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Hong Kong > Intellectual property > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings


Index of tables

  1. Intellectual property
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next Generation Partners

Leading individuals

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Next Generation Partners

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With ten IP-focused partners based in Hong Kong and China, and able to leverage the expertise of practitioners spread throughout the firm's international network, the 'excellent' team at Baker McKenzie has the strength in depth to handle a tremendous volume and diversity of work on the contentious and non-contentious fronts. The team has 'a fantastic reputation' for handling trade mark prosecution matters and coordinates work, alongside other Asia-Pacific offices, on behalf of international corporates seeking brand protection across the Asia-Pacific region, as well as for Hong Kong-based multinationals and a growing roster of Chinese companies that are looking to expand globally. Maria Smith leads the firm's Hong Kong and regional brand protection and enforcement team. Loke-Khoon Tan heads up the firm's overall IP offering and is particularly noted for his PRC-related trade mark enforcement practice. Consultant Clifford Borg-Marks is also well respected in the market in relation to China IP matters and has aided many international corporates in establishing and consolidating their intellectual property rights (IPR) in the PRC. As well as recently assisting Whirlpool with obtaining well-known trade mark recognition for its Chinese house mark, Borg-Marks recently represented DreamWorks in high-profile domain name litigation in China. Ruby Chan specialises in brand protection work and is regularly instructed by major international companies seeking to exploit their IPR across multiple jurisdictions. Shih Yann Loo is a noted IP litigator.

Noted for its 'distinctly business-oriented approach to IP law', Bird & Bird provides 'proactive, responsive and client-oriented advice' across the gamut of IP issues affecting international and domestic corporates conducting business in the Asia-Pacific region. 'Probably the best in the region for patent-related matters', the team has amassed tremendous credibility in Hong Kong as a result of a long and distinguished track record handling enforcement and prosecution work. The 'commercial, strategic and responsive' Alison Wong excels at handling patent matters for life sciences clients, both from a contentious and non-contentious perspective. She also handles a significant amount of IP portfolio management work, such as her advice to the Hong Kong Airport Authority on its global trade mark portfolio. 'Experienced IP lawyer' Hank Leung is 'particularly strong at handling trade mark matters' in addition to general commercialisation issues, including those relating to licensing and franchising strategies for companies entering the Asian market. Matthew Laight heads the firm's IP group in the Asia-Pacific region, and is widely known for managing major, complex and multi-jurisdictional disputes, particularly for technology sector clients. Patent and trade mark attorney Ted Chwu has excellent credibility on the patent front and regularly handles multi-jurisdictional projects for clients such as Gibson Innovations, which he is representing on the protection of its global patent portfolio as well as on the enforcement of its patent and design rights. Counsel Victor Tse is also recommended. Other clients include Imperial Pacific International Holdings, Mercury Innovations and Helen of Troy.

Deeply entrenched in the local business community,¬†Deacons'¬†four-partner team is 'very strong across the IP spectrum, and provides outstanding and commercially astute advice'¬†to an impressive array of local, pan-Asian and international clients. The 'excellent'¬†Charmaine Koo¬†has been exceptionally busy on the litigation front: as well as recently acting for Gmedia in a patent litigation infringement case against Tencent Holdings, she continues to represent Ping An Insurance in a complex passing-off case against a similar Hong Kong-listed company that changed its name to something very similar.¬†Vivian Poon¬†spearheads the firm's efforts on the trade mark front, and, alongside the 'exceptional'¬†Rodney Goh¬†‚Äď who has 'very strong practical knowledge in the trade mark space' ‚Äď and the 'superb'¬†Patsy Lau, handles a plethora of IP work for many of the world's leading brands. Of the non-partners, senior associate¬†David Swain¬†has a flourishing transactional IP practice, and 'responsive, flexible and talented'¬†associate¬†Dawn Hui¬†is an 'excellent young IP lawyer with a sound grasp of IP matters'. Ian Liu¬†has been made partner.

The 'very knowledgeable' three-partner team at Mayer Brown provides 'practical advice' to an impressive roster of international clients including Alibaba, Adobe, AIG and Jack Daniel's across the gamut of contentious and non-contentious matters. 'Very experienced' team head Gabriela Kennedy has 'excellent all-round knowledge' and has been particularly busy of late representing numerous luxury brands, including LVMH Fashion Group and Alexandre de Paris, on their heightened efforts to tackle trade mark infringers and counterfeit goods. Kennedy is also a crucial part of the firm's 'very impressive trade mark prosecution and brand management practice', and is advising Hong Kong's largest telecoms operator, PCCW, on all aspects relating to its global branding strategies, portfolio management and IP enforcement actions. As part of her wide-ranging IP practice, which includes contentious and non-contentious work, Rosita Li advises on the commercialisation of IP, including a significant volume of IP licensing matters. Counsel Amita Haylock, who is well-known in the market for handling IP and TMT-related disputes, is 'excellent'. Benjamin Choi moved to Deacons in September 2019.

