People and places

In-depth analysis


Swedish law firm Awapatent operates its Asia units out of AWA Asia in Hong Kong and AWA Asia’s wholly-owned Chinese IP consultancy, AWA IP (Beijing). Ai- Leen Lim serves as the chief executive officer and principal counsel of AWA Asia, and serves mainland Chinese, Hong Kong and international clients with a focus on brand management and social media matters. 

Baker McKenzie has offices in Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong, and maintains an impressive team of IP specialists backed up by an international network. China and Hong Kong IP practice head Loke-Khoon Tan also co-leads the firm’s luxury and fashion industry practice, working extensively with global brands in major jurisdictions. 

Bird & Bird’s intellectual property group is led by partner Matthew Laight, who is noted for his expertise in both contentious and non-contentious matters in sectors including electronics, pharmaceuticals, communications, IT media, broadcasting and F&B. The firm counts Alison Wong and Christine Yiu among its leading trademark practitioners, Ted Chwu for patent work, and Rieko Michishita for copyright-related matters. 

China Patent Agent (H.K.) Ltd. has a full-service offering incorporating both prosecution and litigation strengths. The firm advises both domestic and overseas clients from its main office in Hong Kong, supported by a network of offices in Beijing, Shenzhen, Shanghai, New York, Tokyo and Munich. Top management includes Xiangling Zeng, Hong Luo, Tina H. Tai, Jingchao Wang, Shaohui Yuan, and Yuhe Wu, who together oversee more than 570 staff across its network. 

Deacons’ IP practice remains one of the best among the city’s firms; partner Annie Tsoi and Charmaine Koo co-head the practice, while Catherine Zheng heads the patents and designs group. The firm was named Asia IP patent firm of the year for Hong Kong in 2019. Vivien Poon and Patsy Lau are key contacts for trademark work, Jeffrey McLean and Catherine Zheng for patent, and Charmaine Koo for copyright. 

In November 2015, Dentons became the largest law firm in the world through a merger with Chinese law firm Dacheng, and through separate merger deals with Australian law firm Gadens and Singapore’s Rodyk & Davidson. The firm operates 45 offices in China alone. Senior partner Mingyue Dun is the key contact for Dentons’ IP and technology practice, having represented clients such as ExxonMobile, Nike and Hennessy & Co. 

DLA Piper’s intellectual property and technology group encompasses nearly 500 lawyers in over 24 countries, with DLA Beijing managing partner Horace Lam co-heading IPT to provide greater China coverage across Beijing, Shanghai and Hong Kong. The firm has handled all of HSBC’s trademark portfolio management and enforcement work in Hong Kong. Ed Chatterton, Scott Thiel and Richard Wageman, who also chairs the firm’s franchise and advertising group in China, are key contacts. 

Ella Cheong (Hong Kong) and its subsidiary Ella Cheong Intellectual Property Agency (Beijing) were acquired by Spruson & Ferguson on October 31, 2016; since the acquisition, lawyer Ella Cheong is no longer involved in the Hong Kong or Beijing businesses and no longer practices in the areas of patent, design and trademark prosecution in China, Hong Kong or Macau. She has, however, formed Hong Kong-based ELLALAN along with managing partner Alan Chiu. The firm, which until June 2020 had been known as Ella Cheong & Alan Chiu, advises on IP enforcement, transactional and commercial IP and internet-related issues, as well as matters concerning entertainment and media, dispute resolution, commercial law and regulatory law. The firm was named Asia IP trademarks firm of the year for Hong Kong in 2019. 

Hogan Lovells operates its IP practice out of the Hong Kong, Shanghai and Beijing offices. The firm is the sole Hong Kong member of the Pacific Rim Advisory Council, a strategic alliance of 32 major independent law firms globally. Eugene Low leads the IP practice from Hong Kong and is a key contact for trademark and copyright. Andrew Cobden is a key contact for patent matters.

Liu, Shen (Hong Kong) works closely with its Beijing counterpart Liu, Shen & Associates to help clients in obtaining and enforcing their intellectual property rights including patents, trademarks, designs, copyright in China and Asia. Bessie Wong is a leading trademark practitioner and Doris Jin is recommended for patent work. 

As one of the oldest specialist IP practices in Hong Kong, Marks & Clerk continues to be a market leader in the region. The firm is on the go-to list for local and multinationals when it comes to prosecution work. Partners Mike Flint and Michael Lin are key contacts for patent issues and Simon Speeks is the firm’s trademark expert. Flint is involved in contentious matters in China, Europe and the US, while Lin manages the life sciences group of the firm’s Hong Kong and Beijing offices, where he focuses on drafting, prosecution and opinion work. 

Named Asia IP copyright firm of the year for Hong Kong in 2019, Mayer Brown was established in 1863 in Hong Kong and has since expanded across Asia with offices in Shanghai and Beijing. Partner and head of the firm’s Asia IP & TMT group Gabriela Kennedy is also co-leader of Mayer Brown’s global IP practice and has extensive experience in technology and data protection issues in China and beyond. 

Nixon Peabody CWL was formed from the October 2015 combination between Nixon Peabody and CWL Partners. The firm is now home to more than 30 lawyers who advise on a full spectrum of legal issues for clients throughout the Asia-Pacific region including China, Singapore, Malaysia, Australia, Japan, Korea, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. The Hong Kong office is also associated with JunZeJun Law Offices and leverages JunzeJun’s nine greater China offices and its 300 practicing lawyers, including 50 partners. Veteran IP specialist Henry Wheare is a well-recommended partner at the firm.

