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Our services

Legal services

Corporate Law

We provide expertise to foreign investors in their investments into China and Chinese companies pursuing investments overseas.

Starke advices on all aspects of corporate law, including:

Contract Law

In the field of contact law we advise our clients in the key areas of their operative business.

Starke have an international and experienced team in commercial law. We do not only know commercial law, we also know the specific needs of clients with different backgrounds. This gives our clients the advantage to obtain tailor made advice on their specific needs in all situations of their contractual business.

We provide expertise on all aspects of contract law, including:

  • Confidentiality agreement
  • Supply agreements 
  • Commercial agency agreements 
  • Franchise agreements 
  • Licensing 
  • General terms and conditions of sales
  • Service and maintenance agreements
  • Warranty agreements
  • Investment and shareholders agreement 
  • Letter of intent
  • Sales and purchasing agreements

Labor Law

For any business to be successful in China, it must properly manage its employees and their benefits. With Starke, in China you have access to our deep industry expertise, which enables you to navigate through the maze of China employment regulations, contractual agreements and other legal requirements. 

We provide expertise on the following aspects of labor law:

  • China employment including employment policies and social
  • security issues 
  • Cross-border employment and termination contracts
  • Standardization/development/changing of employment contracts
  • employee handbooks, including pay structures, bonus systems and
  • employee benefit incentives
  • training agreements
  • non-competition and confidentiality agreements 
  • Legislation and regulations 
  • HR restructuring
  • termination matters 
  • Employment dispute resolutions in arbitration

Receivables Management

Both the enforcement of payment claims and the successful defense against unjustified claims in China require a precise assessment of the legal situation and knowledge of the Chinese market.

We already accompany you with your invoices, drat final reminders, file legal proceedings and lead to obtaining an enforceable title the complaint procedure.

Starke assists our clients with individually composed teams of lawyers. Our Chinese partners specialize in court enforcement and foreclosure.

There are several factors that play a key role in debt enforcement in China. Thus, the expected costs, the possibility of reaching an agreement, the most appropriate method for the client and also the possible development of relationships with business partners.

We strive for a quick solution, without costly legal proceedings. With an enforceable title then takes place the actual receivables management, namely the foreclosure instead. If required, you will be informed about all your demands. Paid measures are of course discussed in advance.

Our receivables management offer includes the following services for you:

  • Review of the legal situation regarding the claim
  • detection of the solvency of the debtor
  • writing an out-of-court payment request or claim denial
  • agreement negotiations (deferral and installment payments)
  • litigation
  • enforcement

Compliance

In Europe, granting illegal advantages, economic competition, as well as contact with representatives of public authorities, are prohibited. The prohibitions also apply to European companies with subsidiaries abroad. Illegal activities in foreign countries therefore effective also the management in Europe.

From this arise special in China significant legal risks. Here, corruption is more conmon and accepted than in Europe.

In addition to the European access Chinese corruption prevention rules.

The rising number of proceedings against private and state owned enterprises must be a clear warning for all foreign companies. Beside substantial fines and prison sentences, the sanctions in China range up to the death penalty.

In addition to the compliance with anticorruption rules, it is also increasingly in the spotlight of the Chinese authorities, that foreign companies follow general rules and laws. Such risks must be avoided absolutely.

We have expertise on:

  • Drafting of conducts for employees
  • Implementation of internal compliance procedures
  • Contract drafting for employees, supplier and customers
  • Employee handbook (code of conduct)
  • Advising in specific cases

Intellectual property

Trademarks

Trademarks are one of the most important assets for all businesses. We help you to secure and protect these assets. Clients regularly cite the combination of our deep local expertise and ability to collaborate across borders as the most significant reasons. Our trademark experts including lawyers, trademark attorneys, consultants and evidence specialists, provide a complete service to enable you to create, manage and enforce your trademarks effectively.

Starke Consulting provide both domestic and overseas clients with full spectrum of services in all fields of trademark rights.

We have expertise on:

Patents

Patents and utility models protect technical inventions from imitators. For protection of the invention to work, patents and utility patents must be expertly written, or translated, and enforced.

Starke offers you advice on all issues of securing and protecting your inventions, utility models and designs. We assit our clients with individually compiled teams of lawyers and patent attorneys of different technical orientations to the side. Our Chinese partners are specialized in the fields of mechanics, electrical engineering and chemistry. Together we support you according to our respective abilities. Together, we cover all patent and utility model issues.

We advise in advance of the filing of a patent or utility model, develop patent strategies, carry out state-of-the-art searches and evaluate them. The preparation and filing of patent applications and the associated official examination procedures in China is just as much a part of our services as representation in opposition, nullity and patent infringement proceedings. We advise comprehensively on all contractual, especially licensing-related matters and, for example, create confidentiality, cooperation and licensing agreements. The supervision and administration of patents and patent applications are also part of our services.

