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Cross-class Protection of Well-known Trademarks Should Match Their Reputation

Innovation leads development and protection of intellectual property rights is just protection of innovation. In 2020, China was ranked number one in the world for nine consecutive years in the quantity of invention patent applications and it was ranked number 14 in the Global Innovation Index with its 27.414 million pieces of effective trademark registrations up to the end of June 2020. In 2020, China further intensified IP protection and introduced the punitive compensation system to deter intentional IP infringement by increasing the cost of infringement.

In judicial practice, however, there exist disputes about how protection of well-known trademarks matches their reputation and to what extent they should be protected across classes. Here I would like to share my thought on cross-class protection of well-known trademarks through a case I have handled.

In June 2018, market monitor showed that a company by the name of Yaboo International Furniture Trading Center Ltd. (“Yaboo”) in Shenzhen, a major city in South China’s Guangdong Province, was heavily using the logos  and  in their Wechat official platform, PC APP, and posters, and even in exhibitions. See figure below.

Nestle believed that Yaboo infringed their exclusive right to their well-known trademarks “Nestle in Chinese characters” and “Nestle” with respect to “coffee” products in Class 30. In July 2018, Nestle brought legal proceedings before Guangzhou Intellectual Property Court, requesting the court to determine the trademarks “Nestle in Chinese characters” and “Nestle” with respect to “coffee” products as well-known ones and order that Yaboo stop its infringing act, be prohibited from using the infringing logos at issue in any sense of trademark, issue a statement in China Intellectual Property News to eliminate ill effects, and pay CNY 3 million (USD 462,000) in damages and the costs of trademark protection.

This case has 3 centers of dispute.

Dispute 1: Whether it is necessary to determine the trademarks “Nestle in Chinese characters” and “Nestle” as well-known

The court held that in spite of the fact that the plaintiff’s trademarks are registered with respect to “coffee” and “infant foods” and the defendant used them for the service of sale of“household goods”and there is a real difference between goods and services, the defendant had express bad faith in that it used the logos at issue in the full knowledge of the reputation of the plaintiff’s trademarks.  It is thus necessary to take account of the reputation of the plaintiff’s trademarks in this case to stop the defendant’s infringing act.

The court further held that the ample evidence Nestle presented in the case for the use of their marks during 2015-2017 is sufficient to prove that at the time of infringement the marks “Nestle in Chinese characters” and “Nestle” , with a long time of use and publicity, have had a great reputation, are generally known to the relevant section of public, and have achieved the status of well-known trademarks so as to be determined as well-known.

Disputes 2: Whether the use of the alleged infringing logos constitutes an infringement of the plaintiff’s exclusive right to their registered trademarks involved

The court held the alleged infringing logos constituted an imitation of Nestle’s well-known trademarks. Meanwhile, considering the high reputation of Nestle’s marks, the use of the alleged infringing logos for the services of wholesale and retail of household goods would “mislead the public and harm the interests of the well-known trademarks’ owner”. Therefore, Yaboo’s use of the infringing logos is an act of “causing other harms” to Nestle’s exclusive right to their registered trademarks.

Dispute 3: How the defendant shall accept its legal liability in the event of infringement

The court ruled that Yaboo should stop infringing act forthwith when the judgment is effective and pay Nestle CNY one million (USD 150,000) in damages within 10 days from the date when the judgment is effective.

After Guangzhou Intellectual Property Court passed the judgment of first instance, Yaboo was dissatisfied with it and appealed to Guangdong Provincial Higher People’s Court. In January 2021, Guangdong Provincial Higher People’s Court gave the judgment of second instance, dismissing Yaboo’s appeal and upholding the judgment of first instance.

The court of second instance ruled that Yaboo’s heavy use of the logos “ ”, “ ”, “Nestle Life in Chinese characters” and “Nestle Life in Chinese characters + Nestle” in their Wechat official platform and publicity campaigns and on the signboards of their chain stores was liable to mislead the relevant section of public into thinking its act was authorized by Nestle or it was associated somehow with Nestle, leading to confusion over the origin of the infringing goods or services, “the use of the infringing logos at issue tarnished the distinctiveness and goodwill of Nestle’s two registered trademarks as well-known ones and harmed Nestle’s interests,” and Yaboo had express bad faith as it continued using the infringing logos even after its application for registration of the mark “Nestle Life in Chinese characters” was refused.