Oldham, Li & Nie has more than 40 partners and lawyers across its Hong Kong and Shanghai offices, providing a full range of legal services including commercial and intellectual property practices. The firm has a small but qualified IP team that deals with Hong Kong and China intellectual property law, and counts Vera Sung, who heads the firm’s IP practice for Hong Kong and China, and Evelyne Yeung among its leading practitioners. 

General practice firm P.C. Woo & Co. handles patents and designs, trademarks, IP commercialization and management work. The firm has a strong litigation team which assists clients on enforcement. It is one of the law firms on the panel list of the Fast Action Scheme for trade fairs enforcement in cooperation with the Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department. Sandra Wong, a senior associate who heads the firm’s IP department, and senior associate Lewis Luk are key contacts. 

IP boutique Rebecca Lo & Co is a key local player. The firm handles trademark registrations and portfolio management as well as advises on commercial IP matters. Founding partner Rebecca Lo was also a founding member of the Licensing Executive Society China Hong Kong Sub-Chapter. 

Reed Smith announced in May 2019 that Stephen Chan joined the firm as a partner in its litigation practice in the Hong Kong office of Reed Smith Richards Butler. Chan, who was previously a dispute resolution partner at Oldham, Lie & Nie, is an experienced advocate who focuses on commercial litigation, international arbitration, intellectual property litigation, employment and labour disputes, and white-collar crime. Before relocating to Hong Kong in 2013, Chan was with McVeagh Fleming in New Zealand.

Reynolds Porter Chamberlain (RPC) was known as Smyth & Co in association with RPC until May 1, 2017, when the firm received approval from the Hong Kong Law Society to operate as a partnership under the RPC name. The firm is a commercial-oriented business law firm with a broad range of expertise across many industry sectors. Managing partner for Asia Antony Sassi is noted for his work handling technology and cyber risk matters, among others. 

Local specialist Robin Bridge & John Liu acted for HYX China before the Trade Mark Register and secured the client’s trademarks against a bad faith application. The firm was appointed by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data, Hong Kong, under the Legal Assistance Scheme. The team is headed by managing partner Anthony Tong, who has a substantial IP litigation practice in both Hong Kong and China; Tong also manages local clients’ worldwide trademark portfolios and international clients’ trademark portfolios in greater China. Partners Anthea Loo and consultant Phoebe Chui are also key contacts for the IP practice. 

Rouse Legal is the Hong Kong office of global IP specialist Rouse. It provides a full range of intellectual property legal services in Hong Kong, including clearance, filing and prosecution, patent agency, civil and criminal litigation and commercial IP services. Director Chris Vale acts as key contact for the Hong Kong, Vietnam and Cambodia offices. 

Simmons & Simmons has a robust trademark practice that counts high-caliber US corporations amongst its clients. Partner John Slater and Jingyuan Shi are key IP contacts who have significant experience practicing IP in both Hong Kong and China. Slater is known for his work in prosecution and maintenance of the global trademark portfolios of Cathay Pacific and Cathay Dragon airlines, together with brand strategy advice and guidance.

Simone Intellectual Property Services, also known as SIPS, is headquartered in Hong Kong with offices in Shanghai and Beijing. With the opening of its China trademark agency in mid-2017, the firm now has over 60 members of staff. The bulk of its work relates to trademark portfolio management (particularly clearance, registration and elimination of pirated registrations) and all types of IP enforcement, with an emphasis on anti-counterfeiting, online enforcement, trade secret protection, copyright, and patents. Key contacts include founding Joe Simone and partners Dan Plane, Helen Tang, and Troy Rice.

Local commercial firm Sit, Fung, Kwong & Shum offers integrated intellectual property services from drafting, filing, prosecution and registration to commercial exploitation and enforcement. Apart from dealing with China IP work, the firm also acts for local and international companies in the Americas, Asia, Australia and Europe. 

Spruson & Ferguson established a significant presence in Hong Kong and China in 2016 by acquiring Ella Cheong (Hong Kong) and its subsidiary Ella Cheong Intellectual Property Agency (Beijing). The highly-recommended Coral Toh, head of trademarks and head of the Greater China practice at the firm, is based in Hong Kong; principal Robert Jackson is a go-to lawyer for chemicals and life sciences matters. Spruson & Ferguson is part of the publicly-listed IPH Limited, the holding company for intellectual property professional services and adjacent businesses operating under different brands across the Asia-Pacific region.

Squire Patton Boggs has had a presence in Hong Kong for more than 15 years. Los Angeles-based consultant Paolo Beconcini heads the firm’s China intellectual property team. He manages the trademark, copyright and design portfolios of European and US clients, conceives and implements IP litigation strategies, regularly appears in Chinese courts and attends IPR administrative and police raids on counterfeiters. 

Vivien Chan & Co. is an important player in China. Operating from offices in Hong Kong and Beijing, the firm has done work for clients such as G-Star Raw and Yves Saint Laurent. Senior partner Vivien Chan oversees the firm from Hong Kong and has extensive experience in IP and corporate finance matters. 

As one of the oldest law firms in Hong Kong, Wilkinson & Grist’s Hong Kong and China IP practice boasts over 26 professionals. Andrea Fong is head of the firm’s intellectual property practice group, and has expertise in IP portfolio management and strategy, litigation and commercial IP work. Former head of IP and now consultant to the firm, Yvonne Chua was the 41st president of Licensing Executives Society International and now serves on the IP Committee of the Law Society of Hong Kong. Long-term partner Mena Lo is a key contact for copyright issues and an expert in information technology-related matters. 

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