Domestic Arbitration

Joint venture disputes

We represented a Chinese party in a Sino-foreign cooperative joint venture in real estate sector in connection with a dispute In an arbitration proceeding before CIETAC Shanghai. The CIETAC case concerned the application of a proof standard that involves the “high probability principle” where no direct evidence could be shown by the claimant (the foreign party) to support its claims or by the respondent (the Chinese party) to rebut the claimant’s assertions. This case closed with the foreign party’s withdrawal of its claims.

We represented two foreign shareholders in an arbitration concerning the breach of the contract by a third Chinese shareholder for failing to contribute its subscribed capital, its illegal takeover of the joint venture and its deportation of the personnel of the foreign shareholders. This case lasted 8 years and ended with a CIETAC’s award finding that third Chinese shareholder was in breach.

We represented, in a CIETAC arbitration proceeding, a foreign party in a cooperative joint venture dispute dealing with the termination of the contract. The parties settled and withdrew the case due to substantial pressures exerted by the foreign party as a result of our outstanding performance. We also represented the foreign party in the entire process of the liquidation of the joint venture company with the cooperation from the former recalcitrant party until the dissolution of the joint venture.

Defending the Chinese shareholder to a Sino-foreign joint venture and initiating counter-claims in relation to an arbitral claim brought by the foreign shareholder at CIETAC requesting confirmation that liquidation procedures in respect of the company had been carried out unlawfully and distribution of the profits of the joint venture in accordance with the results of an audit. This case touched upon laws, regulations and policy changes in relation to Sino-foreign joint ventures and joint ventures in the medical sector between 1987 and 2008, as well as relevant legal provisions relating to the liquidation of companies. The case was ultimately resolved through settlement to the satisfaction of our client.

Share transfer disputes

Representing the foreign shareholder in a Sino-foreign joint venture in a dispute regarding the validity of a share transfer and performance of the joint venture contract with a Chinese partner. This case touched upon legal issues that had been the subject of considerable debate amongst both academic lawyers and practitioners, including the legal restrictions upon foreign investment in pharmaceutical retailing. The case was ultimately resolved through settlement in a manner satisfactory to our client.

Asset transfer disputes

In an arbitration proceeding administered by the Shanghai Sub-commission of CIETAC, we represented the transferor (respondent) in an asset transfer transaction to defend against the claims asserted by the transferee (applicant) for breach of the asset transfer agreement. We brought a counter-claim against the other party (applicant) in respect of their liability for breach of the agreement. The arbitral tribunal supported part of the counter-claim regarding the compensation of damages sustained by the respondent. Subsequently, based on new evidence found by the transferor, we represented the transferor, this time being an applicant in a new arbitration case in CIETAC Shanghai, to claim for compensation of damages as a result of the breach by the transferee. This case closed with a satisfactory settlement.

Defending the transferor to an asset transfer contract and bringing counter-claims in relation to claims brought by the transferee at CIETAC for the return of the consideration paid for the assets. The tribunal upheld part of our client’s claims of compensation for breach of contract. We then utilized this favorable award to initiate further proceedings at CIETAC demanding compensation to the transferor for breach of contract, ultimately pressuring the transferee to agree to a comprehensive settlement of the dispute on terms favorable to our client.

Financial products disputes

In a high-profile transaction, we represented a private equity investment (PE) fund to negotiate with a majority shareholder in an invested enterprise that was preparing for a “backdoor listing”. Under the circumstances that the shares held by the PE was not included in the proposed listing, we helped the PE in formulating strategies and its execution of dispute resolution strategies to deal with this situation. By bringing a lawsuit against the majority shareholder, we exerted effective pressures on the majority shareholder, who finally came back to negotiate with the PE and reached a settlement with the PE. A market commentator observed that the PE scored a “white wash” against the majority shareholder in that risky gamble.

Representing an international investment bank in CIETAC proceedings brought against a Chinese aluminum company in relation to an interest rate swap agreement, the first case in China to test the enforceability of financial derivatives transactions. The tribunal upheld the validity of our client’s termination of the interest rate swap agreement, rejected the respondent’s claims of improper selling by the investment bank, and upheld the majority of our client’s claims for compensation.

Construction disputes

In an arbitration proceeding before CIEATAC Shanghai, we represented a project owner (respondent), being a foreign-invested enterprise, to respond to the contractor regarding payments of construction alterations and to bring counter-claims against the contractor for compensation for damages caused by the contractor’s delays in performance. Our excellent performance in each of the oral hearings and our rigorous and meticulous documentation put a large amount of pressure on the contractor. This case ended with a satisfactory settlement.

We represented a project owner in an arbitration proceeding before Guangzhou Arbitration Commission to defend against the claims by a contractor for altering the total price of construction. This case closed with an arbitral award made in favor of the project owner.