Article 14 of the Trademark Law of the PRC: A well-known trademark, at the parties’ request, should be determined as a fact that needs to be ascertained in the handling of a case involving the mark. Account shall be taken of the following factors in determination of a well-known mark: (l) reputation of the mark to the relevant public;(2) the duration in which the mark is used; (3) the duration, extent and geographical area in which the mark is promoted; (4) the record of protection of the mark as a well-known one; and (5) any other factors relevant to the well-known reputation of the mark.

In hearing cases of trademark infringement, the determination of well-known status of the mark(s) concerned is necessary when the general rules do not work. Only by determining the mark(s) as well-known can cross-class protection of well-known trademarks be provided under the trademark law. “Cross-class protection” means the scope of protection goes beyond elimination of “the likelihood of confusion”. From the angle of legislation, cross-class protection should be limited to a proper extent. It cannot cover all fields; instead, it should be applied on the grounds that confusion among consumers over the supplier and origin of goods or services is created or some association is formed. In trying cases of this kind, the court should consider the reputation and distinctiveness of the trademark(s) concerned and the misleading effect of infringing act. At the same time, in defending their right, the trademark owner should provide evidence for his/her trademark(s)’s reputation and well-known status. In the event of significantly different classes of goods or services, the trademark owner must convince the judge by sound, persuasive and logical arguments that the defendant has bad faith subjectively and the infringing act is liable to cause “confusion” over the origin of goods or services among the public objectively so much as that relation between the trademark(s) and its (their) owner are weakened or diluted and then the reputation and goodwill of the trademark(s) are damaged, thus enhancing the chances of winning the case and protecting his/her IP rights and interests.

Résumés

Mr. Zhenkun Fu

Senior Partner; Trademark & Litigation Attorney

Zhenkun is a leading intellectual property law practitioner with more than 20 years’ experience in prosecuting trademark and patent infringement, unfair competition, and anti-counterfeiting cases. His work with Fortune 500 companies has resulted in the recovery of millions of dollars in damages. As a leading IP litigator, having managed thousands of lawsuits, Zhenkun’s groundwork and strategic insight, coupled with his exceptional relationships with AIC, BQS and PSB at national and local levels, makes him a key leader in intellectual property enforcement in China.

 

 

 

China Makes Cryptocurrency Transactions Illegal: An Explainer

On the September 24, 2021, 10 government authorities, including the People’s Bank of China (PBOC), jointly issued a notice to clarify that cryptocurrency is not a legal tender. Further, all cryptocurrency transactions in China are considered illegal, including offshore exchanges to provide services to Chinese citizens. The authorities stated that China-based employees of offshore crypto exchanges or any companies providing services to them will be investigated and prosecuted. See more details here.

On the same day, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) and 10 other authorities issued another circular (the NDRC circular) to local governments on how to wind down cryptocurrency mining activities in their areas.

China joins a growing list of countries where cryptocurrencies are banned or restricted. Egypt, Indonesia, and Nepal are among where these restrictions exist.

China has one of the world’s biggest cryptocurrency markets, which is why global price of cryptocurrencies is affected by fluctuations in the Chinese market. With the announcement of the banning of cryptocurrencies, the price of bitcoin fell by more than US$2,000.

This ban is part of a national crackdown on the currency form. The Chinese government sees it as a volatile investment and have concerns about it being used to launder money. The People’s Bank of China said of “[cryptocurrency] seriously endangers the safety of people’s assets”.

Baker McKenzie: Helping Clients Do Business in Japan

UN rights office condemns Iran’s fourth juvenile execution

UN rights office condemns Iran’s fourth juvenile execution in one year, breaching international law

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) condemned Thursday Iranian officials’ fourth execution of a child offender in 2020, stating that the execution of child offenders is “categorically prohibited under international law.”

Mohammad Hassan Rezaiee was executed early Thursday morning for an offence allegedly committed by him at the age of 16. This was Iran’s fourth confirmed execution of a juvenile offender in 2020, while at least 80 others are believed to be on death row.

