Bird & Bird hires distinguished China intellectual property specialist, Clifford Borg-Marks

16 December 2010

Clifford Borg-Marks has joined Bird & Bird’s Intellectual Property Group in China as Special Counsel. His current focus is on portfolio management, licensing, due diligence and lobbying, and he is renowned for troubleshooting for companies facing IP-related crises in China. 

After graduating from Peking University and working as a diplomat in Beijing in the early 1980's, Cliff subsequently developed his pioneering IP practice in the 1990's as a leading member of Baker & McKenzie's China IP group while executing a remarkable number of ‘firsts’ in IP for China.  These include the first enforcement campaigns against software piracy at the retail level and against hard-disk loading (for the Business Software Alliance and Microsoft Corporation); the first ever computer software case to be accepted by the National Copyright Administration (for Sega Enterprise); the first look-alike trade dress case in Shanghai shortly after the promulgation of the PRC Unfair Competition Law (for Chupa Chups); the first administrative review of a decision of the then State Pharmaceutical Administration in an application for pipeline protection for a pharmaceutical product; and the first cyber-squatting dispute decided by CIETAC (for PepsiCo). 

Over the years, Cliff's effective lobbying of Chinese government bodies resulted in the issuance of a number of official interpretative notices by the State Administration for Industry and Commerce on such matters as administrative enforcement against software and movie piracy on grounds other than copyright, the unauthorized use of trademarks in signboards by service centers and concept stores, and the conflict between registered trademarks and the design patent regime.  Cliff was regularly consulted by the Office of the United States Trade Representative on IP issues in the run-up to China's entry into the WTO.

He served as Chairman of INTA's China Subcommittee for two years during which time INTA established formal relations with the China Trademark Association.

Matthew Laight, Managing Partner of Bird & Bird China, comments: “Cliff is a welcome addition to our IP group.  As a highly-regarded IP lawyer with outstanding experience, Cliff strengthens our team in China and complements our leading international IP group.  His appointment and that of his team underpins our commitment to being the foremost international law firm for IP in China.”