm handles IP infringement cases with an extreme level of creativity with very good results. They are not just clear, transparent and reliable, they will go the extra mile for the client.” Unsurprisingly, the “very professional and experienced” team is assisting the likes of Yili Group, Honda and British Telecom, “consistently meeting client needs for a one-stop service provider”. “Very quick to understand problems and proactive in obtaining trademark protection,” Lena Shen is noted for her “local expertise and practice trademark advice”. “I can count on Lena to deliver excellent, professional trademark advice.” “Her knowledge, dedication and perseverance are phenomenal.” Yakai Shi garners fervent praise from corporates and foreign associates alike. “Always demonstrating a high level of professional knowledge, excellent communication skills and perseverance in difficult situations, Yakai has brought us very good results in China.” “Yakai and his team have such a great client service mindset and a strong sense of responsibility. We trust them a lot. He always puts the client’s need at first priority and thinks from their perspective to provide creative ideas and effective solutions. His rich experience, solid theoretical knowledge and good professionalism have won us one victory after another.” He is recognised not only for providing top legal services for many world-renowned brands, but also for being passionate about serving and supporting start-ups. “He enjoys watching start-ups like us develop quickly – he provided a tailored, comprehensive and detailed IP protection plan that considered our business model and brand characteristics.”

CCPIT Patent & Trademark Law Office 

One of the first IP firms established in China, CCPIT Patent & Trademark Law Office also lays claim to being among the largest, with 294 patent and trademark attorneys who provide comprehensive trademark services delivered through high-quality work at reasonable and competitive rates. Chinese clients cannot help but sing their praises. “Professional and responsible, the trademark team actively supports our business, with careful analysis of difficult cases to provide a detailed solution.” “They communicate clearly and professionally, writing in a way that is easy to understand and accurate. The firm is not just an IP agency that does its best to handle IP cases but it acts as a trustworthy IP steward, making clients feel at ease by considering problems from their perspective.” Gang Hu is a senior trademark practitioner, who specialises in both litigation and the settlement of difficult and complex trademark cases. He has successfully represented many internationally well-known companies in protecting their trademark interests and obtaining well-known trademark recognition. Aimin Huo and Yuncheng Li provide top-notch support for Hu on the trademark prosecution front.

Chang Tsi & Partners 

Chang Tsi & Partners is a highly-effective one-stop solution for Chinese IP matters. “It has the unique ability to translate the Chinese legal system for US IP owners and it really helps that they have representatives in the United States to help communicate between US clients and Chinese attorneys.” “Having provided me with excellent advice and work product with extremely fast turnaround times, they gained my full confidence very quickly. I give them the absolute strongest of recommendations, particularly for any US-based attorney looking for excellence in bilingual trademark counsel in China.” The side has burnished its reputation for excellence and is known for being “prompt, proactive, responsive and precise” in handling clients’ IP portfolios.” Chang Tsi & Partners was instrumental in achieving Under Armour’s success before the Supreme People’s Court this year. Spring Chang and Simon Tsi make a formidable husband and wife team. While Chang focuses on anti-counterfeiting, Tsi sets his sights on other contentious matters. “Besides being excellent, incredibly responsive and capable, Spring is an extraordinarily caring person.” Working closely with Tsi, Michael Fu is “very knowledgeable, practical, responsive and creative in his approach”. Lilian Qiu represented Vans in an administrative litigation matter, while Ason Zhang helped Levi Strauss & Co. in a trademark infringement case. Nancy Qu and Runjun Sun round off the set with their expertise in the trademark enforcement and prosecution space respectively.

China Patent Agent (HK) Ltd

“A firm with a long history in intellectual property,” China Patent Agent (HK) is laser-focused on prosecuting trademarks for an overwhelmingly foreign clientele, including Praxir Technology, Optoro, Moschino and Dowa International Limited. The outfit works closely with foreign associates on incoming mandates. As one of them puts it: “Over the years, we have experienced the firm’s great expertise, professionalism and helpfulness, which has turned the working relationship between our firms into a collaboration grounded in trust and exchange. Not only is the team always ready to help and assist with trademark matters, they can also deal with extremely difficult cases.” Through a group of 34 trademark attorneys, China Patent Agent (HK) filed more than 8,000 trademark applications over the past year. With a career in intellectual property spanning over 35 years, Hong Luo has “substantial experience in trademark practice”. Justin Tao Jiang completes the set – using his considerable experience in trademark litigation to best advantage, he recently represented Praxair Technology in an opposition matter. Nicole Yu deserves a mention too: “A very nice person with a consolidated experience in trademark matters, Nicole is very keen on providing detailed reports and proposing efficient strategies. She is always incredibly available to reply to specific questions. It is so nice to work with her!”

