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Interview with Longan Law Firm

Author:Longan Law FirmAddtime:2017-08-25 10:22:14Font size:SmallMediumBig

 Recently, IP House unveiled the 2016 list of Top 10 IP Litigation Agencies and hosted the IP House Summer Reception in Beijing.
To help readers better understand the list, IP Power (Zhichanli) paid visits to agencies that made the list, in the hope that their stories could be shared with readers by exploring their growing experiences and professional services.

In this visit, IP Power interviewed Longan Law Firm which was awarded “China Top 10 Agencies of Administrative Litigation” by IP House this year.

Rising with the Spring Breeze
Longan Law Firm was founded on December 29, 1992. Longan’s founding was made possible by the entrepreneurship of a group of top students with judicial practices and by the new chapter brought about by the opening up policies.
In the spring of 1992, China’s opening up process was facilitated by Mr. Deng Xiaoping’s South Inspection Speech, and so was the reform of the practice of law. As the practice of law was rigorously reformed and relevant policies introduced accordingly, law firms with cooperative systems sprang up like mushrooms, and Longan was among them. Longing for their own practice, Jiali Xu, Jason Lee, and others resigned from their stable jobs and established Longan Law Firm.
Longan was originally located at the prosperous Beijing Huiyuan International Center. Despite being newly opened, Longan’s business was thriving. “The newspaper gave us huge publicity, and our business was pretty good, with our clients queuing in the corridor,” Mr. Xu said, and since then Longan has expanded rapidly. In 1995, the first branch was established in Shenyang, northeast China; in 1996, Longan was transformed from a cooperative firm into a partnership; since 1997, the office has been relocated to Beijing International Club; and from 2000 up to now, Longan has received many awards and top rankings, as it continues to develop in maturity and professionalism.

From its foundation in 2000, Longan was thriving and its IP business was on the rise. After 2000, Longan’s IP business transformed, becoming one of Longan’s major fields of service.
In 2001, China entered into World Trade Organization (WTO). To be in line with the international environment and WTO, as a result, China made a series of adaptations and changes in terms of laws including Trademark Law, Patent Law, and Copyright Law. “Judicial review and administrative power” facilitated the rise of case numbers in Trademark Review, Adjudication Board, and Patent Reexamination Board, and since Chinese enterprises were faced with IP litigations from foreign companies, Longan’s IP business saw a substantial growth, which made many people think highly of its IP services.
In the first three years of the 21st century, Mr. Xu made his decision to complete post-doctoral research at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, following Chengsi Zheng, the pioneer of China’s intellectual property rights. During the three following years, Mr. Xu was highly exposed to intellectual property cases which not only consolidated his understanding of IP theories but also improved his IP professionalism. Returning to the firm, Mr. Xu, together with other colleagues, built Longan’s IP Team. It is not just academic elites who contribute to this team, but also litigation personnel and trademark and patent attorneys.
Talents and great IP firms can facilitate each other. Mr. Xu shared his strategies for obtaining and maintaining talent at Longan. The first strategy was to explore the potentials of outstanding interns; the second was to set up scholarships, attracting the attention of outstanding IP graduates; the third was internal training; and last but not least was the support for employees in pursuit of higher education to improve their academic abilities.
Up to now, Longan’s IP Team has more than 100 attorneys, with practices in litigation, agency and consultancy. There are over forty IP attorneys with strength in litigation, with over 100 annual IP litigation cases.

Ambition and Industry
Starting with only a few people in a small office, the firm has developed into a large law firm with more than 1,000 people working in multiple offices across the country. The reasons for such rapid development, as Mr. Xu suggested, are its historical accumulation, litigation ability, vast resources, and the academic background of its founders and attorneys.
Intellectual property rights need certain accumulation in this area. “There are a lot of attorneys asking me how to become professional lawyers in IP. I say to them that you should first become an expert in IP before you become a professional IP lawyer”, Mr. Xu stated.firm with more than 25 years of experience, Longan thinks highly of professional accomplishment and of learning from experience, thus forming guidance for later practices and strengthening its credit.
Longan has a host of experienced personnel in the practice of litigation. Mr. Xu remarked, “Litigation is an important part of our IP business, and it seems one litigated case equals more than 10 agencies”. These personnel with experience in courts and procuratorates possess strong litigation skills.
As a general law firm, Longan provides a platform with timing and vast resources. Established at the right time, Longan now has 20 offices in China and has gathered large resources in IP.
In addition, Longan is endowed with a profound academic background. There are two doctoral supervisors with Longan, and these two supervisors are capable of exerting their influence over the IP industry. Linked by Longan’s IP Specialized Committee, attorneys with strengths in different areas work together to improve and strengthen Longan’s business.

A Hard-earned Case
When it comes to Longan’s most impressive case, Mr. Xu mentioned a case regarding trade secrets invasion and patent rights between Aowei Technology (the plaintiff) and its expert, Mr. Wang (the defendant).
For this case, the plaintiff argued that the defendant from Harbin, northeast China, infringed its trade secret and patent, while Mr. Xu, as the lawyer of the defendant, found out that the so-called infringement actually regarded interest disputes, with Mr. Wang migrating from outside Shanghai to be appointed as an expert with a generous settlement. In the hearing, Mr. Xu argued that the first thing was to figure out the ownership of the technologies, patent rights, and trade secrets. Eventually, the claim of secret invasion argued by the plaintiff was not found to be justified, and, accordingly, Mr. Wang received compensation from the plaintiff.
This case was only one of several cases regarding trade secrets in which Mr. Xu represented clients and won. Mr. Xu said that, according to the data by the Supreme People’s Court, the rate of the plaintiff losing the case was as high as 87%. Personally speaking, the majority of his representing the plaintiff in trade secret failed. Such a high loss rate was related to the features of the trade secrets. The courts are relatively strict with the claims and criteria of trade secret rights and normally reject such claims.
With respect to his expectation of Longan’s IP development, Mr. Xu said that Longan will continue to position itself as a general law firm, but IP will surely continue to play a big role. In addition, the IP team shall do its best to remain “first-tier” with IP practices, enhancing its strength and integrating its sources continuously.
May Lonnan continue to have a bright and unique future in the field of intellectual property!

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