Representing the owner of a construction project in separate proceedings before CIETAC and the Guangzhou Arbitration Commission in relation to two construction contracts (one of which was filed with the Chinese authorities and the second of which formed the basis of the parties’ actual performance of the project but was not filed with the authorities). On the basis of our outstanding performance at the hearings, as well as the pressure exerted on the contractor, the case was ultimately settled to the satisfaction of our client.

Maritime Disputes

We represented the respondent (seller) to defend against the applicant (buyer) in a dispute arising from a contract for international sales of goods. In particular, the claims concerned the obligations by the respondent of delivering the original bill of lading to the buyer according to terms of the sales contract. The arbitral award made was completely in favor of our client.

Domestic litigation

Administrative litigation

Representing a well-known internet company in successfully appealing an administrative penalty imposed by the Pudong New Area Branch of the Shanghai Municipal Administration for Industry and Commerce before the Shanghai First Intermediate People’s Court.

Corporation governance disputes

Handling almost thirty cases as lead counsel on behalf of the foreign investor in a Chinese joint venture in relation to a dispute with its Chinese partner concerning control over the JV and trademark ownership. The cases included court proceedings in a large number of different regions in China and various levels of the Chinese judicial hierarchy, as well as arbitration proceedings at CIETAC and the Hangzhou Arbitration Commission. The case attracted widespread media attention and was ultimately concluded by settlement.

Intellectual Property Litigation

We represented a world-renowned infant nutrition company to request for a retrial by the Supreme People’s Court to defeat attempt of the opposite party to enforce the effective court judgment regarding trademark infringement and unfair competition. This case concerned recognition of a well-known trademark and bad faith registration of trademark by the opposite party, the review of “new evidence”, the cancelation of the disputed trademark, the treatment of “similar products” having a specific and identifiable relationship, improper registration of an enterprise name and the dispute regarding registration of a domain name.

We represented a famous Chinese writer authoring financial and economic literatures in his defense in a copyright ownership and infringement disputes. The case generated a fair amount of publicity and discussions in the relevant circles of the society. The court agreed with the views contained in all of our responding submissions because of the solid evidence we collected and the sophistication in our legal analysis of the evidence. We won this lawsuit in all respects and fully protected our client’s legitimate interests.

We represented government’s representative office for the World Expo in Shanghai and a designer of an exhibition facility in Shanghai Word Expo against assertion of invention patent infringement of by a patentee. We applied for the declaration of invalidity of the patent, a strategy that resulted in a successful settlement of the disputes.

Representing an internationally recognized manufacturer of sealing products in proceedings brought against a local Ningbo enterprise before the Ningbo Intermediate Court and Higher People’s Court of Zhejiang Province, applying for an order that the local company cease trademark infringement and unfair competition and compensate the international company for its economic losses. The international company was successful in all of its claims, both at first hearing and on appeal. Prior to the formal initiation of proceedings, we conducted an investigation on behalf of the client into the production and sale of the infringing products by the respondent company, submitting a complaint to the local quality supervision department and seizing thousands of infringing products.

Representing a German family business in filing an objection against a local Chinese company’s registration of its family name and trade name as a trademark in China, both before the Trademark Review and Adjudication Board of the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (administrative review) and the Beijing First Intermediate People’s Court and the Beijing Higher People’s Court (administrative appeal). Both the Trademark Review and Adjudication Board and the courts determined that our client’s trade name enjoyed a certain reputation and that the local company’s actions in applying for the registration of the trademark infringed our client’s prior trade name rights. The case was ultimately decided comprehensively in our client’s favor, with the local company’s trademark application being refused and determined invalid.

Representing an internationally renowned cosmetics company in its IP protection strategy for the whole of China. Through cooperation with the local departments of the Administration for Industry and Commerce, we successfully clamped down on specialty stores and beauty clinics that had been opened without the client’s authorization in China using the client’s brand. In addition, in the trademark infringement proceedings we brought in the Taiyuan Intermediate People’s Court in Shanxi Province against a large department store, we were able to, under the auspices of the Court, negotiate a settlement agreement, with the infringing party agreeing to apologize to the client and compensate its economic losses.

Air Cargo Contract Disputes

We represented an internationally renowned airlines company in a dispute arising from its air cargo contract with a domestic airline company before a Chinese court. During preparation and pre-trial stages of the lawsuit, our team conducted a thorough analysis and preparation in respect of the legal relationships, applicable law, jurisdiction and other disputed issues. During the hearing, we successfully directed the court’s attention to the application of law, which would help to strengthen the client’s position, and thus finally obtained a court judgment in favor of our client.

Video Service Cooperative Contract Disputes

We represented a famous Internet business enterprise (defendant) in a dispute arising from a video service cooperative contract in its defense against the plaintiff, which is also a famous internet business enterprise, claiming for a large amount of monetary compensation for breach of contract. We also brought a counter-claim to terminate the contract. The court finally rejected all of the claims of the plaintiff and supported our client’s request.

Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards

We represented our client (applicant) before Wu Xi Intermediate People’s Court of Jiangsu Province to apply for enforcement of an arbitral award made by Singapore International Arbitration Center. The court made a ruling in our client’s favor.

Cross-border dispute resolution

We, acting as a co-counsel with a local firm in London, represented a Chinese client, to participate in two appellate trials involving arbitral decisions regarding two purchase and sales contracts of grains in the Grain and Feed Trade Association (GAFTA).

We, acting as a co-counsel with a local firm in Texas, US, represented a Chinese client, in its defense of a litigation case concerning product liability caused by the products manufactured and sold by our client into the US market. In the whole process of litigation, our team not only facilitated the thorough, effective and smooth communications between our client and the US lawyers, but also used extensive experiences in litigation to cooperate with US lawyers to file a timely objection to the jurisdiction of the US court, a successful strategy that forced the opposite party to withdraw the lawsuit.

In an arbitration proceeding administered by Singapore International Arbitration Centre, we represented a Chinese subsidiary of a famous multinational corporation against a large state-owned company in a dispute concerning a weak-current electrical engineering contract in connection with a building construction project. Simultaneously, we also represented the client in the other part of the dispute for arbitration before Shanghai Arbitration Commission. We advised our client to adopt effective strategies in both arbitration proceedings and the case ended in settlement.

Representing the Chinese shareholder in a Sino-foreign joint venture in arbitral proceedings conducted at the SIAC. We defended the Chinese shareholder against various claims from its foreign partner, and also submitted counter-claims on the Chinese partner’s behalf. We were able to utilize the applicable arbitration rules to our client’s advantage in order to allow precious time for the preparation of evidence in support of its case. The case was ultimately settled to the satisfaction of our client.

Representing a Hong Kong company in initiating proceedings before the ICC Court against an Austrian company, claiming that the Austrian company breached the parties’ exclusive agency agreement and seeking compensation for the breach of contract. We successfully utilized the ICC arbitration rules and the substantive law applicable to the case (Swiss law) to convince the tribunal to accept our arguments and to refuse to hear the counter-claims or off-setting claims brought by the defendant Austrian company. The case was ultimately decided in our client’s favor.

Representing a Chinese state-owned entity in defending claims brought against it in respect of a contract for the importation of soybeans. The governing law of the contract was English law, with arbitration conducted at the HKIAC under the UNCITRAL Rules. We were able to minimize our client’s losses to the greatest possible extent.

Representing a number of large Chinese banks in resolving disputes arising in respect of advance payment letters of guarantee issued in relation to ship-building contracts. The dispute involved ad-hoc arbitration in London as well as London court proceedings.

Handling a series of disputes in relation to a well-known real estate project in Beijing, involving the project transferor, the project transferee, the offshore lending bank and various other related parties. There were more than forty cases in total, more than twenty of which were conducted in China in courts of various levels; one of the cases involved an institutional arbitration, whilst a further ten were litigated in the Korean courts, with the remainder fought in the Barbados courts. The total value of the disputes was almost RMB6 billion. As the lawyers in charge of the overall conduct of the legal proceedings, we were responsible for coordination amongst the various cases and the legal teams responsible in each overseas jurisdiction.

Expert Opinions

Mr. Fei Ning, being an expert engaged by the plaintiff in a case before the High Court of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region concerning the enforcement of a CIETAC award in Hong Kong, issued two comprehensive opinions as Chinese legal expert to the High Court, explaining several complicated issues (e.g., constructive trust, specific performance, economic tort) presented by this case. Mr. Fei also appeared before the High Court for extensive cross-examination by the judge and the barristers from both sides.

Mr. Fei Ning, being an expert engaged by the plaintiff in a case before the High Court of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region concerning the enforcement of a CIETAC award in Hong Kong, issued a comprehensive opinion as Chinese legal expert to the High Court, explaining certain issues (e.g., the validity of the arbitral award) presented by the case.

Mr. Fei Ning, being an expert engaged by the plaintiff in a case concerning a hotel management contract administered by the Hong Kong International Arbitration Center (HKIAC), issued a comprehensive opinion as Chinese legal expert to the arbitrator, explaining several issues (e.g., development of land use rights, force majeure, and loss of anticipated profits) presented by the case. Mr. Fei also appeared before the HKIAC’s tribunal for extensive cross-examination by the arbitrators and the barristers from both sides.

Mr. Fei Ning, being an expert engaged by the respondent in a case concerning a maritime contract before a Federal District Court in New York, issued a comprehensive opinion as Chinese legal expert to the Court, explaining a number of issues under Chinese law (e.g., maritime litigation procedures and procedures of retrial) presented by the case.