We have expertise on:

  • Drafting and filing of patent applications
  • Drafting and filing of responses to office actions
  • Representation before the Chinese administrative authorities for patent matters
  • Subsequent filing or nationalization of national or international applications
  • Investigations, file inspections, and monitoring of third party rights
  • Invalidation proceedings
  • Leveraging of your patent rights

Copyrights

We advise you comprehensively in all questions around the topic copyright. In copyright law, there is often the question of who is actually the author of a work. With the creation of an individual work of Kust, science or literature arises the copyright of the creator. The author has u.a. the right to recognition of authorship and the right to exploit his work. He may grant other rights of use and proceed against infringements. In China, we register your copyrights for you. This currently takes about 4 weeks and is associated with relatively low costs.

Copyright and exploitation rights should be clear and regulated in your sense. When it comes to graphics, photos, films, music, texts, web designs or other creative works, it's always about copyrights and therefore your money.

If you use text, images, films, or music created by others, well-designed contracts are important. This applies in particular if you use pictures or texts on your website, in your advertising, or in your online shop. This is especially true if you provide texts, films, or photos for third parties.

In addition to registering your copyrights, we create license agreements for you. For example, the author grants a license to a third party, which authorizes the latter to use and exploit the work. In this way, the author can use the work he has created economically effectively. A license agreement specifies exactly whether only simple usage rights or exclusive usage rights should be transferred. The license agreement also governs the types of use to which the granted license relates, as well as the useful life and the physical scope of the license.

If you have been infringed in your copyright, we will assist you in enforcing claims for damages, especially in the field of e-commerce in China, when other shop owners or operators use your graphics or photos. In contrast, the utilization and use of third-party works without prior licensing constitutes a copyright infringement. We check existing copyrights and licenses for you so that you do not run the risk of being inadvertently liable for damages against the author of a work.

Other issues in many cases include unpunctual and / or incomplete payment of license fees, use of the work beyond the agreed scope, inadmissible sublicense assignments, etc. We assist you in enforcing your rights under the License Agreement.

Designs

Today, design plays a significant role in the purchase decision and thus in the economic success of a product. But a successful product design arouses the desire of imitators. Design protection itself does not decide on the success of a product. But it is essential to ensure the long-term success of the product.

Registered designs protect the external appearance of industrially or artisan-made products. Also parts of products can be protected. Design protection can be obtained quickly and inexpensively and quickly enforced. We provide comprehensive advice on how you can protect the design of your products. We develop strategies on how to efficiently achieve design protection in China. Equally comprehensively we support you in case of violation of existing design rights. We also check if design registrations of competitors are legal or can be deleted.

We advise you in the following areas:

  • Advice on design protection
  • Assessment of the protectability of a design
  • Investigation
  • Registration of the design
  • Legal prosecution for design infringements
  • Defense of the protected design

Business and trade secrets

For any company, trade secrets are a key feature, because business secrets inevitably go hand in hand with competitiveness. Every company therefore has a strong interest in protecting its trade secrets as best it can.

Frequently the disclosure of business secrets is owed to the own employee and particularly in China on the agenda. Business secrets are under the terms of Chinese anti unfair competition law, technology information and operating information that are not available to the public. These bring an economic benefit for the owner and are therefore to keep secret from this.

We help you to effectively protect your business and trade secrets in China. Important measures are:

  • The conclusion of a confidentiality agreement to protect confidential information.
  • Inclusion of a competition agreement in the employment contract of employees who are also subject to a secrecy obligation.

Product Piracy

For many years now, we have been assisting clients in their fight against product piracy in China. Starke have a great deal of experience, which allows us to successfully proceed against product pirates 

We use the entire arsenal of measures provided by civil, administrative, and criminal law to develop a comprehensive strategy to contain the problem. Our priority is always to keep the costs to our client as low as possible. To do so, we try to recover the costs from the originator, i.e. the product pirates and their customers.

Registration with China Customs

If you want to stop counterfeit goods bearing your trademark from leaving China, register your IP again with Chinese CustomsUnlike European customs authorities which only focus on imported goods, the General Administration of Customs in China (GACC) also examines goods leaving China and has the authority to protect intellectual property rights (IPR) by seizing infringing goods. So for every company who concerned with counterfeit goods coming from China, it makes sense to register your trademark with Chinese Customs. Trademarks, copyrights and design patent rights are all acceptable for recordal with the GAC. 

This is not a legal requirement but a practical one. China Customs officials have discretion to check every outgoing shipment for trademark infringement against the Trademark Office database, in reality they only check against the Customs database. No separate registration with Customs means no enforcement by Customs.