China Science Patent & Trademark Agent Ltd

With branches in Japan, France and the United States, as well as lawyers fluent in English and Japanese, China Science Patent & Trademark Agent is dedicated to providing seamless trademark services across more than 20 jurisdictions. Vice president Xinhua Wang is a name to have on speed dial.

China Sinda Intellectual Property Ltd

Working closely with IP firms in more than 100 countries across the world, China Sinda Intellectual Property Ltd has handled more than 150,000 trademark cases since its establishment in 1995. Through services rendered in multiple languages, including English, Japanese, German, Korean and French, the IP boutique assists Fortune 500 companies to protect their IP rights in China. Senior partner Gary Zhang is a good first port of call.

Fangda Partners

For multinational companies looking for “a top Chinese firm to handle very complex trademark infringement matters, with the ability to understand the industry and great communication skills”, look no further than Fangda Partners. “We have entrusted them with our most high-prolife and high-stake IP litigations and IP transactional projects, some of which are first impression cases in China.”  Expert IP litigato Alexandra (Pu) Yang is recognised by clients as the right choice to provide excellent legal service. “Not only can she communicate effectively and strategise on the case, she understands the importance and implications for the company.” “Alex has extensive experience with various Chinese courts and she always comes up with the strategy that best serves the client’s interests.” “Alex is the best strategist I have ever worked with and there is no doubt she is the best IP litigator in China.” Together with US-qualified Gordon Gao, she has represented Ralph Lauren in over a hundred litigation proceedings before multiple courts and was instrumental in developing a comprehensive IP enforcement strategy to seek injunctive orders and obtain Rmb70 million in damages. Fellow IP litigator Dixon Zhang has also had a busy year, advising Metso Corporation in a trademark and unfair competition civil action at the Shanghai Pudong Court.

Ferrante Intellectual Property 

Ferrante Intellectual Property is known for being able to see things from a business point of view and for going the extra mile to find a customised solution. “With a very good mix of European and Chinese professionals, the firm’s case management is a smooth process with a good understanding of business needs. They are also extremely proactive and do not need continuous input from the client.” “The team has in-depth knowledge of the Chinese market dynamics and the Chinese legal system, as well as a global perspective of IP management.” “Given their international mindset, they can easily deal with foreign clients. They are also all very approachable, easy to reach and available to discuss ongoing work.” Clients further point out that the IP boutique has an “active approach to IP rights enforcement that is “very effective in achieving its goals” and “efficient in terms of brand protection” for a reasonable cost. Foreign associates cannot help but chime in too. “We appreciate the high level of service offered, especially the consistently prompt and accurate responses. They follow up regularly on every case too. Their recommendations are always commercially astute.” “The legal team truly goes above and beyond to protect our clients’ interests and are always prepared to assist us on urgent matters that require immediate action.” Founder Michele Ferrante is known for being both reliable and a professional to his fingertips. “A true expert on the law and practice of IP protection in China, Michele is extremely knowledgeable.” James Wang takes the lead on contentious matters. “A very forward-looking counsel, James has helped us to build up a consistent and strong IP strategy. Courts recognise our brand position, thanks to him.” Head of anti-counterfeiting Felice Meli is another “very competent” IP professional. “He is very skilled and pays great attention to detail. We really appreciate his ability to build and implement sound strategies for prosecution and anti-counterfeiting.” “Felice joining the partnership adds a fresh air, and is a testimony to the firm’s steady growth and ambition.”

Foridom IP Law Firm 

On the back of enthusiastic client praise, Shanghai-based Foridom IP Law Firm breaks into the WTR 1000 this year. With a one-stop shop approach – covering everything from trademark applications to administrative litigation – it is experienced in all aspects of IP rights protection. “The team is very professional in the field of intellectual property. Every response is meticulous and ready-friendly.” With 30 trademark and copyright attorneys on hand, the IP boutique is a fan favourite among Chinese companies. Founding partner Wiky Wang has over 15 years of experience in the IP field, and peers acknowledge that that he is “familiar with technology IP legal affairs and broker business as well as capitalisation of intellectual property”. “Through divergent thinking, Wiky has helped us to overcome very difficult cases.” Making her way into the enforcement and litigation table this year is Sophia Chen, who worked with Wang to represent Juneyao Ailines in a trademark administrative matter at the Beijing Municipal High People’s Court. “Very proactive in her work, Sophia patiently and promptly responds to our queries. Not only is she highly professional, she has in-depth knowledge about trademarks and provides suitable and comprehensive IP protection strategies based on our specific circumstances and business goals. She provides advice and helps us to think from a broader perspective.”