Despite losing experienced practitioner Henry Wheare to Nixon Peabody CWL in January 2018, Hogan Lovells remains a significant presence in the Hong Kong market across a range of IP work, running the gamut from portfolio management on behalf of local and international corporates, through to copyright and trade mark litigation. Team head Eugene Low is regularly at the forefront of the most significant IP matters handled by the team and is able to call upon a vast reservoir of knowledge across advisory and transactional IP, including niche expertise on consumer protection and advertising law; he also handles contentious matters. Low has been involved in a significant amount of Hong Kong-related cross-border litigation, such as successfully securing a Hong Kong Mareva injunction application involving trade mark and copyright infringement on behalf of Lego. Counsel Andrew Cobden has a focus on patent law advice for pharmaceutical and life sciences companies; he continues to represent Otsuka Pharmaceuticals as plaintiff in a rare example of Hong Kong litigation regarding a second medical use patent. Recently promoted to counsel, Serena Lim has a burgeoning reputation handling brand protection and enforcement, as well as in IP commercialisation. Counsel Kenny Wong maintains a niche entertainment practice acting for A-list artists, film directors, film production companies, and record companies. Other clients include Caterpillar, H&M, Lundbeck and Nagravision.

Aided by strong capabilities on the ground in mainland China, Jones Day's two-partner team excels in defending and enforcing the IPR of major technology, pharmaceutical and telecoms clients in the Chinese courts. In addition to her vast China-related contentious experience across patents, copyright and unfair competition, Chiang Ling Li also has significant knowledge of the legal issues impacting the pharmaceutical industry, and recently provided IP advice as part of the firm's representation of Cardinal Health on its $1.6bn acquisition of Medtronic’s Patient Care, Deep Vein Thrombosis and Nutritional Insufficiency businesses. Splitting his time between the firm's Hong Kong and Beijing offices, Haifeng Huang regularly represents major US and Chinese entities in IP disputes, including his defence of Qualcomm against an allegation made by a Shanghai-based company asserting that Qualcomm had infringed its trade marks; the case is currently being appealed following a High Court victory for Qualcomm. Other clients include the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Xcelom and Esanex.

Aided by a strong presence in mainland China in particular, boutique IP firm Rouse Legal Hong Kong provides 'very responsive and competent service' to many major international brands on their Greater China trade mark portfolio and enforcement matters. Particularly noted for her 'excellent IP enforcement practice', the 'extremely knowledgeable' Adelaide Yu continues to represent Jaguar Land Rover on its trade mark portfolio and contentious proceedings in Hong Kong and Macau. Theresa Mak was also involved in the aforementioned mandate and is a key member of the team, which also includes Chris Vale, who has 'extensive experience on non-contentious IP matters'. Other clients include Mars, Diageo and Beiersdorf.

Long-established independent Hong Kong law firm Wilkinson & Grist has an 'excellent reputation in the IP field', particularly in relation to trade mark prosecution work. Team head Andrea Fong is recommended for her IP portfolio management and IP commercial work on behalf of local and international corporates. Although she also handles advisory and transactional IP-related work, Florence Lam is best-known for her contentious work involving trade marks, copyright, designs and other IPR.

Drawing on the firm's vast roster of major international corporate clients, as well as generating its own work, Clifford Chance regularly handles strategic brand portfolio management for clients relating to their business activities throughout Greater China, as well as advising on IP transactional work, whether it be in relation to IP due diligence concomitant with M&A handled by the firm, or in terms of the commercialisation of IP, including advice on technology transfer and licensing agreements. Team head Ling Ho leverages her general litigation expertise to provide a strong service to clients on enforcement matters and is regularly involved in non-contentious matters, including her representation of New World on the management of its trade mark portfolio in Hong Kong and China. Consultant Lei Shi is recommended for her PRC-related IP work and regularly defends and enforces clients' IP before the Chinese and Hong Kong courts. Clients include Aston Martin, Henkel and Richemont.