Registration with China Customs generally takes three to five months and can only be done after China’s Trademark Office has issued a trademark certificate. If you register your mark with Customs, they will contact you any time when they discover a shipment of possible infringing goods.

Our team will gladly assist you in registering your IP with Chinese Customs.

Domains

Starke, with its domain name expertise, is ideally placed to assist brand owners manage costs and navigate the expanded domain name space in China. Our domain name service includes registration in China, surveillance and recovery, as well as portfolio management and dispute resolution. We and our partners have rich experience of domain name dispute resolution and reclaiming domain names from cybersquatters. Our team actively advise clients, and act on their behalf, in relation to online trade mark infringement or the posting of offensive content on websites.

If someone is infringing your domain name, such as using a name that incorporates you trade mark or trade name we can draft and file a complaint for you. The aim of this is to recover those names for you and either transfer or cancelling them.

We work closely with external internet monitoring companies and use our contacts with internet service providers to achieve the swift removal of problem content.

Our domain name service includes:

  • registration in China
  • monitoring and recovery
  • portfolio management
  • conflict resolution

IP Law Consultancy

Our firm’s lawyers, trademark agents and other professional experts can provide indepth legal advice and legal opinions in relation to both contentious and noncontentious matters.

Our consultancy services include:

  • IP management
  • Commercial agreements for IP protection
  • IP due diligence
  • IP and anti-trust
  • IP protection strategies
  • Development of IP litigation strategies
  • Strategies to combat counterfeiting and piracy

IP Litigation

Trademark infringement; copyright infringement;patent infringement and patent defence; trademark infringement; copyright infringement; trade name infringement; trade secret; administrative litigation involving patents and trademarks, and litigation against administrative authorities for specific administrative acts.

Starke Consulting provides both domestic and overseas clients with full spectrum of services.

Apart from the above litigation areas, our partners and we have expertise on:

  • Anti-counterfeiting
  • Anti-piracy
  • Parallel import
  • Domain name dispute
  • Commercial secrets
  • IP and anti-trust
  • Protection of IP rights through civil and criminal law enforcement
  • Technology transfer and licensing

Establish business entities

Services

We offer the following services: 

Alteration of company records in accordance with client requirement including administration of all related paperwork

  • Change of legal representative of the entity 
  • Change of registration address 
  • Application for capital increase 
  • Extension of business scope 
  • Extension of company certificate
  • Deregistration of business   

M&A

M&A Services

We can help locate potential acquisition targets and drive the acquisition process. Starke is able to work with clients to identify and then assess acquisition and merger targets for business fit, synergy optimisation and business development opportunities. Starke has the skills to help your company reach the next phase of your China development. 

In close cooperation with our partners, auditing companies and chancelleries, we investigate the opportunities and risks for your company: financial, legal, commercial and human resources due diligence. 

We provide the following services:

    •    Commercial Due Diligence

    •    M&A Target Identification and Analysis 

    •    Negotiation Support

    •    Legal framework

Venture Capital

Medium-sized enterprises or startups often have limited capital resources, but mostly they hold interesting assets for Chinese investors. We arrange all to find a possible Chinese investor for your company, or to find the right investment for your capital in Europe.

Our team works only on an exclusively basis.

We support you: 

  • to find contacts with capital and investment trusts with a focus on your products
  • with the business management execution of projects in China through

Partner Identification

One of our most demanded services is the search for and selection of strategic partners - be they suppliers or distribution partners, joint venture partners, investors or other financial partners. Partner Identification: Based on specified criteria, we identified and carefully screened a shortlist of potential partners before making introductions to our Asian client.

We provide expertise to foreign investors in their investments into China and Chinese companies pursuing investments overseas.

Due Diligence

Before you contemplating a new partnership, joint venture, merger, or corporate restructuring with your potential partner, a timely and accurate Due Diligence or careful study of your target company or key individuals is not an option, it is a must.

Starke offers you a authentic, results-oriented professional investigation service in China, including due diligence investigation, counterfeiting before you start any cooperation or deal with any Chinese enterprise. Starke presents a complete picture of your potential candidates in China, no matter whether it is an individual or an enterprise.

Our Due Diligence will help you to make the right strategic decision. You will have a full picture of the target company or key persons you are interested in and a good knowledge of:

  • Ownership and management structure
  • Assets of the target company
  • Where your target’s profit comes from
  • The way the key persons think and behave
  • Potential legal and financial risks of the cooperation
  • What is going on behind the scene

Patent Brokerage Services

Our team of professionals assists clients in the sale and acquisition of IP assets in Europe and China. Starke can help patent owners monetize their dormant IP assets or help patent buyers to quickly build patent portfolios.