Iran is a party to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). Article 37 of the UNCRC prohibits capital punishment for offences committed by persons below the age of 18. The OHCHR said that the country’s recent spate of executions is, therefore, a marked breach of its international obligations, hinging only upon the reservation it made when ratifying the UNCRC that “if the text of the Convention is or becomes incompatible with the domestic laws and Islamic standards at any time or in any case, the Government of the Islamic Republic shall not abide by it.”

Amnesty International has repeatedly urged Iranian authorities to amend Article 91 of its penal code to abolish capital punishment for crimes committed by people under the age of 18.

The OHCHR also referred to the “troubling allegations” that Rezaiee was convicted on the basis of forced confessions extracted through torture. Amnesty International reported that despite his young age, he had been kept in prolonged solitary confinement, beaten with sticks, kicked and punched, and whipped with pipe hoses.

High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet “urges Iranian authorities to halt all executions of child offenders and immediately review their cases in line with international human rights law.”

China – Mergers and Acquisitions

One of the most common ways for a business to gain access to the China market is through acquisition of, or merger with a local company. But Chinese laws that govern foreign acquisition are complex and you may need to bring in a third party to accomplish it. And there’s another consideration, the resulting entity operates differently than a standard business, do it’s important to understand the rules.

That’s why if you are considering a merger or acquisition in China, you need the legal team at IPO Pang. IPO Pang has plenty of experience negotiating and closing mergers and acquisitions, representing either buyers or sellers. Their team has a strong understanding of how to get the job done, the law and the customs must be followed if you want to pull of the transaction on time and on budget.

There are a number of things that can slow or even stop the deal. Poor due diligence, inadequate understanding of regulatory legal and political risks, or underestimating the timetable to complete the deal. IPO can help withs with every aspect of a merger and acquisition from start to finish. They often represent the foreign party on a hybrid structure fee so they share the risk and with skin in the game, they will make sure the deal gets done to your satisfaction.

Whether you want to buy or sell, the best investment you will make is teaming up with IPO Pang.

Read out to them via info@ipopang.com or visit www.ipopang.com, you can also call them.

Article By Peter C. Pang

 

Japan’s Law Firms Benefit as Companies Move From China to SE Asia

As an increasing number of Japanese companies move production out of China in order to protect their supply chains, hefty investments made by Japan’s Big 4 law firms into Southeast Asia are paying off.

All four of the firms—Mori, Hamada & Matsumoto; Nishimura & Asahi; Anderson Mori & Tomotsune; and Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu—have established offices in Southeast Asia and are well-positioned in the region, where their clients, assisted by the Japanese government, are now actively relocating factories from China. In July, the Japanese government announced subsidies of up to US$114 million for 30 companies that were transferring their factories from China to Southeast Asia.

The moves have accelerated as Japanese companies seek to avoid getting caught up in increased U.S.-China trade tensions, political turmoil in Hong Kong and country lockdowns prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic. But for the Japanese firms, moving into Southeast Asia is not new. Mori Hamada was one of the first Japanese firms to make its foray into the region, opening an office in Singapore back in 2012. Since then, it has established offices in Yangon, Ho Chi Minch City and Bangkok.*

In a sense, Southeast Asia was a fallback for the firms. Before 2012, they had assessed global markets for expansion opportunities but decided against Hong Kong because there was too much foreign firm competition there, all chasing after major Chinese state-owned enterprise M&As. They also concluded it would be too costly to set up offices in the U.S. and the U.K., where there was already a deep pool of well-entrenched competitors, lawyers say.

So all four firms followed their clients, which included major trading houses such as Mitsubishi Corp., Mitsui & Co., Sumitomo Corp., Itochu and Marubeni, into the greenfield that was Southeast Asia.

Now, their investments are reaping rewards. Over the past decade, Japanese companies have invested US$139 billion into Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Thailand and the Philippines. The pace of total investment over 10 years is double that of Japanese investment into China.

Nishimura & Asahi partner Masato Yamanaka, the Singapore office co-representative, said Japanese clients are investing in a much broader range of sectors in Southeast Asia. Traditional sectors included infrastructure projects and manufacturing, but technology and real estate have taken over in a big way. While the bulk of the firm’s work was traditionally dominated by banks and construction companies, it is increasingly adding tech companies to its list.

“We are also starting to see more funds, startups and financial services companies moving their operations to Singapore as a result of Hong Kong’s political challenges,” Yamanaka said.