Often working very closely with practitioners on the ground in mainland China, as well as forming part of the firm's wide-ranging capabilities across Europe, North America, Africa and the Asia-Pacific region, DLA Piper's one-partner Hong Kong team excels at maintaining, protecting and commercialising the IPR of major international brands from a range of sectors including sports, technology and telecoms. Team head Edward Chatterton continues to provide ongoing advice to McDonald's across a range of IP matters related to the exploitation of its brand in China, and is also representing the Football Association Premier League as it seeks to clamp down on illegal feeds of Premier League content. Of counsel Elizabeth Wong is noted for acting for multinational corporates on transactional and commercial IP work including advice relating to license and franchise agreements.

Led out of Hong Kong by Justin Davidson, and able to tap into an enviable global network should the need arise, Norton Rose Fulbright provides 'responsive and attentive service' to multinationals and Asian businesses across the gamut of IP work from a contentious and a non-contentious perspective. Davidson regularly coordinates global IP portfolio management on behalf of major local and multinational corporates. Senior associate Maggie Chong is another name to note.

Leveraging a strong presence on the ground in mainland China, Stephenson Harwood's two-partner Hong Kong team is well-equipped to represent local and international corporates on the prosecution and enforcement of IPR, in addition to handling commercial and corporate IP matters. Jonathan Chu is well-versed in handling work across the spectrum of contentious and non-contentious IP, often from a multi-jurisdictional perspective. Chu recently acted for US-based life sciences company Grail on the Hong Kong IP aspects of its acquisition of key IP owned by a Hong Kong team of leading researchers. Although she also handles a considerable amount of employment law work, Jezamine Fewins is also a formidable IP litigator; among her recent highlights has been defending Henriette Joop's revocation application in respect of its JJ trademark for perfumes. Leveraging her employment law expertise, Fewins also has a particular specialty in representing clients in matters that involve the theft of trade secrets and confidential information by employees.

Led by 'commercially strong' corporate partner Richard Bird, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer's 'responsive' cross-disciplinary IP team is particularly accomplished at handling major strategic commercial IP projects including advice relating to research and development collaborations, licensing, and distribution agreements. It also provides the necessary IP input on M&A matters handled by the firm in IP-rich industries such as technology and telecoms. Recent highlights include advising Starbucks on its groundbreaking digital collaborations with internet giants Tencent and Alibaba in mainland China, which included acceptance of their digital payment services in Starbucks’ Chinese stores. The team also provided IP input pursuant to Hutchison Asia Telecom Group's $1.86bn sale of its fixed-line telecoms business to I Squared Capital. Other clients include Novartis, Danone, Lenovo and Pearson.

Although it is less active on pure IP advisory and litigation work than some of the higher-ranked firms, Morrison & Foerster often handles the IP due diligence associated with transactions the firm undertakes in the TMT sector. The team is also accomplished at handling the commercialisation of IP and is regularly engaged by clients to represent them in licensing and other commercial arrangements. The 'very efficient, responsible and practical' Chuan Sun recently acted for Tencent on its patent cross-license arrangement with Google, marking the latter's first ever cross-license arrangement with a large Chinese technology company. Although he is better-known for his TMT expertise, Gordon Milner also has considerable IP knowledge, particularly as it relates to the fintech space.

Led by Vera Sung, the IP team at independent Hong Kong firm Oldham, Li & Nie has strong ties with small and medium-sized enterprises as well as larger international businesses, and is active across a range of IP issues including trade marks, patents and copyrights. General litigator Stephen Chan regularly handles IP disputes, including his representation of Korean cosmetics brand Jayjun Cosmetic in a "squatting" case brought against a Hong Kong brand, alleging that it is trading under the name of "Jayjun" without due authority.

Reed Smith Richards Butler provides 'well-structured advice' to local and international corporates seeking to register and manage their global trade mark portfolios. The team also has enforcement expertise in the luxury goods sector. Steven Birt has joined Minter Ellison.

At Winston & Strawn, Gino Cheng  has an excellent pedigree representing Asian clients in patent disputes in the US federal courts and International Trade Commission (ITC) investigations. In this regard, clients benefit from the team's ability to leverage the firm's very strong reputation on the ground in the US, and it regularly partners up with lawyers based across the firm's wide network of US offices. Cheng was recently an integral part of a multi-office team that represented EHS Lens Philippines as plaintiff in a competitor-to-competitor patent suit, alleging that Essilor International was infringing a patent related to specific types of progressive eyeglass lenses.

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