The patent is a wasting asset. If you don’t use your patents, you may want to sell them before they expire - and technology is always on the move, but to sell a patent is a challenge and a task best left to the experts. You can only sell a patent to a business or other entity that needs exactly what the patent has to offer. 

Starke represents patent owners that want to sell patents in China. We handle full-portfolio and single-patent transactions. Our combination of legal, business, and technical skills with our network of contacts and a long term, relationship driven perspective has consistently delivered results for our clients.

Starke Consulting provides professional intellectual property brokerage services, which including:    

  • Identify who are the prospects buyers 
  • Analyze the patent
  • Complexity of the patent sales process
  • The legal framework of the patent assets
  • Valuation of the assets
  • Take the patent to market
  • Presenting the marketing package to pre-qualified buyers
  • Consulting with the patent owner throughout the process

Alternatively, for those looking to buy assets in Europe, Starke has the unique capabilities required to identify the owners of desirable assets, value the assets, and negotiate for their sale. 

These services are generally driven by the need to:      

  • Defining the technology of interest and disaggregating the technology into its most basic elements
  • Assessing the identified art using technical experts
  • Due diligence on the patents
  • Developing a negotiating strategy
  • Negotiating with patent owners
  • Identifying key strategic assets vs. direct competitors or other companies in the value chain
  • Mitigate a specific threat or pending lawsuit
  • Further strengthen an existing licensing program

E-Commerce

E-Commerce Law

If you like to develope an App, or to establish a shop at an E-commerce Trading Platforms  (B2C – Business-to-Consumer or B2B – Business-to-Business), foreign participation in a range of Internet and e-commerce activities comes under the far-reaching PRC Telecommunications Regulations and several other national and local regulations.

Our team can support you in:

Cybersecurity Law

On 7 November 2016, the 24th session of China’s Standing Committee of the 12th National People's Congress enacted the Cybersecurity Law, effective on 1 June 2017. The enactment of the Cybersecurity Law allows the enforcement of cybersecurity and commences a new era of cybersecurity in China. The Cybersecurity Law (CSL), governing a broad range of issues from securing personal information to data leaks and governance, to hacking. It requires network operators to store select data within China and allows Chinese authorities to conduct spot-checks on a company’s network operations. The Chinese government asserts that the law is intended to bring China in line with global best practices for cybersecurity. The aim of the CSL is to protect China's national interests in a broad sense by giving the government visibility and control over data collected in China and improving the safety and security of data generally.

The key provisions in the Cybersecurity Law apply to owners of network facilities, network operators and service providers. These terms are not defined but these and similar terms are common in Chinese internet regulations and are intended to be given a wide construction. At its broadest, any company using the internet to provide a service could be captured, and several provisions indicate that this is the intended meaning. Unfortunatley the Cybersecurity Law is full of subjective terms such as ‘important data’, while the two most important terms in the law—‘network operator’ and ‘critical information infrastructure (CII)’—lack a clear definition.

The latter of these terms is crucial as the most stringent security obligations are reserved for CII operators. The law states that CII includes traditionally sensitive sectors such as “public telecommunications and information services, energy, transportation, irrigation, finance, public services, e-government”, but also includes the catch-all phrase “as well as other areas that may harm national security, the economy, and the public interest.” Furthermore, the law also encourages network operators outside of CII to “voluntarily participate”. These are not insignificant: establishing security management procedures, national security-approved equipment, mandatory audit logs and disaster recovery backups; making the definitions of such terms crucial in determining preparatory costs. Furthermore, what constitutes ‘critical information infrastructure operators/areas’ and ‘other important data,’ are also key phrases yet to be articulated, although it’s likely efforts to provide guidance won’t be much more specific.

Our service includes:

  • Support of Network operators ( Article 76 of the Cybersecurity Law)
  • Assisting to cooperate with Chinese crime or security investigators
  • Advice from operators of Critical information Infrastructure (CII)
  • Implementing sound rules and regulations and operational processes

Data protection law

Data protection law serves to protect data subjects from abusive data processing. The collection, processing and use of personal data is only permitted if the person concerned has consented or if a law permits this. According to this, in data processing processes no or as little personal data as possible should be used and the possibilities of anonymization and pseudonymisation should be used. In China, so-called "critical industries" are meeting stricter requirements for the use of data. In addition, Chinese privacy law governs which personal information of companies in China, or companies active in the Chinese online market, must be stored on servers located in China.

Our data protection services include:

  • Fulfillment of information obligations Confidentiality declarations of service providers and employees
  • Advice on dealing with corporate, customer and personal data
  • Communication with authorities for violations of the Chinese data protection law