GoldenGate Lawyers 

Although IP boutique GoldenGate Lawyers serves a largely foreign client base – including the likes of Informa UK, Corelle Brands and Columbia Sportswear Company – it also dishes out advice to domestic giants such as Lenovo Beijing for its overseas trademark applications and overall strategy. “They don’t just provide information but guidance; and are honest even though it is not polite to have an opinion different from the client.” Founder Tim Meng is a New York-qualified lawyer, who excels in trademark prosecution and strategy alongside Linda Zhao. Foreign associates enjoy working with Bruce Fu too: “I have always found Bruce easy to deal with, very knowledgeable and responsive. He is above all practical and appreciative of the client’s commercial objectives.” All three were involved in obtaining Rmb1 million in damages for the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company in a trademark infringement and unfair competition suit against Dandong Riz-Carlsen Hotel Co, Ltd.

Han Kun Law Offices

Making its first appearance in the WTR 1000 on the back of effusive client praise, Han Kun Law Offices joins its peers in the prosecution and enforcement tables. “The service we have been receiving for litigation matters is at a high standard, and the quality remains the same once the firm started to handle most of our prosecution files early this year. They are efficient, discreet and professional.” “I am most impressed by the professionalism and quick responses of the trademark team. They provide a comprehensive and clear analysis of our needs from multiple perspectives beyond trademarks alone.” WTR 1000 debutante Cecily Dong has 12 years of experience in the trademark field, during which she has advised both foreign and domestic entities including Chapter 4 Corp and Baidu Online Network Technology. Clients also single out Vivian He for praise: “A highly devoted and talented IP professional with rich litigation experience and manages client relationships well.”

HongFangLaw 

Focused on serving foreign clients and foreign law firms, HongFangLaw delivers results with “high cost performance”. With a team numbering over 60, the IP boutique is “highly efficient and comprehensive in problem solving. They also provide, and sometimes even volunteer, their own resources in the industry for our cases, which always helps a lot especially in complicated matters.” Nikita Xue has a reputation for excellence and is a firm favourite among foreign associates. “What I value most about Nikita is her responsiveness to inquiries, and the practical knowledge and strategy that she applies to those inquiries, regardless of what area of trademarks they pertain to. Since she is very familiar with how the trademark system works in China, she and her firm have everything in trademarks covered.” “Nikita is awesome – she is always responsive, cost-efficient and thorough. She is one of our go-to counsel in China!” IP litigators Eric Su and Xu Zhang have been kept busy representing foreign clients in contentious matters. While Su assisted Diageo Brands in an administrative litigation, as well as Treasury Wine Estates in a civil litigation for trademark infringement, Zhang helped ABB in criminal litigation proceedings. “Eric is practical and responsive. He also understands the nature of business and he is willing to communicate with counsels.” Tiger Zhao deserves a mention too: “Besides delivering answer and proposed solutions usually within 24 hours, she has a great success rate. She is very practical and easy to work with.”

IntellecPro 

Founded in 1998, IntellecPro has been growing its domestic client base while advising global companies on trademark rights protection in China. Through a 44-strong trademark team stationed across China and in Tokyo, the IP boutique provides “professional, positive and informative services”. In addition, it has just finalised a strategic alliance with the Beijing branch of Hansheng Law Firm to share client resources. Founder Qi Hu is the trusted advisor of international giants such as Align Technology, Apple and Pepsi. Armed with 13 years of experience in IP law, Tian-ying Zhao recently represented Entertainment One UK Limited in a case regarding criminal enforcement of trademark rights against a Chinese company.

Jiaquan IP Law  

Guangzhou-based Jiaquan IP Law makes its first appearance in the WTR 1000 following stellar praise from foreign associates. “Jiaquan responds promptly to inquiries and offers meaningful recommendations on overcoming obstacles. Not only are they genuinely interested in developing a relationship with attorneys in other jurisdictions, they are willing to discuss legal or business matters in a collaborative fashion and offer insightful and constructive comments. If necessary, they will provide advice regarding issues that may be unique to Chinese law and point out potential problems.” “The team is thorough and well-informed, with excellent English language skills. Clear and competitive cost estimates are given too, and they offer preliminary advice without charge to assist clients in finalising their trademark strategy.” Assisting with all sorts of trademark matters for clients of all stripes is a diverse team of more than 80 trademark professionals, which include many stand-out individuals. Managers of the international department Mango Peng and Jady Xu are recognised for their “responsiveness, proactive representation and constant communications” and “high-quality trademark work” respectively. “Mango clearly takes pride in her work, including checking in with very detailed and strategic advice. With her, our results have been solid. She is an associate I feel very comfortable trusting with our most recognised clients and brands. She is a pleasure to work with.” “Jady always answers our inquiries very quickly and gives good background information for our clients.” Trademark attorney Hailey Liang also provides “good service through strong professionalism and practical ideas”. With Peng, Liang recently represented Jeffree Star in an administrative dispute case at the CNIPA. IP counsel Paul Yu may be “very young, but he is well-experienced, curious, empathetic and smart”. “We appreciate his speed in executing matters and precise analysis of IP problems.” His colleague Lamia Xu also “consistently provides outstanding legal advice and highly quality trademark work. Extremely bright and very reliable, Lamia is always prompt in responding to queries. Her recommendations are thorough, concise and clear. She has quickly become one of our favourite foreign counsels and our go-to Chinese counsel for trademark matters.”