But law firms and their clients are not just benefiting from their presence in Singapore. Indonesia, for example, Southeast Asia’s largest economy, has seen a surge in Japanese investment as companies look to protect supply chains and avoid repercussions of the U.S.-China conflict and Hong Kong political turmoil. In June, the Indonesian government announced that three Japanese companies, including Denso Corp. and Panasonic Corp., have relocated their plants from China to Indonesia.

And the work in Southeast Asia is not limited to Japanese law firms. Earlier this year, U.S.-based Morrison & Foerster, one of the largest international law firms in Japan, advised three entities within the Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group—MUFG Bank, MUFG Innovation Partners and Krungsri Finnovate—on a US$706 million investment into Grab Holdings, Southeast Asia’s biggest ride-hailing company. Grab had separately received a US$3 billion investment from the Japanese conglomerate Softbank in 2019.

Law firms are also benefiting as Japanese industry makes moves into Vietnam, Myanmar and the Philippines. Last year, Sumitomo bought a 19 percent stake in the Light Rail Manila Corp., the operator of the Manila Light Rail Transit System Line 1—the only privately-operated rail system in the Philippines, for US$60 million. Morrison Foerster advised on the deal.

In 2019, Japan became the second-largest foreign investor in Vietnam, with over 4,300 projects totaling more than US$59 billion. Japanese investors see great opportunity in the country’s infrastructure sector, with pending projects worth over US$200 billion.

With such a positive outlook, lawyers predict more competitors will scurry into the region.

“I don’t think the traditional, smaller but long-standing Japanese firms will expand much internationally, but there is a new group of young lawyers that have trained in big local and international firms that are setting up their own firms,” said Nishimura & Asahi’s Yamanaka. “These lawyers will see and understand the opportunities outside of Japan; they have experience in advising startups. So we should see more of those [coming in].”

In June, Nishimura & Asahi became the first Japanese legal practice to establish a Formal Law Alliance (FLA) with a local Singapore firm. Nishimura & Asahi-Bayfront Law Alliance focuses on corporate M&A and arbitration matters. “The alliance is still new but we believe there will be an increase in ASEAN clients wanting to invest in real estate in Japan as a result of our alliance.”

Just weeks after Nishimura & Asahi’s formal law alliance announcement, Anderson Mori & Tomotsune announced it had formed an alliance with seven-lawyer DOP Law Corp.

However, Mori Hamada has not announced plans for a tie-up, despite it being among the first Japanese firms to break into the region. Nor has Nagashima Ohno.*

“It is not easy. We have spent years trying to look for the right partner,” said one Big 4 Japanese law firm partner who did not wish to be named. “Bigger firms don’t want to link up and smaller firms have not been the right fit.”

Chinese Investment in US Plummets Under Increased Scrutiny

New U.S. government data shows a massive drop in acquisitions of U.S. businesses by Chinese investors, particularly in critical technologies, evidence of the chilling effect of the Trump administration’s heightened scrutiny of Chinese investments.

The data, released by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, provides evidence of the impact of strained U.S.-China relations on U.S. inbound Chinese investment. It also sheds light on the practical impact of recent reforms bolstering CFIUS’s powers.

In 2019, China was not the biggest source of transaction notices filed to CFIUS, a position it had held since 2011. Instead, that distinction fell to Japan, which filed 46 notices to CFIUS. This indicates that inbound Chinese investment to the U.S. for the year was lower than previous years, as CFIUS had fewer Chinese transactions to review, according to Darshak Dholakia, a partner at Dechert in Washington, D.C.

According to its annual report to Congress for 2019, published on July 31, CFIUS reviewed 25 Chinese transactions last year, a more than 50% drop from 55 the previous year and 60 in 2017. There was also a corresponding drop in Chinese investment in critical technologies, from eight acquisitions in 2018 to just three last year.

“Most of these publicly notified transactions that have received CFIUS scrutiny and CFIUS has either killed the deal through onerous mitigation measures or President Trump has recommended blocking the deal—those overwhelmingly have involved critical technologies,” Dholakia said.

