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Bai Gang, Managing Partner

Managing partner Bai Gang explains how Wanhuida Peksung is adapting to clients' changing needs.

Can you give us a concise overview that would enable the readers to have a good grasp of Wanhuida Peksung?

To start with, Wanhuida Peksung is a leading IP service powerhouse in China. It is formed by the merger of two PRC IP firms, WAN HUI DA Law Firm & IP Agency and PEKSUNG IP Ltd at the tail end of 2016.

Wanhuida Peksung Facts:

13 offices: 10 in China and 3 (liaison offices) in US and Europe
20 years’ experience in intellectual property
500+ practitioners and staff
32 partners
150+ practitioners in trademark practice
180+ practitioners in patent practice
100+ litigating lawyers

20+ litigation cases selected to be reported in the SPC’s Gazette or listed in SPC’s annual 10/50 exemplary cases
30+ cases entered the list of “Deals of the Year” or “Exemplary Cases of the Year” launched by industry associations or legal medias
50+ cases honored “Best Practice” by local AICs and courts at various levels

Sometimes, we let others speak for us.

The World Trademark Review says Wanhuida Peksung is “a ‘marvellous’ firm and ‘true one-stop shop’, a perennial fixture in the top tier”.

The Intellectual Asset Management says “sage and savvy counsel” has made Wanhuida Peksung “a pre-eminent player in the IP realm”.

The Chambers and Partners says “The firm is known for a stalwart trade mark practice offering comprehensive expertise in both contentious and non-contentious matter, with its patent prosecution and litigation work being increasingly recognized”.

A satisfied client notes (as quoted by the Managing Intellectual Property): “The firm has excellent lawyers and systems. The advice and service it gives is absolutely first-rate”.

What competitive edges does the merger bring to the firm? How will the firm’s clients benefit from the merger of the two entities?

The merger is definitely a milestone in the development of Wanhuida Peksung. The combination significantly bolsters its presence and capacity in the intellectual property field in China. This tie-up allows us to integrate differentiated resources and diversified assets in better response to thriving client demands and dynamic legal market.

The patent team, led by Mr. Jiancheng Jiang, the founder of PEKSUNG, is particularly applauded, among others, for its strength in the life sciences field. In this regard, the merger has made the firm one of the few top tier IP players in such technical arena in China.

In general, the merger enables the two entities to complement each other. When boiling it down to the competitive edges, I believe the merger brings to the firm:

  • Expert perspective: our understanding of the substance and procedure of the IP laws of China and active contributions to China’s IP law development equip us with substantial experience and insight concerning the directions of China’s dynamic IP environment.
  • Practical approach: our accumulated experience in many cases handled before all courts nationwide and all administrative IP agencies enables our professionals to bring clients practical solutions by effective use of all legal tools.

Loyal clients now have the two firm’s pooled resources at their fingertips. Benefiting from the merger, the clients will be served with an exceptional depth of sector expertise and the broadened offering of legal services, featuring:

  • Multilingual and interdisciplinary skills;
  • Prosecution service with high rate of success;
  • Enforceable rights maximizing clients’ legal interests;
  • Experiences accumulated from many ground-breaking litigation cases; and
  • Proactive defense strategy and consolidated remedial approach.
How is the post-merger integration going?

The amalgamation has been planned as a gradual process – which includes moving the entire PEKSUNG team (150 people) to our own offices in the Friendship Hotel compound, where an entire building is being renovated and furnished. Meanwhile, there is already plenty of collaboration since the merger.

Under the single management headed by the senior partners of both entities, steady progress has been made in cases and portfolio management. Resources have been integrated and practice has been streamlined to promote efficiency and quality of services.

The firm’s internal case and dossier management procedure has been optimized and a unified quality control mechanism has been built to ensure consistency of services.

We expect to combine the premises of both entities by the end of the year.

What do you see as the uniqueness that differentiates Wanhuida Peksung from your competitors?

Some of our competitors are extremely large Chinese, or foreign, law firms with an intellectual property team. We are different in that regard, since we deal exclusively with intellectual property matters. In other words, we are a highly specialized "boutique" law firm, known as such by academics, judges and law enforcement officials.

Besides, it is difficult to talk about how others run their business. All we can say is that, at Wanhuida Peksung, there is a strong feeling of pride, among all the attorneys and staff, of being part of a team. The "turnover" of attorneys and staff is very low. No partner thinks that a client is his or her client. Clients are attached to the firm, not to any individual.  This attitude is beneficial to the clients, since it eliminates internal competition. Everyone, at Wanhuida Peksung, places the interests of the clients at the top of its list.

How has the IPR legal landscape of China been changing in recent years?

We see an interesting, and quite positive, evolution in the practice of People's courts.  The case law, or" jurisprudence", which was ignored in the past, is playing an increasingly important role. The publication of the 50 and 10 most influential cases in Intellectual Property, and above all, the setting up of a "case guiding system", is progressively providing more predictability. One of the noticeable improvements can be found in the way the trademark administration and the courts have approached the serious problem of bad faith pre-emptive trademark filing. With the recent Interpretation of the revised trademark law published by the Supreme People's Court, it is now possible to apply a strong reaction against this type of behavior.

The firm has been at the forefront of change in this area. It represented world-famous fashion house Akris Pret-A-Porter AG, in successfully opposed the “A-K-R-I-S-” trademark filed by a squatter in Class 25 in China, based on the absolute ground of bad faith when the client’s prior registration of “PUNTO AKRIS” has ceased to exist. The case is listed by the Beijing IP Court in the 18 exemplary cases concerning bad-faith trademark filing in 2017. Below is a selected list of our recent winning cases:

  • Top 10 Innovative IPR Cases of the Beijing Courts (2016): representing Microsoft in obtaining favorable court decision from the Beijing High Court, which enables the client to register the trademark “POWERPOINT” in Class 42 in China, through territorial extension.
  • SPC’s 50 Exemplary IPR Cases (2015): representing 3M in obtaining damages of RMB 3.5 Million (far exceeding statutory limit in China’s old Trademark Law) from a local infringer based on trademark infringement, a decision upheld by the court of appeal and the Supreme People’s Court.
  • SPC’s 50 Exemplary IPR Cases (2015): representing Pierre Fabre Dermo-Cosmetique in obtaining an unfair competition decision against an online seller of genuine Avène products that promotes business in a misleading way.
  • SPC Retrial Case: representing Celltrion to successfully invalidate a patent concerning anti-ErbB2 antibody owned by Genetech in 2012. The invalidation decision was maintained by adjudication of courts in 2014 and a retrial order of Supreme People’s Court in 2016. This case reaffirms the Chinese patent practice that administration dosage and regime will not be considered in assessment of patentability of Swiss-type claims.
  • Removing the threat of large compensation claim: obtaining for the client in both instances favorable court judgment in a manufacturing process patent in the chemical area, which removed for the client the threat of a RMB 12.9772 million compensation claim made by the plaintiff.

Legal Developments by:
Wanhuida Peksung

  • WHD IP Express No.1 2012/11

    CMTO Classification Is Not the Sole Criterion for Assessing the Similarity of Goods and Service
    - Wanhuida Peksung

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