Jincheng Tongda & Neal

Founded in 1992, Jincheng Tongda & Neal has quickly expanded to more than 12 offices across China. Its IP practice serves both domestic and foreign entities, largely in the high-tech industry, including Knowles Electric, NucTech and Tsinghua University. Senior partner Ying Zhang is deputy director of the Trademark Law Committee of the Beijing Lawyers’ Association.

JunHe LLP

JunHe is an internationally recognised general law firm known for offering high-quality and cost-effective services. “Their communication and attention to detail are excellent and their fees are fair. The team is extremely responsive and very clear in their explanation of proceedings, providing useful counsel and advice. Not only are their recommendations easily understood by clients, they are often able to offer additional insight into matters when responding to questions.” Captain of the trademark team Chumeng (Jessica) Xu has been lead counsel in many high-profile trademark litigation cases in China. She has extensive experience in the country’s trademark law and foreign associates rely on her for their clients’ trademark needs. “Jessica makes it easy to understand the complex Chinese trademark system, providing reliable guidance on how to best achieve the client’s commercial objects. Her quality strategic and commercial advice and service – which is also prompt, easily understood and reasonably priced – is much appreciated in a market where that can be difficult to find.” “Jessica fulfils our need for a counsel to provide in-depth legal services and overall strategy. She’s a very diligent, professional and reliable partner with forward-looking perspective, who always looks at problems from the client’s angle to provide the most comprehensive, cost-effective, efficient and quality solutions and suggestions.” Another “brilliant and valuable” trademark practitioner, Tao Sun garners high praise too. As a foreign associate puts it: “He impresses me with his never-failing timeliness and responsiveness. He also provides sound, realistic, no-nonsense opinions and advice at fair charges. He sticks within cost estimates when provided, which is much appreciated by my clients and me. He communicates brilliantly in English as well. When leaving my clients’ Chinese issues and intangibles in Sun’s care, I know they’re in the best of hands – simple as that. My experience with Sun has been utterly positive and I have not considered entrusting my Chinese files to anyone else.”

Kangxin Partners PC 

At 460-strong, Kangxin Partners PC has intellectual property fully covered. As well as outposts in Japan, Europe and the United States, the firm has experts fluent in German, Japanese and Korean on hand to serve its largely foreign clientele. Managing partner Samson Gang Yu is a revered figure in the IP space. Heading the trademark department is Gloria Q Wu, a gold-rated trademark strategist who excels in assisting foreign brand owners protect their IP rights in China. She recently assisted Lamborghini and the Luxottica Group in trademark opposition matters.

King & Wood Mallesons

King & Wood Mallesons needs no introduction for its prowess in the IP space. Home to one of the highest number of ranked individuals in the China: domestic chapter, the full-service law firm benefits from its general practice and global affiliates to offer watertight service, resulting in a stellar reputation. Clients appreciate that the work is serious, meticulous and detailed. “I really like their amazing responsiveness and availability, the clarity of their advice and their proactive approach. They always try to put forward other solutions and options to circumvent difficulties.” “They do what we want and even more.” The firm just opened its 13th office in Haikou and has also launched its first seven CloudOffices in China and Auckland to pilot new forms of professional legal services. Xiaoli Yang leads the trademark department of 90, while also advising foreign brands such as Fast Retailing, Ecco and K11 Group. Excelling in trademark prosecution, Fei Liao and Jiuchu Lin assist KONINKLIJKE PHILIPS and Brioni respectively in trademark invalidation matters. On the contentious front, veteran litigator Yusheng Shi made waves when he successfully won a trademark infringement lawsuit on behalf of Guangzhou Pharmaceutical Holdings Limited at first instance before the Guangdong High People’s Court, obtaining Rmb1.44 billion in damages – the largest amount awarded in an IP infringement case in China. Acting as the rearguard in litigation are Jing Xu and He Fang, who represented Brooks Sports in a global trademark dispute. A patent expert, Zhongsheng Li is equally skilled when it comes to handling trademarks. Shanghai-based Mia Qu deserves recognition too: “Mia was very helpful in navigating a complex international trademark dispute. She is thoughtful, thorough, responsive and smart.” Patent and trademark attorney Xianjie Ding is another outstanding professional. “Xianjie is a real trusted advisor and partner, who can be relied upon.”

