The firm recently hosted a live demonstration of a Chinese patent trial in a first-of-its-kind event in San Francisco. The mock trial, which was conducted by attorneys from the Zhong Lun law firm, showcased a Chinese patent case in which a foreign company sought to enforce its patents in China. Former Judge Yi Zhang of China presided over the mock trial, which was conducted in Mandarin with simultaneous English translation. The demonstration was followed by a discussion among a panel of Quinn Emanuel and Zhong Lun attorneys.
“As far as we know, there has never been an event like this in the United States,” said Quinn Emanuel partner Mark Tung, who co-hosted the event along with partners from four different offices in the United States and China. “This was a unique opportunity, because United States attorneys are not even allowed into Chinese courtrooms to observe, let alone participate in, legal proceedings in China,” Tung added.
Xiao Liu, who recently joined Quinn Emanuel as a partner in its Shanghai office, also participated. “More and more, companies based in the United
States and around the world are looking to China as a critical forum, often as part of an international patent enforcement strategy. We wanted to show them what litigating in China is like, because an improved understanding can help guide strategy in future cases,” Liu added. The event was a novel experience even for lawyers whose practice is based in China. “We often cooperate with Quinn Emanuel in cross-border disputes,” said Ping Gu, a partner at Zhong Lun, “and we were very happy to participate in this event and shed light on the Chinese system for a new audience.”
The mock trial involved a simulated dispute in which a foreign company sought to enforce its Chinese patent for a spindle motor. It was based on an actual case that was recently litigated in China. The demonstration included opening statements, evidence presentation, direct and cross examination of witnesses, and legal argument. The three-judge panel included former Chinese Judge Yi Zhang presiding as Chief Judge, a former Chinese patent examiner, and Quinn Emanuel partner Mark Tung, whose practice frequently involves China-based companies or disputes. As in Chinese courts, the mock trial featured frequent back-and-forth between the attorneys and the panel of judges as they worked through each side’s claim construction and infringement analysis. Ultimately, the foreign patentee in the mock trial succeeded on its infringement claim, as the foreign patentee had in the real case.
This event was conducted against the backdrop of a quickly changing and drastically expanding patent system in China. As China continues to develop its patent system, companies doing business in China must be aware of how it operates and what remedies are available against infringers.