In March, President Donald Trump blocked the acquisition of U.S. hotel management software company StayNTouch Inc. by Chinese company Beijing Shiji Information Technology Co. through a presidential order. Although there were no such orders issued in 2019, according to the CFIUS report, five of the six presidential orders issued over CFIUS’s 40-year history were issued in the last eight years. Moreover, five of the six orders related to Chinese investments.

According to a Rhodium Group report published in May, Chinese investment in the U.S. in 2019 fell to $5 billion, its lowest level in more than a decade. In addition to growing CFIUS scrutiny, the report also cited China’s restrictions on outbound investment and worsening U.S.-China relations as significant headwinds for Chinese investors.

CFIUS reviews foreign investment for national security risks. According to Cooley, examples of transactions that CFIUS typically scrutinizes include those involving U.S. businesses that have contracts with the U.S. government, as well as transactions that would result in foreign control over critical infrastructure.

Comprising nine government agencies, including the Department of Justice and the Department of the Treasury, CFIUS has the power to recommend the president block or unwind transactions as well as modify transactions by imposing mitigation measures.

In recent years, CFIUS has seen its review powers bolstered, most notably in 2018 with the passage of the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act. Some of the main changes include a greater focus on foreign investment in U.S. critical technologies, as well as the introduction of mandatory filing requirements for certain transactions, including those involving critical technologies.

“This discussion about how to properly frame CFIUS’s jurisdiction has been caught up in a larger discussion about cybersecurity, IP theft, resilience of American critical infrastructure, and sufficiency of its national industrial base,” said Jeremy Zucker, co-chair of Dechert’s international trade and government regulation practice based in Washington. D.C.

Chinese investors should pay close attention to CFIUS’s tightened filing requirements as a result of FIRRMA, Zucker said. He pointed out that CFIUS has seen its budget significantly expanded, which has led to the establishment of a new office dedicated to reviewing transactions that are not voluntarily submitted to CFIUS for review.

“There is more monitoring of the investment universe than ever, so a decision not to file is a riskier decision than it used to be. If the goal is to be able to close the deal with confidence that the U.S. government won’t interfere, then it’s certainly wiser to seek that clearance on a preclose basis than to close and then hide and hope that the government won’t come looking for you later,” Zucker said.

In recent years, CFIUS has unwound Chinese acquisitions of U.S. businesses several years following their completion. In March, Chinese company Kunlun was forced to divest from its acquisition of gay dating app Grindr in 2016 following a CFIUS review. Earlier this month, Trump issued an executive order banning TikTok from the U.S. market following a CFIUS review of the Chinese video-sharing platform’s acquisition of U.S. social media app Musical.ly in 2017.

Zucker believes Chinese investment in the U.S. is still possible, as long as Chinese investors are proactive in addressing known concerns of the U.S. government. These include whether the Chinese investor is an operating entity in the same industry as the investment target; the commercial merits of the investment; and the ultimate ownership of the investor itself.

“The most important thing for Chinese investors to do [moving forward] is to try put themselves in the shoes of U.S. government officials reviewing their investments,” Zucker said. “We’re representing Chinese investors in front of CFIUS right now, and we certainly are not under the impression that those investments are doomed.”

China introduces new Hong Kong security law

China introduced a controversial national security law Thursday that could place restraints on the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong.

The law prohibits acts of “sedition, foreign interference, terrorism and secession.” China cited national security concerns for implementing the measure, but many warn the law will be interpreted broadly and cover protests.

China’s legislature begins its annual National People’s Congress meeting on Friday, where it could pass the law without deliberation from the legislature in Hong Kong.

Under the institution of “one country, two systems,” such a measure would need to pass the Hong Kong legislature. The legislature attempted to pass national security legislation earlier this year, but failed after being met with opposition from protesters.

The summer of 2019 marked a significant resistance to the Chinese government from pro-democracy protestors. The movement has since subsided in the form of public protest as the COVID-19 outbreak has spread throughout the world, including in Hong Kong.

Pro-democracy leaders are speaking out against the proposal and its procedure. “This is the end of Hong Kong. This is the end of ‘One Country, Two Systems.’ … Beijing has completely breached its promise to the Hong People. A promise enshrined … in the basic law,” declared lawmaker Dennis Kwok.

Simmons & Simmons Opens Office in Shenzhen, China

Simmons & Simmons has opened an office in southeastern Chinese city Shenzhen.

