Foley Files Application to Open Office in China

23 April 2007 Media Contact: Jill Chanen News

Firm Adds Catherine Sun To Lead Shanghai Office & Advise Clients On Intellectual Property Strategy, Asset Management & Litigation.

Foley announced today that it has filed an application with the Ministry of Justice of the People’s Republic of China requesting approval to open a representative office in Shanghai.  

In addition, Catherine Sun has joined Foley as a partner from the Shanghai office of Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP where she led the firm’s intellectual property practice in China. She is licensed to practice in New York and will be assigned to the firm’s New York office during the license application process, but will be stationed in Shanghai.   

If the application is approved, the firm will leverage its nationally recognized Intellectual Property Department to differentiate itself from other U.S. law firms that have recently opened representative offices in China by focusing on assisting companies with intellectual property (IP) counseling and dispute resolution.

The Shanghai office would serve the firm’s U.S., Asian and European clients in a number of industries including life sciences, manufacturing, automotive and high-technology. Sun will chair the firm’s Asia practice and lead the growth and development of the Shanghai office.    

“China’s growing presence in the global marketplace coupled with its evolving legal system presents a unique business environment for our clients that are either currently doing business in Asia or are evaluating opportunities,” said Ralf Boer, the firm’s chairman and CEO. “Our strategy for our Shanghai office is consistent with the firm’s international market strategy that focuses on opening foreign offices in markets where the firm has a competitive advantage and can offer services not already available from other international law firms.”

Because of the current business and legal climate in China, Foley clients require assistance with intellectual property asset management, litigation and licensing. In addition, Foley will work with companies in the wireless industry on IP issues related to their technology platforms and the software underlying them, as well as the IP necessary to protect content and control counterfeiting and piracy. The firm also will counsel clients on corporate matters related to technology transfer, venture capital, mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, wholly foreign-owned entities and tax.

“Recent studies indicate that eighty percent of market capitalization in publicly traded companies is tied to intellectual property assets,” said Sharon R. Barner, chair of the firm’s Intellectual Property Department. “As a result, businesses are placing more value on their intellectual property assets making it more important for them to protect and enforce their rights in China.”

Sun has experience in IP strategy, counseling and litigation, IP issues related to cross-border M&A, international technology transfer, licensing and portfolio management. She earned a LL.M. degree from George Washington University Law School and spent seven years practicing law in the United States at one of the major national law firms in the Washington, D.C. area.

She then returned to Hong Kong and Shanghai to continue her IP practice. While in the United States, she was an in-house attorney for a high-technology company and served as a Student Law Clerk to the Hon. Randall R. Rader of the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

Sun joins several Foley attorneys, including three Chinese nationals, with proven experience in understanding Chinese business issues, working with Chinese in-house counsel and building strong relationships with local Chinese law firms.

The attorneys include Stephen A. Bent, Hal Wegner, Zhu (Julie) Lee, Ken Duck, Tianjun (T.J.) Hou and Xueqing (Linda) Ji, who have years of experience in handling intellectual property and corporate matters for U.S., European and Japanese companies with interests in China. An office in Shanghai will give them a base of operations to assist current clients and work with Chinese companies seeking intellectual property protection and legal advice on corporate deals outside of China.  

Foley plans to move into office space in Shanghai in 2007 subject to approval by the Ministry of Justice. The Shanghai office would be the firm’s second office in Asia following the Tokyo office, which opened in 2003.

Foley & Lardner LLP provides the full range of corporate legal counsel. Our attorneys understand today’s most complex business issues, including corporate governance, securities enforcement, litigation, mergers and acquisitions, intellectual property counseling and litigation, outsourcing and information technology, labor and employment, and tax. The firm offers total solutions in the automotive, emerging technologies, energy, entertainment and media, financial services, food, golf and resort services, insurance, health care, life sciences, nanotechnology, and sports industries.