OUR GATE TO CHINA

The economic development of the People’s Republic of China and the increase in our activities in legal transactions with the People’s Republic of China caused us to apply for a licence for an office in Shanghai in 1994. As the first German law firm we were granted this licence in Shanghai in March 1995.

Our clients are primarily German and Austrian companies and companies from the European Union as well as their subsidiaries in the People’s Republic of China. In addition, we also represent clients from non-European countries.

At SNB you always have experienced German speaking lawyers as contacts on all issues. They are consistently in charge of providing advisory services. Our lawyers are, moreover, perfectly fluent in written and spoken Chinese and can rely on many years of negotiation experience. Our clients benefit from this because they can act better and more cautiously vis a vis Chinese partners.

The team is supplemented by Chinese lawyers with local and international training. Moreover, Chinese patent lawyers and trademark specialists work for us in Shanghai.

CONTACT: Telephone +86 (0)21 - 6219 8370 / Telefax +86 (0)21 - 6219 6849 / Email snb@snblaw.com
ADDRESS:
Suite 2302 / International Trade Center / 2201 Yan An Road (West) / 200336 Shanghai / VR China

CHINA IP

We consider the long-term protection of the immaterial bases for business success in China as one of the biggest challenges for foreign companies. Our counselling practice on industrial property rights focuses exactly on that point.

As a result of the export of products to China, the co-operation with Chinese suppliers, licensees and distribution partners as well as the employment of local staff, foreign companies expose themselves to special risks. The objective must be to protect critical technologies, product designs and designations in a way which takes the special risks of the Chinese environment into due account.

In this connection you need comprehensively designed preventive systems, an ongoing monitoring of the Chinese market with a view to potential infringements of own rights and efficient enforcement strategies.

We advise you on a preventive basis on the development of a Chinese property right portfolio and co-operate with you on comprehensive registration, development and licence strategies.

In the event of infringements, we co-ordinate prosecution measures before the Chinese public authorities and courts. Our special strength lies in the designing and consistent implementing of a prosecution strategy which is tailored to the situation of the individual case. With this approach we have been able to prove in many cases that foreign title holders can win infringement proceedings in China.

Our specialist practice for industrial property rights in Shanghai is mainly working in the field of patent law but also trademark law. A specialisation has also been developed in the field of industrial design protection where our team has made a name for itself, amongst others, through its work in the field of design protection in the automotive industry.

Apart from the registration, administration and enforcement of property rights, we focus on providing an overview of IP aspects together with company law, contract law and tax issues.

Our colleagues from the IP practice in Hamburg ensure that infringing products from China do not reach the European markets. They are experienced in border seizure and law enforcement at trade fairs.

CHINA CORPORATE

Since the foundation of our Shanghai office in 1994 we have advised many foreign investors on industrial projects in China. This not only includes greenfield investments but also acquisitions and restructurings.

As far as company formations are concerned, we carry out all licensing and registration procedures for foreign investors and advise in the run-up on all legal issues in connection with the planned investment. Apart from company formations in the form of wholly foreign owned enterprises (WFOE), we accompany joint venture projects, with  efficient negotiation support being our main asset in such projects.

The acquisition of Chinese companies is a complex process. Our contribution to the acquisition of Chinese companies starts with the conduct of a legal due diligence, including a due diligence concerning industrial property rights. Through a forward-looking contract design, we contribute towards containing risks. Based on our longstanding counselling practice, we can rely on comprehensive experience in restructurings. The implementation of share transfers, asset deals, amendments to articles of incorporation of all kinds as well as company dissolutions are part of our day to day activities. A special strength of our team of lawyers consists in accompanying industrial companies during transition and crisis situations in China. This includes disputes amongst shareholders or relocations of head offices due to environmental and planning provisions. Our consulting practice in the field of Corporate includes also labour law mandates and tax implications.

In a regular contact with the senior management of our clients, lawyers from our team frequently take over the role of a general counsel for the China business. In many cases we co-operate with legal departments in Germany. In particular with a view to coping with difficult and sensitive issues, we consider this to be our special challenge. For that reason, we also take over special responsibility in the field of legal compliance which is considerably gaining in importance for foreign companies in China. Partners of our law firm also act as members of the board of directors or as supervisors of several affiliated companies of clients in China.

FOOD AND HEALTH

Food and Health has developed into another specialisation in our China business. The manufacturers of medical devices and medicines, service providers in the health sector but also food producers and retailers have been part of our clients in the Corporate and IP practices.

During the past years this sectoral specialisation has increasingly developed into an independent regulatory consulting practice. It includes food law, pharmaceutical law, cosmetics law, but also other marketing authorisation and safety provisions for special product groups such as chemicals, hazardous substances and certain mechanical or electrical products. Regulatory counselling is supplemented by work on commercial law issues including trans-boundary e-commerce (CBEC).

Our activities in Food and Health cover China, Vietnam and other ASIAN countries.

Typical cases in this field include:

  • Review of the marketability of products in China and Vietnam
  • Crisis management advice in the event of consumer complaints or recall activities
  • Advice on distribution models and contract drafting with distribution partners
  • Advice on liability risks under local law

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