Alston & Bird announced today that it is expanding into China with the opening of an office in Beijing, China. The office is located in the Hanwei Office Building in Beijing’s Central Business District.
The office will assist Chinese companies with cross-border legal matters, primarily in the United States.
“For many years, we have assisted a number of Chinese clients in the United States across a broad range of services, including intellectual property disputes, products liability litigation, cross-border M&A and international tax matters,” said Alston & Bird Managing Partner Richard Hays. “The launch of our Beijing office recognizes the importance and success of these practices by formalizing a presence around practices that Alston & Bird has had for many years.”
A significant focus of the office will be counseling Chinese companies on U.S. intellectual property law in federal and state courts across a broad range of patent, licensing, and other disputes.
Hays added: “The office will also position the firm to respond to Chinese clients’ outbound business needs in other important practice areas as well.”
“We are excited to be able to support our fast-growing China practice with an on-the-ground office in mainland China,” said Yitai Hu, Alston & Bird partner who will serve as Chief Representative of the office. “Although IP law will be a primary focus, we will also represent Chinese companies in the United States in foreign direct investment, complex litigation, international trade and other areas where Alston & Bird has marquee practices.”
A member of the firm’s Intellectual Property practice, Hu is an internationally recognized IP litigator and practitioner. In addition to having served as lead counsel in more than 50 cases in U.S. federal and state courts, he has handled more than 20 investigations before the ITC. Among the matters he has litigated are claims involving semiconductor technologies, non-volatile memories, LEDs and LCDs, microprocessor technologies and circuit designs. He also has arbitrated cases, both in the United States and abroad, involving licensing and technology transfer disputes.
Joining Hu will be Helen Su, who is also a member of the firm’s Intellectual Property practice and who will serve as a local partner in the office. Su’s practice focuses on a wide range of intellectual property matters, including litigation, licensing negotiations, and patent portfolio management. She joined Alston & Bird in 2008 and has experience representing companies located in the greater China region before federal and state courts, as well as the ITC and other venues. Su has handled litigation and arbitration involving a variety of industries and technologies, including consumer electronics, LEDs LCDs, semiconductors, telecommunications, manufacturing, health care and insurance.
In addition, Alston & Bird has added Uni Li as counsel in the firm’s International Trade and Regulatory Group. Li focuses his practice on representing Chinese exporters and industries in responding to trade remedy actions initiated by United States, EU and other countries and advising on trade sanctions, export controls, customs matters and U.S. foreign investment (CFIUS) reviews.
“Our relationship with Uni dates back to 2002 when he was a summer clerk in our Washington, D.C. office,” said Hu. “We are delighted to have him as part of the Beijing office.”
All of the Alston & Bird lawyers in the office attended law schools in the United States.
“Our strategy has been to anchor the office with attorneys whose deep understanding of China’s culture and business environment enables them to use their training and experience in the United States to benefit our clients,” Hays said. “Having well-integrated and experienced attorneys on the ground who are communicating directly with clients and prospective clients and who are capable of quickly and seamlessly drawing on the full resources of the firm offers tremendous value. We are witnessing significant success with this approach, and we intend to stick with it.”
In recent years, Alston & Bird has served as counsel to a number of Chinese clients, including:
•Representing Taishan Gypsum Co., a drywall manufacturer, in the largest case currently pending against a Chinese company in the United States. Taishan is defending against class-wide product liability claims in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.
•Representing Chinese national Zhang Hao, a professor at Tianjin University, against charges alleging economic espionage and theft of trade secrets.
•Representing Sinocare Inc., a Chinese maker of blood-sugar monitors, in its bid with Citic Securities Co., China’s largest brokerage company, to acquire a German healthcare company’s global diabetes business.
•Successfully represented Haier Corporation Group, the world’s leading home appliances and consumer electronics brand, and its U.S. affiliate, in the ITC and in the U.S. District Court for Delaware against claims of patent infringement arising from Haier’s smart televisions and use of interactive programming guides.
•Representing three Chinese companies – Yantai Zhenghai Magnetic Material Co., Ningbo Jinji Strong Magnetic Material Co., and Anhui Earth-Panda Advance Magnetic Material Co. – in an ITC Section 337 dispute with Hitachi Metals over patent infringement allegations related to the U.S. sale of sintered rare earth magnets.
As the United States increasingly becomes a key venue for Chinese companies in IP, product liability, trade disputes and other litigation, Alston & Bird is well positioned to represent clients on their most critical litigation matters and is recognized as a leader for its outstanding client service and exceptional record of achievement. Alston & Bird was recently named 2015 “International Trade Commission Firm of the Year” by Managing Intellectual Property magazine for successfully representing clients before the ITC, the world’s premiere forum for most high-stakes patent litigation. The firm was also recently recognized as 2015 “Best U.S. IP Firm: Patent Litigation” at the International Legal Alliance Summit & Awards and highlighted by Corporate Counsel magazine as one of the country’s top-10 patent litigation firms. Alston & Bird helped clients secure two of the country’s largest verdicts of 2014 as determined by The National Law Journal, with both cases ranking among the top 30.
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