China Transitions: Where People Went in 2011, And Where They Are Headed

Looking back on 2011 and into 2012, it has been a year with considerable transition for individuals following IP issues in China.

There were some important lateral changes in the private sector.   With the Hogan Lovells merger, Doug Clark went to Hong Kong, and Horace Lam left Hogan Lovells for Jones Day in China.  Former Supreme People’s Court IPR Chief Judge, Jiang Zhipei, left the Fangda Partners for King and Wood.  Meanwhile, King and Wood, which already had a large China IP practice, merged with the Australian law firm, Mallesons, which has a Chinese IP practice.  Amongst the more recent retirees from the Chinese government, Xu Chao, of the National Copyright Administration, and Yin Xintian, of the State Intellectual Property Office, both left the government for the Wanhuida law firm.  An Qinghu, the former Director General in charge of the Chinese Trademark Office, also left his parent agency, the State Administration for Industry and Commerce, to work for the Chinese Trademark Association.

Benjamin Bai left Jones Day for the Shanghai Office of Allen & OveryZhu Nongfan, formerly in house at General Electric, left China Science Patent and Trademark Agent Ltd. and went to work for King & Wood.  Ping Gu, formerly of Unitalen, left for Zhong Lun Law Firm.  He Jing, formerly with Baker & McKenzie, went to work for ZY Partners as a senior consultant.

Several Microsoft China alumni went off in exciting new directions:  former Associate General Counsel Fengming Liu, went to General Electric China as Vice President for Government Relations after a sabbatical at Harvard and Princeton; former General Manager Malcolm Lee returning to Washington, DC policy making, by working as a senior policy advisor for the Department of Commerce; I went to Fordham University Law School as a visiting professor.

Within the foreign legal community, the planned demise of the highly regarded EU IPR-2 Program forced changes in geography, if not position for its superb team.  Carlo Pandolfi and Jesus Romero went back to EPO and OHIM, respectively. After several years in Beijing, along with Benoit Misonne and others, they did a superb job learning about Chinese IP law and engaging the Chinese government.  Thomas Pattloch, from EPO, my own “ge’mer” (close friend), went back to the private sector to work for Taylor Wessing in Munich.   While the EU IPR-2 Team leaves, a new IP officer arrives at the UK mission, appointed by the UK IP Office, Tom Duke.

In the US Embassy in Beijing, Xiang Ting left the USPTO office for USTR’s office, while Ms. Zheng Xiaohong joined the US Embassy’s IPR team. A US Embassy/USPTO  alumnus, Wang Lei (a/k/a Leslie Wang) also went from Jones Day to Baker & McKenzie

Amongst more senior USPTO officials involved in China, there were also changes in the revolving door of US government and private practice.  In February, Sharon Barner  re-joined Foley & Lardner from her position as Deputy Undersecretary at USPTO.  She remains  constantly and passionately engaged on China-related IP matters.  Her successor is Teresa Stanek Rea, who also is quite active.

Other changes are in the works. USPTO announced for a second time that it was seeking to hire for an IP position in Shanghai, China – with a closing date for applications for year-end 2011.  This is a new position for Shanghai.  The position that becomes more important in light of increasing USPTO activity in East China including relations with local governments and academics, as well as the imminent departure of the Shanghai consulate’s Lin Xu for Taylor Wessing.  Lin Xu brought a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her position, including experience in the Shanghai municipal IP Office.  Back in Washington, DC, Joel Blank, who had been doing an admirable job on commercial rule of law issues with China, including transparency-related matters, left the US Department of Commerce International Trade Administration for USPTO where he will be working on IP enforcement issues in China (my old job).

In southern China, Ada Yang, IPR Specialist, departed PTO Guangzhou in December 2010. Remaining in Guangzhou, Ms. Yang moved to Microsoft to become Senior IP Counsel.  In February 2011, Danielle Zheng joined PTO Guangzhou as IPR Specialist, in an internal promotion within the Embassy.   Conrad Wong, who opened the PTO’s office in Guangzhou in 2007, is scheduled to depart in September 2012. He hopes to secure a position either in government or the private sector that will allow him to continue contributing to the Sino-U.S. dialogue on IPR matters.

We wish all of those who worked so hard in the government the very best in their new positions, and we hope those newly joining government service a rewarding position.

There were also several changes announced in academia. Benjamin Liu joined John Marshall Law School in Chicago to help head up its China IP training program and Dorothy Li is still the Director of Asian Alliance and continues to serve as the senior counsel to the Chinese IP Resource Center at the John Marshall Law School. JMLS has done a great job of training SIPO and other officials on IP issues over the years. Ira Belkin, formerly with the US Department of Justice and with the Trade Facilitation Office at the US Embassy in Beijing, announced he was leaving Ford Foundation in Beijing in September 2012 to serve as Executive Director of NYU’s Asia Law Institute.   Ira focuses on human rights and rule of law at Ford, but he worked on many of the rule of law issues invovling IP when he was at the Embassy.   Ira will be a very welcome addition to an active community on Chinese legal issues in the greater New York area, including area colleges and institutions.

There were also changes amongst scholars following innovation issues, with veteran innovation scholar Denis Simon announcing that he was joining Arizona State University as Vice Provost. In China, veteran patent scholar, Prof. Wang Bing of Tsinghua University retired, but remains very active in the University and in international exchanges.

Is there some information you might want to announced?  Please tell us.  If there are inaccuracies, or developments we have missed, please tell us as well… A forthcoming posting will talk about some new publications and programs.  Please email us at with information what you have been writing or publishing on (English or Chinese).

I wish everyone peace, happiness, and creativity in the year ahead – whether your new year starts January 1 or with the Year of the Dragon.

Mark Cohen

4 replies »

  1. No one can escape from your radar!! hahhaahaaaa..BTW, “ge’mer” is more like “brothers”, instead of close friends.


  2. Mr. Cohen,
    You have the wrong information regarding Dorothy Li. She has not retired. She is still the Director of Asian Alliance and the senior counsel to the Chinese IP Resource Center at the John Marshall Law School. She may not be doing the day-to-day activities as before, but she makes things happen for us at JMLS.


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