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
Suite 2302 / International Trade Center / 2201 Yan An Road (West) / 200336 Shanghai / VR China


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.


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 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


The beginnings of our business activities in Vietnam go back to the 1990s when the Hamburg-based lawyer Hans‐Bernd Giesler entered into a co-operation with our Hamburg office. Mr Giesler, a pioneer in international political and economic relations between Germany and many Asian countries, had just been appointed honorary consul general of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

In July 2012 SNB was granted a comprehensive legal consulting licence by the Vietnamese Ministry of Justice to open an independent branch office in Ho-Chi-Minh City.

The licence allows SNB full legal counselling activities in Vietnam in the fields of company law, the law relating to foreign investments, international trade law, arbitration law, industrial property rights, banking law and financing, labour law, construction and real property law, energy law as well as any other legal areas required by the clients.

Against the backdrop of increasing costs in China, many companies have relocated their production to Vietnam or are about to consider the pros and cons of the locations. We help you in implementing your “China Plus” strategy and support you in the formation, extension and restructuring of your business activities in Vietnam. Companies which are already operating before or apart from Vietnam in China can benefit from our experience in both countries and our integrated China-Vietnam team. Our partner Dr. Jörg-Michael Scheil is the only German lawyer who is admitted as a foreign Attorney-at-law in China and Vietnam.

At the application for licences and investment certificates our lawyers benefit from the fact that we are familiar with the requirements and the procedures of the Vietnamese public authorities, in particular the local Departments of Planning and Investment (DPI). We also accompany clients entering the market in so-called conditional sectors up to cases in which the creation of an appropriate legal basis presupposes first talks to the competent Vietnamese ministries or the government and corresponding lobbying.

Our work on formation projects is supplemented by counselling on mergers and acquisitions, restructurings and liquidations as well as investment disputes.

Another focal point of our activity has developed during the comprehensive legal advice on projects, mainly in the field of renewable energies and real property.

Of course, we consult companies operating already in Vietnam also in the fields of labour law, contract law and legal compliance.

Our lawyers in Ho-Chi-Minh City advise clients in German, English and Vietnamese.

CONTACT: Telephone +84 (0)28 - 6258 4949 / Telefax +84 (0)28 - 6254 9666 / Email snb.vietnam@snblaw.com
ADDRESS: Suite 702 / 7th Floor / Empire Tower / 26-28 Ham Nghi Street / District 1 / Ho Chi Minh City / Vietnam

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