Christopher Woods, a founding partner of our New York office and a co-leader of our Asia Practice Team, is based in Kilpatrick Townsend’s New York office. He has nearly twenty-five years of experience in representing and counseling U.S. and European clients who have business interests or commercial disputes relating to intellectual property in Greater China, and in acting for Asia-based clients with interests and disputes in the U.S. and Europe.
Mr. Woods lived and worked in Hong Kong for many years as a locally-admitted IP attorney. He represented many of the world’s top technology companies in defense of their patents and trade secrets, and several of the world’s top 10 brand owners in dispute resolution matters (court actions, administrative actions, arbitrations and mediations) throughout the region. He also represented a number of significant companies in commercial transactions such as the acquisition or licensing of IP rights, and the analysis of a broad range of IP rights when listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. He co-authored a popular textbook in the early days of the opening up of the China market entitled “Technology Transfer in the PRC.”
Mr. Woods now splits his time between Kilpatrick Townsend’s New York and Shanghai offices, also spending time in London and Hong Kong. He continues to represent top 10 global brand owners in Greater China, now perhaps the world’s strongest market for consumer goods. He is involved in the creation, protection and exploitation of IP rights in many industries and works with clients who are new to the China market and those who have a well-developed presence in the market. Although his primary focus is on dispute resolution (anti-counterfeiting, IP infringement and licensing disputes) and particularly on international arbitration between foreign corporations and Chinese entities, he also works on the IP aspects of commercial and corporate transactions, and a growing focus on public procurement issues.
In addition to practicing as a Hong Kong and New York attorney, Mr. Woods is also licensed to practice in the United Kingdom. As part of his global practice he is therefore able to work with a growing number of Chinese, Taiwanese and Hong Kong corporations as they expand their businesses and encounter disputes in Europe and the U.S.
Mr. Woods has been recognized repeatedly as one of the top 20 trademark lawyers in the U.S. by World Trademark Review. He has received the prestigious Burton Award for excellence in legal writing. He has been recognized several times by: AsiaLaw as a Leading Lawyer in Asia; by the Euromoney Guide to the World’s Leading Trademark Practitioners, by The International Who’s Who of Business Lawyers; by the International Who’s Who of Trademark Lawyers; and by the LegalMedia Group China Guide. Mr. Woods has been named an “IP Star” by Managing Intellectual Property magazine in 2013, 2014 and 2015. In July 2013, Kilpatrick Townsend was named by Who’s Who Legal as one of the world’s most highly regarded trademark firms, and Mr. Woods was featured as one of the globally recognized practitioners in the firm. In 2014, the firm was recognized in the Who’s Who Legal 100 as one of the World’s top 100 firms. Mr. Woods was recognized as one of its leading practitioners and it was noted that clients praised his “accessibility, flexibility and originality” and it was also noted that he is especially sought after by Chinese, Taiwanese and Hong Kong brands seeking to expand globally.
Professional & Community Activities
International Trademark Association, Panel of International Mediators (2003-present)
Trademark infringement for a Fortune 500 multinational computer software manufacturer
Successfully represented a Fortune 500 multinational corporation that designs and manufactures consumer electronics and computer software products in a trademark infringement lawsuit brought against a leading computer peripheral supplier and manufacturer in China and its distributor. The Chinese company became very successful in selling Intel-based computer peripherals and various computer-related products using a name and logo which was remarkably similar to our client’s logo. It was not a counterfeit case, so the team had to take it to full trial in the Shenyang Intermediate People’s Court in China, which was selected as a forum due to the court’s desire to be seen as protecting intellectual property rights. The legal battle ended in favor of our client being awarded the highest amount of damages ever awarded in a trademark dispute rendered by the Shenyang Court.
Health insurance association entry into China
Represented as lead counsel BlueCross BlueShield Association, a health insurance association, in connection with the strategic development of its business in China.
Music industry intellectual property dispute for world’s leading classical music label
Represented world’s leading classical music label in a music industry intellectual property dispute. The parties were based in Europe and Asia and the dispute resolution clause specified ICC arbitration in Hong Kong. Through industry knowledge and legal knowledge relating to the jurisdictions concerned and experience in international arbitrations generally, we were able to secure a favorable award, including legal costs (the latter covered by security for costs) which we obtained at the outset and held in an escrow account.
International arbitration for a clothing manufacturer
Represent a U.S. clothing manufacturer in an ongoing international arbitration at the London Court of International Arbitration concerning multinational trademark licenses with an European entity.
Should You Choose International Arbitration As Your Method for Dispute Resolution? 5 Reasons for Saying Yes and 5 Reasons for Saying No, October 2009
“Protecting the Brand in China,” Intellectual Property Desk Reference, January 2009
“Counterfeiting: A Global Problem,” Intellectual Property Desk Reference, January 2006
“A Victory for Yamaha and China,” Trademark World, April 2008
“Avoiding the Abyss: Using Arbitration to Resolve Trademark Disputes in China,” Trademark World, May 2007
“Negotiating the Maze of IP Protection,” The National Law Journal, April 2007
“Fragile Protection: Promotion and Protection of Well-Known Trademarks in China,” Trademark World, October 2005
“Threat & Response: The Piracy Genie is Out – Here’s How to Catch Him,” World Focus INTA, May 2005