Lawjay Partners

Serving a litany of famous foreign and luxury brands, including Burberry, Microsoft and Pandora, Lawjay Partners shines brightest in the IP contentious space. Managing partner James Luo leads the team in multiple high-profile litigation cases. “James is an excellent litigator who I have directed very complex IP litigation and I am more than comfortable in having him and his team run my cases, even those that are a first in China.” He recently successfully represented a famous US luxury fashion house in a trademark infringement matter and emerged victorious on behalf of the Procter & Gamble Company in a trademark infringement and unfair competition matter at the Anhui Higher Court.

LexField Law Offices 

“A highly skilled and effective team” of more than 40 trademark professionals at LexField Law Offices assists global brands on an array of trademark matters, from prosecution and strategy to enforcement and litigation. “Through their understanding of US clients and their business approach, the firm has found creative ways to protect key marks on the registry and on the Internet.” As the “trusted legal partner in China” for Fortune 500 companies, founding partner Jan Liu has “successfully represented many of the world’s leading corporations in various trademark portfolio management and contentious work as well as unfair competition matters”. “Jan’s practice is results-oriented and practical. She uses her deep legal expertise to address trademark and related IP challenges. I value her great expertise in prosecution, enforcement, trademark expertise, and effective partnering.” After spending 12 years in Beijing courts as a judge, Liwei Jiang draws on his judicial experience to advise on IP matters while Japanese-speaking Wency Yu is qualified in New York and China. Geoffrey Zhang rounds off the set as “our expert advisor in domain names and internet keywords in China”. A new addition to the team, Bo Yu has “quickly become a go-to resource for enforcement and other IP contentious matters”.

Lifang & Partners

With a new prosecution team in the Wuhan office, Lifang & Partners is superbly placed to handle all manners of IP work from brand protection to trademark oppositions and cancellations. IP litigator Guanbin Xie represents Chinese companies such as China State Construction Engineering Corporation and Shanghai Canxing Culture & Media Co, Ltd in administrative litigation cases before the Trademark Review and Adjudication Board, while Hui Liang safeguards the trademark rights of the China Council of Lions Clubs. One happy client from a Fortune 500 company gives a shout out to Zhang Bin as well: “Through her very professional services and rich knowledge and experience, Bin has provided great support to our legal team and obtained the greatest benefits in multiple lawsuits. She is a very trustworthy and responsible partner with valuable advice for IP cases.”

Linda Liu Intellectual Property

Since opening its doors in 2003, Linda Liu Intellectual Property has steadily grown into a 29-strong trademark team that has deepened its relationship with clients and foreign law firms alike. A foreign associate praises the side for “acting as an extension of our team’s approach to client service, with expertise in their local jurisdiction. They provide honest assessments, offer suggestions that may not be apparent to us, and proactively provides thoughtful, client-specific advice that takes into account both legal and business needs.” The firm has been working closely with Alibaba to provide online IP-related services for sellers on its e-commerce platforms. Besides tending to European and US clients, Sophia Xiao leads as vice president of the trademark department, while Richard Gao provides key support. “Richard and his team are my go-to in China. He works tirelessly to provide precise, honest, practical, highly responsive and cost-effective guidance. An excellent collaborator and communicator, he will never steer you wrong in navigating the unique challenges faced by brand owners in China.”

Liu, Shen & Associates

Liu, Shen & Associates is “one of the most reputable IP firms in China”. Overseeing 11 trademark agents, captain of the department Lily Changxin Lei has handled several “significant cases” throughout her three-decade spanning IP career. Yuguang Wei is another IP expert; she excels in matters related to machinery and mechanical engineering.

Lung Tin Intellectual Property Agent Ltd 

“A leading Chinese firm, Lung Tin is reputable and top-notch. Their level of service is of the highest grade and we entrust them with trademark-related work for our most important clients. They are one of the most professional and reliable counsel worldwide with whom we have cooperated for more than half a century.” With more than 9,000 trademark matters a year, the team is kept busy prosecuting and enforcing trademark rights for clients all over the world. Managing the trademark and copyright department is Di (Deland) Wu, while Ping Sui also enjoys a fantastic reputation among foreign associates. “Ping is a great attorney to work with. Besides being very professional, she has a deep knowledge and understanding of the practical aspects of IP rights protection. Her experience and broad expertise in various industries make her invaluable counsel in a plethora of matters in China.” “Ping is very responsive and provides great support for trademark matters in China.” Lvyun Wang is another standout trademark practitioner. “She is a first-rate attorney who is not only super responsive but gets straight to the point in her advice. Her advice is well-thought-through, clear and concise. Decisions of the office tend to reflect her initial advice, which gives us great comfort when deciding whether or not to pursue a specific matter. Her fees are very competitive and reflective of the quality of her work too.”

