ALLENS ARTHUR Robinson has capitalised on its strong position in Hong Kong and China by opening a locally licensed intellectual property business in Beijing — Allens Arthur Robinson Intellectual Property (Beijing) Limited.
The new Beijing trademark agency is Allens' fourth office in Greater China, joining a full-service locally licensed practice in Hong Kong and registered foreign law firm offices in Shanghai and Beijing.
The Beijing practice will be headed by Ted Marr, who has worked for Allens in both the Sydney and Hong Kong offices. Two local staff members will be employed by the Beijing offshoot.
Philip Kerr, partner and head of the Allens global Intellectual Property group, said the Beijing office has been set up as part of the firm’s entitlement under Chinese regulations. Because the firm was already operating in trademark law in Hong Kong, the Chinese government extended permission to set up a trademark agency in China itself, Kerr said.
He said the firm leapt at the new business opportunity.
“Our greater China intellectual property (IP) practice attracts clients from North America and Europe who are both clients of the Australian office and in many cases giving work separately to the greater China practice ”
Key issues for clients seeking trademark services in the region, said Kerr, include counterfeiting and cyber squatting on domain names.
“[We address] the standard types of infringement actions, mainly covering the same sorts of protection of our clients’ intellectual property in China in the way we act for them in Australia. Obviously counterfeiting is a very major problem,” he said.
Allens is the only Australian law firm operating in IP at present.
Allens' Asia Executive Partner, Jim Dunstan, described the move as part of the firm’s ongoing strategy in the Asia-Pacific region.
“We have the most extensive, integrated legal network of any firm, providing our clients with a seamless service. This latest addition to our network provides clients with the ability to protect their intellectual property in an influential, rapidly growing Asian economy,” Dunstan said.
Other Australian firms who have successfully leveraged their Hong Kong market position to gain a toehold in China include Mallesons Stephen Jaques, Deacons, Minter Ellison and Gray & Perkins.