Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton has opened a Shanghai outpost centered on intellectual property work to bolster its Asia presence.
The firm opened an office in Taipei, Taiwan, in January 2011, coinciding with the merger of Atlanta's Kilpatrick Stockton and San Francisco IP firm Townsend, Townsend & Crews. The Townsend firm already had an office in Tokyo.
"This is our first step into China, which we are extremely excited about," said Paul Aguggia, Kilpatrick's chairman.
Aguggia said the office would initially play to the firm's strength in intellectual property -- both patent procurement and litigation -- with the idea of expanding into corporate work such as joint ventures.
"The needs in China match our practice," he said. "The opportunities in China and Asia are vast."
Two lawyers from Kilpatrick's Denver office have moved to Shanghai to run the office. Kenneth Chang, an IP litigator who became the head of Townsend's Asia practice five years ago, is the managing partner. He is joined by associate Charles Gray, also from Denver.
Chang said Kilpatrick started planning a Shanghai office after the dust settled from the merger. "This is something we've been wanting to do for quite some time," he said.
The firm has operated in China for 20 years, but Chinese clients were requesting an office, he said -- and an opportunity to locate in the Zhangjiang High-Tech Park provided the needed impetus. The government-owned development zone, which has been called China's Silicon Valley, spans 25 square kilometers and houses about 2,000 high-tech companies.
"The opportunity to take space in the science park was something we couldn't pass up," Chang said. "From my office window, I'm looking at 30 different high-tech companies."
Kilpatrick received its license for the office from the Chinese government a week and a half ago, Chang said. The approval process is lengthy and complex; it takes six to nine months to get the needed approvals from the Chinese Ministry of Justice, he said, as well as from other ministries and the city of Shanghai.