NTD Intellectual Property Attorneys 

“Impressive in its work quality and turnaround time with reasonable fees,” NTD Intellectual Property Attorneys excels in prosecuting trademarks. As “one of the first firms in China to provide general IP legal services”, it has blossomed into a full-service IP outfit with “a deep bench of expertise” through 38 trademark attorneys stationed across three offices in China. Besides being “very prompt and knowledgeable”, the team of premier IP lawyers is “able to summarise complex matters in a way that is easy to understand” and communicates closely with clients to provide outstanding trademark prosecution, enforcement and IP licensing services. “They know how to maximise opportunities and confront challenges as they arise.” Aidi Ge heads the trademark department while Christopher Shen manages contentious matters for well-known global brands. Working closely with Shen on anti-counterfeiting, trademark disputes and unfair competition cases is Nathan Yang, who is “very knowledgeable, fast and detailed in his work”. “Armed with a wealth of experience in Chinese IP law, Nathan is a very dear and trusted advisor, who is hands on and deeply involved in our matters. He takes the time to really understand our business and accommodate us, providing us with legal solutions that work and get real business results. He not only has strong interpersonal and communication skills, he impressed us with his unique business savvy and sharp team-building skills.” Senior partner Fengxi Fu is a favourite among clients and foreign associates alike. “Very professional and experienced in trademarks, Fengxi really thinks from the client’s perspective and exhausts all means to achieve success.” “I highly value Fengxi’s professional expertise and their services as they make sure they meet the expected level of quality.” “She has excellent knowledge on how to use well-known trademarks and a very good understanding of our market and interests too. I am sometimes astonished as to how she knows exactly what a specific, complex case is about and where the problem lies, even if there was no development for quite some time.”

Panawell & Partners 

The preferred partner for Chinese research and tertiary institutions, including the Chinese Academy of Sciences and its subsidiary R&D institutes, Panawell & Partners assists clients with the full range of trademark problems via its headquarters in Beijing and offices in Chengdu and Yokohama. Having trained at US law firms, William Yang now represents the likes of Eaton Corporation and Kimberly-Clark.

Shanghai Patent & Trademark Law Office LLC

Established in 1984, Shanghai Patent & Trademark Law Office LLC is a historic outfit manned by nearly 200 patent and trademark attorneys and attorneys at law, who are spread across the firm’s Shanghai headquarters and outposts in Beijing and Hong Kong.

TianTai Law Firm 

Tiantai Law Firm was created through the merger of Juntai Law Firm and Tianchi Hongfan Law Firm in 2015. The outfit now has a total of 23 offices, including recent outposts in Kunming, Jinan, Shenyang and Yinchuan. Clients appreciate that the trademark team is “very punctual, provides timely reports at every important juncture and sufficient resources for cross-border cases”. Xiang Ma advises domestic companies such as Jiangsu Satellite TV out of the Beijing headquarters.

Twelve Tables Law Firm 

Twelve Tables Law Firm may be young – it was established in 2019 – but it is already storming its way into the prosecution table of the WTR 1000 this year, having added four new partners to its IP litigation and prosecution practice. Co-founder Hairuo Zhang wins praise for her “entrepreneurship spirit”. After a four-year battle, Zhang secured the final victory for US SeaWorld LLC against Australia Sea World LLC in trademark administrative lawsuits through her “efficiency and strong IP and trademark professional knowledge”. “Hairuo is a very experienced IP counsel. She not only provides professional advice based on her experience and knowledge in intellectual property, but she confidently guides clients through any ambiguity and uncertainty. She always delivers the best results possible, thinking out of the box and finding creative ways to handle cases.”

Unitalen Attorneys at Law 

“Responsive, strong English language skills and collegiality” sum up the trademark offering at Unitalen. Although trademark prosecution remains the bread and butter for the IP boutique – it files more than 10,000 new trademark applications a year – it is expanding its services into infringement investigation, litigation advice and licensing through its team of 66 dedicated trademark attorneys. Foreign associates are particularly impressed by Ray Zhao and the great results he is achieving for clients. He recently obtained successes for famous foreign brands including Ferrari, Gewiss and the Burton Corporation. “Ray and his team consistently provide excellent, reliable and practical service at competitive rates. Not only are they consistently responsive to inquiries and timely in their reports – you can typically expect turnaround next day or even the same day, despite time differences – their advice is also practical and tailored to the specific client. Ray takes the time to understand a client’s business, globally and specifically in China, so advice is on point. He is skilled at advising on complex trademark matters and distilling them to their essence, while anticipating risks and obstacles to provide practical cost-effective strategies to mitigate and navigate them.” Senior partner Ying Huang handles trademark matters for European, Korean, South African and US clients.

