China’s IP Experts 2023

31 October 2023

China’s IP Experts 2023

China remains atop the global patent filings standings.

On the heels of last year’s report by World Intellectual Property Organization that China had more global patent filings in 2021 than any other jurisdiction, this year’s report has much the same news: China was responsible for 1.58 million patent applications in 2022, covering both domestic and foreign jurisdictions. Overall, global patent filings rose 1.7 percent in 2022 to 3.45 million.

China’s feat is all the more impressive when compared to those jurisdictions in the second through fifth positions: the United States was second with 505,539 applications, followed by Japan (405,361), South Korea (272,315) and Germany (155,896).

The gap between China’s filings and those of other jurisdictions is simply staggering. A Xinhua story a year ago summed it up well, saying China is “way ahead of all other countries.”

The number of patents filed in China is similar in magnitude to the combined total of the next 12 offices, ranking from second to 13th. China received approximately 1 million more applications than second place office, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), which received 591,473 applications.

WIPO attributed much of the growth in filings for China to “a considerable increase” in resident filings.

China’s share of the world total has almost doubled, the WIPI report says, from 24.4 percent of all applications to 46.6 percent in 2021. By contrast, it notes, each of the other four offices in the Top 5 experienced a decrease in their respective shares during the same period.

China fared well in the trademark tables, as well. An estimated 11.8 million trademark applications were filed worldwide in 2022, a decrease of 14.5 percent over the number filed in 2021, marking the first annual reduction in application class count since 2009. As is the case with other forms of IP, WIPI noted, the increase in trademark applications is largely due to the sheer volume of applications filed in China. In 2022, CNIPA accounted for some 7.7 million trademark applications, followed by a relatively paltry 945,571 at the USPTO.

As China’s participation in international patent, trademark and, indeed, other forms of intellectual property, increasing at a staggering rate, it is no surprise that we have seen a commensurate increase in top flight IP work being done there. Asia IP asked a large number of professionals – mostly in-house counsel and corporate legal managers – what they were looking for from their legal service providers. From their answers, we have compiled our list of China’s 100 IP Experts, those lawyers who understand just what their clients need and are able to provide them with the best practical advice.

Top-notch individuals are easy to come by in Beijing, Shanghai and in the Greater Bay Area, which encompasses mainland cities like Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Zhuhai, and are increasingly easy to come by in other regions of the country, as well. While a few large, traditional firms continue to place multiple lawyers on our list, they are increasingly challenged by smaller upstarts, which are often formed by alumni of the older firms, blending the traditions of those firms with a fresher outlook and a, perhaps, more innovative, nimble approach.

Unitalen Attorneys at Law led the list, placing five lawyers in our Top 100. Liu, Shen & Associates and Lung Tin Intellectual Property Agent each placed four on the list. Four firms had three lawyers on the list: Advance China IP Law Office, Beijing Uni-intel Patent and Trademark Law Firm, Fairsky Law Office and Jadong IP Law Firm.

No other firm placed more than two lawyers on the list, tallying up an impressive total of more than 61 different law firms represented on our list, demonstrating clearly that while the largest firms might still remain in the lead, that lead may not be as large as they think it is. The upstarts are hot on their heels.

Most of the lawyers named to our list have multiple practice specialties. Many of them are litigators, while others concentrate on prosecution work or provide strategic advice.

All of them have something in common: they are experts in their fields and, in one way or another, they provide extra value for their clients. They are Asia IP’s China IP Experts. – GREGORY GLASS

China’s IP Experts is based solely on independent editorial research conducted by Asia IP. As part of this project, we turned to in-house counsel in China, Asia and elsewhere around the world, as well as China-focused partners at international law firms, and asked them to nominate private-practice lawyers including foreign legal consultants, advisers and counsel.

The final list reflects the nominations received combined with the input of editorial team at Asia IP, which has nearly 50 years of collective experience in researching and understanding China’s legal market.

All private-practice intellectual property lawyers in China were eligible for inclusion in the nominations process; there were no fees or any other requirements for inclusion in the process.

The names of our 100 IP Experts are published here. Each IP Expert was given the opportunity to include their biography and contact details in print and on our website, for which a fee was charged.

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