The Reading List: China Law Blog

The Reading List

The China Law Blog is a must read for anyone doing business in China and it’s a good read for anyone doing business anywhere. It’s going into its seventh year of publication—that’s a long time in dog years and an eternity in blog years—yet it’s still fresh and interesting.

Dan Harris and Steve Dickinson co-author the blog, which is published by Seattle law firm Harris & Moure, where they both practice.

This description of the blog from its “about” page gives you a good feel for what to expect from the blog and the practical nature of the posts:

We will be discussing the practical aspects of Chinese law and how it impacts business there. We will be telling you what works and what does not and what you as a businessperson can do to use the law to your advantage. Our aim is to assist businesses already in China or planning to go into China, not to break new ground in legal theory or policy.

But I think this post best captures the lawyers behind the blog. They like what they do and they clearly relish interacting with others in their space.

Here’s a sampling of the posts I enjoyed reading in 2011:

Stellar Client Emails. By far my favorite post was China Manufacturing Agreements. Watching The Sausage Get Made. The post consists simply of a pair of sanitized client emails. One explains the typical contents of a Chinese manufacturing agreement, along with a discussion of important issues to consider. The other email accompanied the initial draft of a manufacturing contract. They’re pieces of commercial transaction art, clearly explaining the significant issues the client should consider and providing salient commercial and legal advice.

Amateurs Need Not Apply. In China Law. Do Not Try This At Home. Please. Dan discusses some major legal mistakes people can make when starting a business in China if they don’t know what they’re doing.

Contract Drafting Tips. Dan champions clear contract language and discusses drafting contracts in Chinese, rather than translating from English, in Drafting A China Manufacturing Agreement. Watching The Sausage Get Made. Part II.

Effective Contracting. “If you want to greatly increase your chances of being able to enforce your contract with your Chinese counter-party, you should do the following . . .” The rest of How To Write A Chinese Contract That Works.  finishes that statement with great practical advice.

Don’t Lose Your Molds. Although the blog is full of practical advice and information, Dan’s post How Not To Lose Your Molds In China. is especially strong on that count. The key is to protect yourself ahead of time, not rely on litigation after the fact. That’s good advice for all commercial transactions.

China Outsourcing. In China Outsourcing 101. Five Basics For Reducing Risk, Dan advises companies to protect their intellectual property and make sure their OEM contracts are suitable for the business relationship.

Protect Your Trademarks. Speaking of protecting your intellectual property, you can’t read many posts on the blog without being presented with the advice to register your trademarks in China at the earliest possible moment. China’s a first-to-file country and if someone else registers your trademark before you, you might just be out of luck. This is explained in more detail in China: Do Just One Thing. Trademarks.

Common Legal Issues. The Most Common China Law Issues. surveys legal issues businesses often face when doing business in China.

Proceed With Caution. Getting Started On Manufacturing In China. The Legal Basics. answers a reader’s question about how to prudently engage a Chinese manufacturer to produce your product. “The first two things you will likely need are a Non Disclosure Agreement (NDA) and a registered trademark in China.” But that’s not all.

What do you think? Do you read the China Law Blog? If so, what are your favorite posts?

3 comments… add one
  • Dan Jan 4, 2012 Link Reply

    I think this has to be one of the nicest things anyone has ever said about us and I greatly appreciate it. I also think that you have done an amazing job pulling together posts that would be helpful to someone looking to do business with China. I am now going to do a post on your post just for that!

    Dinner is on me the next time you are in Seattle!

    • Brian Rogers Feb 17, 2012 Link Reply

      Dan: Thanks for the kind words. I enjoyed revisiting your posts for my piece. Your blog is a great resource for commercial attorneys, even if they never dip their toes into international transactions. And it’s a good example for those of us who are trying to carve out a little space in the legal blogosphere by producing quality, interesting content.

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