Wanhuida Intellectual Property 

“The go-to firm for high profile technical cases,” Wanhuida Intellectual Property offers “flexibility and agility, on top of tailor-made services through a team dedicated to clients’ business constraints”. “Extremely client-oriented with an almost around the clock availability, the firm has a very good communication style that is adapted to Western sensitivities with very thorough services. They are very supportive in the distance and also when travelling to China. They have become our close and reliable allies in China to the point of working almost like in-house counsels for us. The only downside is obviously price[LR1] .” The IP boutique boasts 90 trademark attorneys spread across nine major IP hubs in China, including newly established offices in Tianjin and Chongqing. Founding partner Gang Bai oversees the set while Jack Su leads the Shanghai office. “Very experienced in trademark-related litigation,” Hui Huang recently represented Lacoste in trademark invalidation proceedings before the Supreme People’s Court with Bai to reaffirm well-known status of its crocodile brand. “Dr Huang is a multifaceted IP counsel with stellar academic credentials on China’s trademark legislation and practice. Having represented clients on all levels of Chinese courts in a wide variety of IP litigation matters, he is a veteran lawyer.” Jason Yao splits his time between Hong Kong and Shenzhen and recently succeeded in a trademark infringement and unfair competition lawsuit against an infringer for Luk Fook Holdings Limited, securing a court injunction and damages of Rmb6 million. “Jack has a very good understanding of Chinese laws and regulations. He fully understands our business needs and always tries to create new solutions to solve different types of challenges.”

Watson & Band Law Offices

Expanding rapidly in recent years, at the start of 2020 Shanghai-based Watson & Band Law Offices added offices in Zhangzhou and Chengdu to its growing portfolio of outposts across Greater China. The full-service law firm serves a largely foreign clientele for the entire spectrum of trademark matters and nearly doubled the number of trademark applications it handled in 2019 compared to the previous year. Liming Zhang and Yizhou Liu represented Uniqlo and Fast Retailing in a retrial case involving damages claimed by a malicious domestic trademark registrant at the Supreme People’s Court – the case was selected as one of the top 10 IP cases for 2018. Liu also assisted Shimadzu Corporation in designing an enforcement plan to protect clients’ trademarks and domain names.

Zhong Lun Law Firm

“Zhong Lun Law Firm impresses us with their work – they have good judgement and excellent communication skills.” “The team not only provides results, it reviews our questions in a very timely fashion and offers practice advice. They are efficient and effective, providing excellent service at a reasonable cost – they are also willing to work with us to create cost proposals that meet our budget.” “Clients usually defer to us on the choice of foreign associates but they specifically preferred us not to change Zhong Lun and I can understand why.” The full-service law firm recently opened its 18th office in Almaty. Gold-rated trademark prosecution expert Jimmy Huang garners fervent praise from clients and foreign associates all around the world. “Proactive in his thinking, timely in his responses and assiduous in his analysis, Jimmy is more than just outside IP counsel. He is an invaluable member of our team. His creative, real-world strategies demonstrate an enviable understanding of, not only IP law, but our industry and our business. Through him, we obtain favourable results almost immediately.” “Jimmy is my go-to lawyer in China. He is excellent on all fronts – able to communicate effectively in English, with a thorough understanding of local IP practice; focused on practical solutions and not theoretical issues; and good work product. On top of that, he is an exceptional human being.” “He has a great team working with him to provide great, quality work for a good price. I appreciate his consideration for clients and willingness to adapt to their needs in terms of communication and pricing. He is a tremendous resource in China.” Working closely with Huang on trademark portfolio management for global companies such as Firmenich SA and Agilent Technologies is Joyce Yan. “Joyce provides very responsive and practical advice. I can ask very complicated questions and she can distill the answer to meet my needs. Her search results are excellent, and she does a great job in providing alternatives for potential Chinese character names. An expert in the nuances of Chinese trademark practice – including the specialised world of pharmaceutical trademarks – Joyce is thorough and concise. I count on her as one of my treasured local counsel.” With Huang, Weihua Yang recently represented Ping An Health Cloud Company Limited in a civil lawsuit for trademark infringement. “Weihua is a very trustworthy partner, who analyses problems with precision and in great detail through her professionalism and years of industry experience. In particular for major cases that are long-term and complex, she provides comprehensive legal services that considers every perspective, from legal, administration, business and media.” Newly promoted non-equity partner Ruby Jia is attracting the right kind of attention well liked too. “Ruby certainly stands out for performing at a very high level. Her substantive quality of work is excellent. She is very responsive, writes well and has very good judgement.” Tracy Liu is another popular choice: “I find Tracy very responsive, a good judge of strategy and clear in her advice. She answers our questions in a way that does not give rise to a string of further questions.”

Zhongzi Law Office

One of the first partnership law firms in China, Zhongzi Law Office has exploded into a massive outfit of 300 professionals covering all legal practice areas. In terms of intellectual property, it offers A-to-Z services though it is at its best at prosecuting trademarks. Xuemin Chen is a name for the address book.

