27 ASIAN LEGAL BUSINESS CHINA • 亚洲法律杂志-中国版 WWW.LEGALBUSINESSONLINE.COM/CHINA INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY for Morgan Lewis’s Shenzhen office to further connect technology and life sciences companies in the region to the firm’s full service and industry capabilities,” adds Zhu. “In such a complex market, with so many different clients, there is scope for all kinds of legal services in Shenzhen. Morgan Lewis offers a unique service for clients with cross-border IP counseling requirements, so we see our services as complementary to many other firms in the region.” Wang Jing & GH Law Firm’s senior partner Chen Mingwu observes that there has been a significant growth in foreign-related IP cases in the Guangzhou and Shenzhen markets. Courts in Guangdong province concluded 9,876 foreign-related IP cases and 4,913 Hong Kong- and Macao-related IP cases from 2018 to 2022, with an average annual growth of 25.75% and 27.59%, respectively, according to data from the High People’s Court of Guangdong Province, therefore, “there has been a significant increase in demand for IP services from foreign-related enterprises,” says Chen. Chen tells ALB that Guangdong courts have issued a series of regulations and opinions in recent years to further strengthen the equal protection of the legitimate rights of domestic and foreign companies. It also published typical cases of IP protection in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA) to further emphasize the role of Guangdong as a preferred location for IP litigation. EMERGING CROSS-BORDER BUSINESS Chen further enumerated several new types of foreign-related business. The first category involves fair competition cases, referring to combating unfair commercial competition behaviors such as false publicity and acts of confusion. Among the typical eight cases of IP protection in GBA released by the High People’s Court of Guangdong Province, five cases were involved in unfair competition among commercial entities. The other type is cross-border antitrust business. “As a major e-commerce province, Guangdong has seen an increase in antitrust demand in the crossborder e-commerce sector,” says Chen. For example, the Guangzhou Intellectual Property Court recently accepted the first case of a local enterprise suing an overseas e-commerce platform for abusing its market dominance. The last category is cases involving new technologies. “There has also been a significant increase in the number of cases involving new technologies and industrial research and development, including infringement of trade secrets, disputes over the ownership of patents, as well as unfair competition involving technologies in the Internet field,” Chen adds. Meanwhile, Yao points out that cross-border IP services in Guangzhou and Shenzhen present two obvious trends. The first trend is the increasingly urgent demand of enterprises for IP applications in the global market. “As more and more Chinese enterprises enter the international market, they need to know how to lay out their IP rights in the international market and require professional guidance,” says Yao. For example, due to limited resources and budget, many small and mediumsized enterprises (SMEs) are unlikely to do a largescale and comprehensive layout. They tend to gradually expand in their target markets. However, they need professional suggestions on when to start applying for trademarks and patents in the target market, what trademarks and patents they need to focus on, which markets they need to pay attention to, and which markets can be put on hold. “How to customize the cross-border layout strategy of IP rights based on various factors such as the enterprise expansion plan, the IP system of the target market, and the perfection of the rule of law in the target market, is urgently needed by many enterprises that are going out,” says Yao. The second trend Yao has noted is the growing need for companies to respond to overseas IP disputes. “Many enterprises increasingly encountered issues such as trademark squatting and counterfeit and infringing products appearing in the local market,” says Yao. “Meanwhile, due to the lack of understanding of the target market’s IP protection system, many SMEs frequently encounter IP disputes such as facing complaints about infringement and being sued for trademark or patent infringement. Therefore, they are in urgent need of professionals who are familiar with handling cross-border IP disputes and advice from lawyers.” Li also noticed that in the field of IP services in the Guangzhou and Shenzhen markets, Chinese crossborder e-commerce sellers have become the main target defendants in large-scale IP infringement lawsuits initiated by U.S. law firms. In 2022, the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) against Chinese sellers was issued by U.S. courts, and then crossborder e-commerce platforms needed to take down seller links and freeze funds. Chinese sellers are facing negotiation and settlement, responding to lawsuits and counterclaims. “The Amazon platform was sued for abuse of market dominance by sellers in the Guangzhou and Shenzhen courts. This type of case is complex, pioneering and sensitive as it involves the relationship between China and the U.S., antitrust and anti-unfair competition,” Li adds. Zhu Shaobin 朱韶斌 Jason Yao 姚红军 Chen Mingwu 陈明武 Li Ye 黎叶