China Law Versus US Law and the Differences that Matter

Late last year I was a visiting professor of Chinese Law for a few days at the University of Warsaw. This consisted of my speaking for about two hours the first day and for about four hours the second day. My first day talk was on protecting your IP from China. I have been giving some variant on that speech for nearly a decade now, updated and modified each time to fit the prevailing situation and the audience and my time slot. I have given it as a five minute prelude before panel discussions and I have given it as a 2.5 hour speech to a small group of general counsels in a particular highly specialized industry. But its essential core elements are always present and I have it done. Just tell me “go” and for how many minutes and I could give it right now without any notes. It is my favorite speech, it always gets great reviews, and, most importantly, it takes relatively little preparation time on my part.

That was my first speech in Warsaw.

For my second speech, the University of Warsaw requested I talk for 4 hours! on the differences between Chinese and Western Laws. I hesitatingly said I would and then I went through my usual ten stages of speech preparation and presentation:

Stage 1: I completely panicked.

Stage 2: I determine that I can’t do it.

Stage 3: I resolve to actually try to do it.

Stage 4: I decide that the only way I can do it would be to speak from notes — something I absolutely abhor and never do.

Stage 5: I go to work.

Stage 6: I start writing the PowerPoint slides.

Stage 7: I realized that I have written way too many PowerPoint Slides.

Stage 8: I delete, combined and revise the PowerPoint slides.

Stage 9: I work on revising/upgrading the slides with the great people (both other lawyers and staff) at my law firm.

Stage 10: I give the talk without a single note.

My 4 hour Warsaw speech was well received and I will be giving it again in Milwaukee on May 22. This time though it will be considerably shorter (1 hour and 15 minutes, not 4 hours) and considerably more focused. It will be titled China law versus US Law: The Differences that Matter for Manufacturers, and per the people putting on the seminar, it will focus on the following:

  • Nine Warnings when doing business with China
  • How to Deal with China
  • China Contracts that Work
  • Protecting Your IP from China

I am so looking forward to giving this talk because it will be at the always excellent (and 15th annual) Product Safety and Liability Prevention Conference. I have spoken at this conference maybe a half dozen times — I like speaking at it every other year and I did not speak at last year’s. This is a big-time event put on by Randall Goodden and you go here to register. If you mention China Law Blog in the comments section of the online registration, you will save $50. I like this event because I always like the other speakers and their topics. My favorite seminars are those that touch on what I do, but do not address it directly. It is at these sorts of seminars that I usually get the most actionable advice to help my clients.

I do not need to see someone speak for an hour on China IP because I deal with China IP constantly and I know how to spot China IP issues. But something like product liability I deal with only peripherally and so hearing someone talk about it increases my issue-spotting abilities for my clients. Should one of the companies at this event retain me to handle its next big domestic product liability lawsuit? No. But I know that after this event I will be better able to deal with and discuss potential product liability issues with my law firm clients that are having their products made overseas or selling their products overseas and to better provide international-side legal advice to litigation counsel on product liability cases.

Another reason I am looking forward to giving this talk is that I am hoping it will assuage my guilt for having to cancel at the last minute the last time I was to speak in Milwaukee. It was to be at a big Wisconsin state-sponsored industrial conference and I was in Spain at the time (working with our Spain lawyers) and all set to fly to Milwaukee when I started feeling weird. Mi médico finalmente determinó que mi “enfermedad” provenía de mi comida “escolar sushi” la noche anterior.

Anyway, Milwaukee, here I come — so long as I avoid escolar, which I most emphatically will. I hope to see you there.

Have a great weekend everyone.