Brinks Gilson & Lione has opened its first international office in Shenzhen, China, where the company has developed a number of clients, including a Chinese telecommunications company, an internet company and an electric vehicle manufacturer.
Gustavo Siller Jr., Brinks’ president, said the firm decided to focus on attracting new Chinese clients about 10 years ago.
“We were fortunate enough to be able to develop a fair number of clients in the high-tech industry,” Siller said. “Because of our existing clients, we felt that it was important for us to have somebody in China that our clients would have ready access to … who was experienced in U.S. patent law and U.S. IP law that they could contact and get advice from in their time zone.”
Brinks already has offices in Chicago; Washington, D.C.; Ann Arbor, Mich.; Indianapolis, Ind.; Research Triangle Park, N.C.; Salt Lake City, Utah; and Tampa, Fla.
Shenzhen is in south China near Hong Kong.
While the new office in Shenzhen will serve existing clients, Siller said he hopes the firm’s client base there will expand to other industries.
“There are a lot of other technologies that are emerging in China right now that we hope to be able to provide assistance with,” he said.
The office in Shenzhen currently has two lawyers: Harold V. Johnson and Fei Hu.
In a statement, Johnson said the office in China’s Guangdong Province “offers remarkable opportunities.”
“Brinks advises Chinese clients that export to the U.S. about U.S. intellectual property laws, helping them protect their innovations and defending against allegations of infringement,” Johnson, who is the managing shareholder in Shenzhen, said in the statement.
Siller said the firm has the largest number of Chinese clients in the telecommunications and internet industries.
“China is going to become more and more important for firms like ours which are devoted to helping high-tech companies.” Siller said.
Among the firm’s high-profile tech clients in China are internet company Tencent and a telecommunications equipment maker ZTE.
Tencent gain attention last year when its stock market value of more than $500 billion surpassed that of Facebook. It also became the first Chinese company to have a market value of more than $500 billion, according to news reports.
ZTE also made headlines last year. The multinational company pleaded guilty and paid more than $1 billion in fines and penalties after a U.S. Justice Department investigation found the company was illegally shipping U.S. materials to Iran.
At that time, ZTE was represented by attorneys from Burleson, Pate & Gibson LLP in Dallas, Hogan Lovells US LLP, an international firm, and Clifford Chance US LLP, another international firm. The case is U.S. v. ZTE Corp., No. 17CR00120.