China AttorneysBecause of this blog, our China lawyers get a fairly steady stream of China law questions from readers, mostly via emails but occasionally via blog comments as well. If we were to conduct research on all the questions we get asked and then comprehensively answer them, we would become overwhelmed. So what we usually do is provide a super fast general answer and, when it is easy to do so, a link or two to a blog post that may provide some additional guidance. We figure we might as well post some of these on here as well. On Fridays, like today.

Though China’s economy is — for the most part — doing well these days, competition among factories is intense and we are seeing the divisions between winners and losers accelerating. Well-run factories that actually appreciate good contracts are growing. Poorly run factories which make their razor thin margins by skimping on materials or with tax sleight of hand, seem to be crashing. These crashing companies are dangerous as they are desperate and that leads to frequent problems. This is my somewhat long-handed way of saying that our China lawyers are getting record numbers of emails from disgruntled foreign product buyers, usually asking us to help them recover money they are owed.

In nearly all cases, we have to tell them that we do not believe we can help them and that paying us even to try would be throwing good money after bad. At some point in our email conversations they often ask “what then should we do” and our response is usually the following:

Three things. One, if you are going to continue manufacturing in China, but with someone else, you should not let on that you have a problem with your existing factory. And if you have already told them of your concerns, start downplaying them, and fast. You do not want this factory to start taking measures to make it difficult for you to go to another factory. For more on this, I suggest you read Why Changing China Suppliers Can Be So Risky. Most importantly, if you have not already registered your trademarks in China (and maybe your design patents as well), do so immediately. You do not want your old factory to get those and they often do. See Make China Trademarks a Priority. Two, do NOT go to China to try to resolve your dispute with your existing supplier. For why this is so important, check out China Product Defects, Lawsuits, Hostage Taking and Exit Ban: Please, Please, Please Read This! Three, don’t buy again from China without first conducting at least basic due diligence on your supplier and getting China-specific manufacturing contracts in place. See China Manufacturing Contracts: Not So Simple.

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Dan Harris

I am a founder of Harris Bricken, an international law firm with lawyers in Los Angeles, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle, China and Spain.

I mostly represent companies doing business in emerging market countries. It has taken me many years to build my network and it takes constant communication and travel to maintain it. My work has been as varied as securing the release of two improperly held helicopters in Papua New Guinea, setting up a legal framework to move slag from Canada to Poland’s interior, overseeing hundreds of litigation and arbitration matters in Korea, helping someone avoid terrorism charges in Japan, and seizing fish product in China to collect on a debt.

I was named as one of only three Washington State Amazing Lawyers in International Law, I am AV rated by Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory (its highest rating), I am rated 10.0 by AVVO.com (its highest rating), and I am a SuperLawyer.

I am a frequent writer and public speaker on doing business in Asia and I constantly travel between the United States and Asia. I most commonly speak on China law issues and I am the lead writer of the award winning China Law Blog (www.chinalawblog.com). Forbes Magazine, Fortune Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, Investors Business Daily, Business Week, The National Law Journal, The Washington Post, The ABA Journal, The Economist, Newsweek, NPR, The New York Times and Inside Counsel have all interviewed me regarding various aspects of my international law practice.

I am licensed in Washington, Illinois, and Alaska.

In tandem with the international law team at my firm, I focus on setting up/registering companies overseas (via WFOEs, Rep Offices or Joint Ventures), drafting international contracts (NDAs, OEM Agreements, licensing, distribution, etc.), protecting IP (trademarks, trade secrets, copyrights and patents), and overseeing M&A transactions.