Patent filings: where are the women?
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Spring Chang has played a central role in the growth of her firm, Chang Tsi & Partners, and is proud of its successes in promoting diversity, as she tells WIPR.
Why did you become a lawyer?
As a child, becoming a lawyer was my dream—I thought it was a very noble career. Law is the cornerstone of a free, democratic and just country. As an important part of a country’s legal system, the lawyer is the promoter of freedom, democracy and justice. Even to this day, I maintain my conviction that I can contribute to the legal system. I am proud to be a lawyer.
How did you become founding partner of Chang Tsi & Partners?
After I obtained my LLM degree from China University of Political Science and Law, I worked for the State Planning Committee (currently the National Development and Reform Commission of China) for a period of two years and then worked at law firm CCPIT, which was the only IP agency in China.
In the late 1990s, with the implementation of China’s reform and opening-up policy, the domestic market opened rapidly, which resulted in China’s IP sector undergoing tremendous changes. China’s state-owned agency ended its monopoly on the domestic IP market, setting up the country’s first batch of privately-owned IP agencies.
My partner and I saw the huge potential and business opportunities in the development of Chinese IP market, and seized the opportunity to set up Chang Tsi & Partners in 2002.
What’s your biggest achievement?
"THE BEST PART OF MY JOB IS THAT I CAN INFLUENCE AND TRAIN YOUNG IP PRACTITIONERS AND CONTRIBUTE TO TRAINING PERSONNEL FOR THE CHINESE IP INDUSTRY."Playing a crucial role in the growth of the firm is my greatest achievement. In 2002, Chang Tsi & Partners had five lawyers and was an unknown law firm. All the work needed to be done manually and the number of clients was very small.
Now, Chang Tsi & Partners is a well-known law firm in the field of Chinese IP, with 350 employees (200 lawyers and agents) and thousands of clients.
What’s the best part about your job?
In my more than 25 years of professional experience, I have witnessed the development of many young people who have graduated and then entered our firm.
It is my great pleasure to seem them practising as partners and key lawyers in our firm, and I maintain a good relationship with those who have left the firm. The best part of my job is that I can influence and train young IP practitioners and contribute to training personnel for the Chinese IP industry.
What’s the most difficult part of your job?
As a lawyer, victory in a lawsuit is the most desired result, satisfying me and my clients.
However, we have encountered many cunning infringement cases. We have to coordinate the client’s objectives, the merits of the case and evidence collected, and resources of our litigation team to achieve our goal.
Have you faced any barriers or challenges in your career?
As a busy female lawyer, balancing work and life is a big challenge. I spend most of my time at work, which consumes a lot of energy and physical strength.
I’ve taken up some hobbies to relieve the pressure at work, such as swimming which keeps me mentally and physically strong. I also love painting so I seize any opportunity to paint—I hope painting will become my second career after I retire as a lawyer.
What advice would you give to those looking to enter the IP profession?
People who want to join the industry need to fully prepare themselves physically and mentally. It’s not an easy job. You face many deadlines every day and you always need to keep learning as the IP industry changes rapidly. It requires a lawyer to have a strong learning ability.
How are you involved in promoting diversity?
We promote diversity in many ways. We never exclude female practitioners—generally female lawyers are more resilient, careful and patient in handling business. We provide them with strong support and have policies to allow women to work from home during pregnancy.
Our firm has also recruited some disabled employees to the law firm to do some work within their abilities.
We have many minority employees, including those from the Zhuang and Manchu ethnic minorities, and Korean lawyers, and we respect all different religious beliefs. I am Manchu myself. Having employees from a range of countries is definitely conducive to business.
Spring Chang is a founding partner at Chang Tsi & Partners and is based in the firm’s Beijing office. She has more than two decades of experience as an attorney and focuses her practice on patents, trademarks, copyright, and domain names. She can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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