(SAN FRANCISCO) Oct 29, 2007 – LAWFUEL – The Legal Newswire – Heller Ehrman LLP announced today plans to open an office in Shanghai, China in January 2008. The expansion will allow Heller Ehrman to strengthen its overall presence in the region and extend one of its key core practices – intellectual property (IP) – further into Asia. The Shanghai office will be the law firm’s third location in China, following Hong Kong and Beijing, which the firm opened in 1993 and 2004, respectively. The firm also has an office in Singapore.
“China is the most important emerging market in the world today and Heller Ehrman is committed to expanding throughout Asia,” said Heller Ehrman Chairman Matt Larrabee. “Since we first opened in Hong Kong, our strategy has been to grow gradually in China so that we could be in position to meet the needs of U.S. clients as they expand into Asia, and the needs of Chinese companies that are expanding globally.”
Larrabee added that by initially focusing on IP in Shanghai, Heller Ehrman has taken another significant step in the firm’s strategy to enhance its global IP practice, which currently stretches from the U.S. to Asia, and soon may stretch to London, where the firm opened an office in early 2007. The initial emphasis in Shanghai will be on taking advantage of the firm’s expertise with U.S.-based IP disputes and International Trade Commission (ITC) proceedings, which increasingly involve China-based companies. This complements Heller Ehrman’s existing capabilities in advising foreign multinationals facing IP protection issues in China.
Johnny Cheng-Teh Chiu, currently a Heller Ehrman shareholder in the firm’s Washington, D.C. office and a member of the firm’s IP Litigation Practice Group, will relocate to China to be the Chief Representative of the Shanghai office. A fluent Mandarin speaker, Chiu has represented clients before the ITC, and handled IP disputes in U.S. district courts across the country. Chiu will be joined by another senior attorney from the U.S., who also has years of IP experience business roots in China.
“China is becoming increasingly sophisticated in its demand for IP services,” said Chiu. “Our expertise in IP, both in China and in other parts of the world, positions us well to serve Chinese and multinational companies that need experienced representation in IP disputes.”
Intellectual property issues pose challenges both for multinationals operating in China and Chinese companies that wish to expand globally. From 2002 to 2006, basic people’s courts in China saw a total of 54,321 civil IPR lawsuits, an increase of 145.92% compared to the period from 1997 to 2001. In addition, one-third of all ITC matters in the last three years have involved China-based litigants. From January to August this year, there have been a total of 12 ITC investigations involving China, representing an increase of 43.8% over the same period last year.
Heller Ehrman has built an impressive track record of assisting Chinese and multinational companies in protecting their IP, in dispute resolution, as well as in cross-border transactions and direct investment in China. For example, the firm successfully defended Huawei Technologies, China’s most prominent technology player, in a landmark patent infringement case against Cisco Systems. More recently, Heller Ehrman has been asked to represent a group of Asia-based laminated floor manufacturers in a high profile IP dispute before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
Heller Ehrman’s IP Litigation Practice Group has more than 75 attorneys worldwide. The firm was recommended for dispute resolution and IP in China by Asia Pacific Legal 500. In January 2006, The American Lawyer recognized Heller Ehrman as having one of the top five IP litigation departments in the U.S.
“The Shanghai office opening not only expands our China IP practice, it also reinforces our existing Beijing and Hong Kong corporate, real estate and dispute practices, and enhances our ability to deliver services to clients in the region. It also will open new business opportunities and facilitate the further integration of Asia with our practices in London and the U.S.,” said Jonathan Palmer, the firm’s Regional Managing Shareholder for Asia.
In recent months, Heller Ehrman has represented clients in several important deals in the region, including Fairmont Hotels and Resorts in connection with the operation of the Shanghai Peace Hotel. Heller Ehrman has also represented important regional clients in high-stakes international disputes, such as U.S.-listed, on-line gaming company, Shanda Interactive Entertainment, and vitamin C giant, Jiangsu Jiangshan Pharmaceutical Co.
About Heller Ehrman LLP
Heller Ehrman LLP has more than 700 attorneys and professionals in 14 offices worldwide – Anchorage, Alaska; Beijing; Hong Kong; London; Los Angeles; Madison, Wis.; New York; San Diego; San Francisco; Seattle; Shanghai; Silicon Valley (Menlo Park, Calif.); Singapore; and Washington, D.C. Heller Ehrman represents a wide range of industry leaders, from entrepreneurial, technology-driven enterprises to established, multinational conglomerates. The firm’s core values are Excellence, People, Teamwork, Innovation, Community and One Firm. For more information, visit www.hellerehrman.com.