China lawyers

Because of this blog, our international lawyers get a fairly steady stream of legal questions from readers, mostly via emails but occasionally via blog comments or phone calls 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 quick general answer and, when it is easy to do so, a link or two to a blog post that provides some additional guidance. We figure we might as well post some of these on here as well. On Fridays, like today.

We are always preaching how if you are going to have your products manufactured overseas you should have the following:

1. An NNN Agreement.

2. A Manufacturing Agreement.

3. A registered trademark in the country in which you are manufacturing and in the countries in which you will be selling your product.

4. Oftentimes, a Product Development Agreement as well.

But we are often asked by companies whether they need all of the above (or at least the first three) if they will only be buying X amount of product at a time or even over time. There are no hard and fast rules on this. We usually like a 10-15 minute phone calls to ask questions and then give answers. Will you be putting your brand name or your company name or your logo on your product? What about on its packaging? How much will you be paying for your initial order? Will you definitely be making future orders? For how much? What, if anything is unique about your product? In what countries will you be selling your product? Do you have any patents, trademarks or copyrights anywhere in the world?  Where? What kind of patents? How terrible would it be for you if your product is sold by someone else before you can sell it? How terrible would it be if your product is sold by someone else but without your brand name or your logo? How easy would it be for someone who is not your manufacturer to duplicate your product? The answers to these questions allow us to give our advice.

Any general guidelines? Maybe the following:

If you are only going to be doing a one-time $10,000 or less purchase you probably do not need any of the four.

If you will be making a $10,000 purchase with plans to buy more if you do well selling your initial order, you can usually get away with just a trademark and maybe an NNN Agreement at the beginning, but maybe not.

We have seen too many start-up companies get shut down early for not protecting themselves early for us to tell anyone that not doing something will not put their future at risk.




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 (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 ( 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.