ZY Partners 

For over 20 years, ZY Partners has served as the trusted advisor to well-known multinationals, especially on IP litigation matters because it “thinks like a Westerner”. As one foreign associate explains: “The team has excellent English and can advise in plain language. They are technically excellent too, without being ‘formulaic’ in their thinking. They can explain clearly and succinctly the reasoning and logic behind their thinking, while understanding the need to do so in a way that a Western client would understand.” Managing partner Yanling Zheng is “very personable with an excellent client service mentality”. With a 30-year career in intellectual property, seasoned litigator Jingbing Li has extensive experience with IP judicial court procedures, while Xiaohong Li straddles the contentious and non-contentious divide.

Other recommended experts

“A true professional and one of the most responsive attorneys I know,” Dan Chen leads the trademark practice at FairSky Law Office. “I really trust Dan. She is skilled, smart, empathetic, very quick to respond, and she speaks English very well, which is not common among Chinese attorneys. She gives tailormade service too, and always tries to adapt to her client’s needs.” While Chen focuses on trademark portfolio management, her colleague Robert Li has set his sights on contentious matters. Making her way into the WTR 1000 this year is Ming Yue Dun from Beijing Dentons Law Offices. Seasoned in enforcing trademarks, Dun is a “creative thinker in her approach for problems and gives me many different options to consider. She is also a strong negotiator, unafraid to litigate if negotiations fail. Not only is she fluent in English, she is cost-effective and abides by cost estimates.” Charles Feng of East & Concord Partners has handled more than 80 trademark opposition, invalidation and administrative litigation matters for JXTG, over the past two years with a success rate of nearly 70%. At Boss & Young Patent and Trademark Law Office, Jinshan Liu is occupied with prosecuting trademark applications in China and around the world. Since leaving Anjie Law Firm in 2020, Jing He, Jerry Xia and Steve Zhao have caused a stir in the Beijing IP scene with their new venture: GEN Law & Consulting. The co-founder of Beijing-based IP boutique Hanray, Helen Huang has advised the likes of China Minmetals and SANY Group on trademark issues. Captaining the trademark group at IP March – “one of the best and nicest IP firms in the world with a very good success rate” manned by “efficient, knowledgeable and honest” IP professionals – Nina Li takes her first bow in the WTR 1000 following effusive praise from foreign associates. “Nina is not only practical, she has great understanding of China’s trademark law and system as well as the needs and concerns of foreign trademark owners in China.” “Besides providing good advice, she expresses herself very clearly and at reasonable cost. She also comes up with good and new strategies.” “Nina is the best Chinese counsel I have ever had.” After setting up the IP group at Hylands Law Firm, WTR 1000 debutant Yunze Lian founded Jadong IP Law Firm in 2018, where Rebecca Liu heads the trademark team. After leading Tiantai Law Firm’s IP team in Shanghai for two years, Frank Liu founded Shanghai Fusion Strength Intellectual Property Service Co, Ltd. Upon making the move from JunHe LLP to Haiwen & Partners, gold-ranked trademark prosecution expert Qiang Ma brought along his supporting team of five – joined by another three litigator associates – as well as clients such as BMW, Hanes and McKinsey & Company. “Qiang is very experienced, well connected and knows his work well. He is always willing to take the extra step to make sure things get done.” “On top of always striving to provide high quality service, he knows how to lead his team maintain such high performance. Whenever an urgent matter arises, he never fails to call us over the phone to address the issue.” “He and his team have been deeply involved in the field of IP law for a long time and they have rich experience in IP rights protection to provide clients with one-stop shop services.” Knowledgeable about protecting luxury brands in China, Samiko Sun left Kangxin Partners to head up the trademark practice at SINOWAY IP. Trademark prosecution veteran Chaoyang Wang plies his trade at AZIMARC IP Law Services, where he advises an array of foreign companies in all sorts of IP issues. At Jingtian & Gongcheng, Angell Xi is the leading and exclusive counsel for Alfilo Brands Group for its IP licensing matters with renowned museums around the world. “Speedy, courteous, friendly and supportive, Angell and her team have an excellent grasp of the law and always go that extra mile to ensure we have an exceptionally high quality of service.” The IP advisor to clients such as the UN Global Compact and Beijing Taihe Music Culture, her colleague Zheng Li makes her first appearance in the WTR 1000 this year. Sarah (Hongmei) Yuan left Hengdu Law Firm to set up Beijing Zhengying Intellectual Property Ltd. From Beijing-based PatMark Attorneys, Zhongcheng Zhao represents domestic and foreign clients in trademark and copyright issues. Liam Zhu offers one-stop shop trademark services through its one-of-a-kind management system out of Liam Zhu Liu & Partners.

Individuals: enforcement and litigation

Individuals: prosecution and strategy