Steadily improving protection of intellectual property rights has been a key element of China’s rise to become one of the world’s top economies. Foreign and domestic investment alike has risen as rights owners have become increasingly confident about their ability to protect their IP within China.
As protection has increased, rights owners have turned to China’s top intellectual property practices to enforce their rights. It was this dynamic environment in which Asia IP’s editorial team has launched our 2021 China IP Awards, designed to recognize and honour the top IP firms and practices, including winners in practice specialties (such as pharma, biotech and life sciences) and by region. We’ve also named a national IP Firm of the Year, and a national IP Boutique of the Year, both of which will be revealed below.
Our awards honour even more teams this year than last: instead of recognizing firms for work in trademarks, patents and IP litigation, we have this year created new categories for those awards, recognizing contentious and non-contentious work in trademarks and patents separately, allowing not only for more firms to be recognized, but also to honour those firms in a manner which will better identify what they’re being honoured for.
The decisions which follow were made by the Asia IP editorial team, based on feedback and recommendations received from in-house counsel, senior corporate executives and legal professionals from around the region and around the world, as well as submissions from law firms themselves.
To determine the winning firms, we carefully evaluated each firm’s most important cases, portfolios and other notable work throughout in the past year, in conjunction with the recommendations and comments we received.
We were pleasantly surprised by the quantity and quality of recommendations we received from those who know these IP practices the best. It is clear from the submissions we received that corporate counsel are keen observers of the firms doing work for them; they’re not afraid to praise those firms which do the best work – and they told us which firms aren’t deserving, too.
It is clear, too, that law firms are in a fierce competition with each other to make the case that they are best-situated to serve their clients well. The work firms in China do has improved by leaps and bounds in recent years, and while it once would have been an easy job for us to name the top firms in each practice area, the heightened competition has made it quite challenging now.
While firms in Beijing still command the majority of the intellectual property work in China, firms in other parts of the country are increasingly competitive with each other and with firms in Beijing. Thus, we included regional awards for firms in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, with Shanghai included as a nod to that region’s growing importance as a commercial and manufacturing hub, as well as its increasing strength in high-tech industries. Guangzhou and Shenzhen are notable for their inclusion in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area collection of cities, provinces and special administrative regions in the Pearl River Delta area.
And, finally, let us include a few housekeeping statements. Our China IP Awards recognize only domestic Chinese law firms. International firms will continue to be honoured in our China International IP Awards as part of our annual Asia IP Awards ceremony. Detailing the achievements of every single winner in this feature is not possible, so it is important to say that each winning firm in each category carries the same weight and has earned the award equally. Winning firms are presented here by alphabetical order in each category, and not in any other fashion. And finally, Asia IP wishes to congratulate each of our winners! – GREGORY GLASS