The new office is Simmons’ third in the country, alongside its operations in Beijing and Shanghai.

The new office will focus on telecommunications, media and technology (TMT)—areas in which the firm already advises Shenzhen clients.

TMT partner Jingyuan Shi is moving from the firm’s Beijing office to lead the outpost. She will be the office’s sole partner but will work closely with the firm’s international TMT teams led by London-based partner Alexander Brown.

“Shenzhen is rapidly growing as a force in the technology industry and plays a pivotal role as a global innovation powerhouse,” Shi said in a statement.

Paul Li, who is the head of Asia for the firm, noted that China is currently the world’s second most important TMT market after the U.S. “This move enables us to build on our existing presence in the country,” he said. ”We are committed to continuing investment in this market, working under The Mainland and Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA).”

Shenzhen officially became a city in 1979 and in 1980 was established as China’s first special economic zone, which has made it more attractive to foreign and domestic firms. The city, sometimes called China’s new Silicon Valley, is now home to some of the best-known Chinese technology companies, including Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd., ZTE Corp. and Tencent Holdings Ltd. Shenzhen is officially one of the world’s fastest-growing cities.

Other global law firms, especially those with a strong intellectual practice, have opened offices in Shenzhen. Chicago-based IP shop Brinks Gilson & Lione was the first, opening its Shenzhen office at the very end of 2017. Fish & Richardson and the hybrid virtual law firm Rimon Law each launched an office there earlier this year.

Earlier this month, Simmons also expanded its presence in France with the hire of two lawyers for its Paris office.

London-based law firm Herbert Smith Freehills in China tie-up

London practice is sixth international group to be licensed in Shanghai initiative

London-based law firm Herbert Smith Freehills will affiliate its Chinese business with a local company in a new test for integrating foreign legal services with domestic law practice in China. The tie-up comes after nearly a decade of experimentation by foreign groups seeking to boost their presence in China by partnering local companies. Several affiliations, such as that of China’s King & Wood and Australia’s Mallesons, or global firm Dentons and China’s Dacheng, have formed some of the world’s largest practices but have yielded mixed results. Chinese regulation does not allow full integration of foreign and domestic legal teams. Foreigners are barred from practising Chinese law, as are Chinese nationals who work for foreign law firms.  Instead, some foreign companies, such as King & Wood Mallesons, have established so-called Swiss verein structures, where firms combine under a single brand but maintain separate finances. Others, such as HSF and Ashurst, have received formal licences to set up joint operations under a pilot programme in Shanghai. HSF will become the sixth global law firm to gain approval from Shanghai’s Bureau of Justice to integrate with a Chinese practice, allowing it and its Chinese partner, Kewei, to rebrand the China business as Herbert Smith Freehills Kewei.

The two firms will be able to work closely on individual deals and share the fees from such projects. HSF said the integration with Kewei would focus on cross-border mergers and acquisitions, banking and finance and financial services regulation. Kewei, which has 20 partners and lawyers, was launched in 1995 in Shanghai. HSF, which posted profits of £306m for the year ending in April, has more than 300 lawyers in the region. “When clients come to see us, we [HSF and Kewei] are now under one umbrella and we are both responsible for them,” said May Tai, HSF’s Greater China managing partner, noting that both firms’ reputations will now be formally linked. Such joint operations are still in a pilot phase and do not have full recognition as legal entities. HSF follows firms such as Baker McKenzie, Linklaters and Hogan Lovells to link up with Chinese practices under the Shanghai initiative. King & Wood and Mallesons in 2011 became the first test in which a Chinese firm merged with a large western one. In 2015, Dentons merged with Dacheng, one of China’s biggest practices, to form what was then the largest global law firm by attorney headcount.

Firms are fighting for a share of China’s cross-border legal work, which has grown rapidly over the past decade as Chinese companies invest more overseas. But integration has had a mixed record as global groups, often drawing on more than a century of history, mix with Chinese practices with just a few decades of experience, according to several lawyers with experience in such tie-ups. People close to the partnerships said that integration in overlapping jurisdictions often led to clashes, with firms continuing to compete internally despite attempts to integrate practice. “In some cases, the foreign firm ends up attracting lots of business for the Chinese firm but not the other way around,” said one Beijing-based lawyer familiar with the partnerships.