Sunday 28 April 2013

Likelihood of Confucius? How about merging with a Chinese mega-firm

A recent report in The Lawyer relates the story of a small Israeli commercial and high-tech law firm, Eyal Khayat, Zolty, Neiger & Co. -- a three-partner practice which has suddenly acquired the ability to cast a giant shadow through its merger with Chinese giant Yingke. The Beijing-based firm has offices in more than twenty cities on its home turf and another 16 outside China. Altogether it employs more than 2,000 lawyers.  Yingke now has an office in Israel too, in Hertzlia Pituach, within easy reach of so much of the country's high-tech industry.

This blogger was initially fascinated about the 12-month negotiation period which culminated in the merger. After all, a whole year might seem a long time for what has been described as a "brand merger without full financial integration". What lay at the heart of discussions? Was it the decision as to whether the firm should function in Chinese or in Hebrew? Or the struggle to convey the right message through the trilingual logo with its somewhat allusive symbol?  No matter, the deal was struck.

It then occurred to this blogger that many a small IP practice might want to consider emulating Eyal Khayat, Zolty, Neiger & Co. by finding a massive Chinese firm with which to partner. In the olden days, IP work generally went in one direction, but now China is filing patents, designs, utility models and trade marks outside its home jurisdiction quicker than you can say "Confucius!" and the prospect of having a small foothold in a small non-Chinese country (and that's pretty well everywhere) might be well sold to an amenable Chinese giant.  No more worries about where the next instruction is coming from, either ....

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