Bailments / Molds / Tools in China; Michael Sylvester

worker.jpgA common tooling arrangement with a Chinese manufacturer outlines that a fixed number of production runs or units are required before the tooling is returned to you.   Sound familiar? 

If you have ever engaged in such an arrangement, you gave away your designs by approving the contract.  Here in China, a factory draws you in by offering to front the tooling costs to be returned to you after a certain time / production run period.  But, by doing so you have confirmed their ownership in perpetuity of both the tooling and the underlying design embedded in that tooling.  And because you gave your design away, you will never have a legally enforceable right to get it back.  I know there are varying opinions on this subject and if you want to pay someone a thousand dollars an hour to fight that fight for you, go ahead.  It will not work, but if it makes you feel better to buy your lawyer another yacht, so be it.  It is your money.

China Compliant Contracting

contract signing.jpgLet’s start with the basics.   While Hong Kong was ‘handed over’ to China in 1997, because of some unique treaty based obligations embedded in the Sino-British Joint Declaration first initialed in 1984, China and Hong Kong must be considered two separate countries for most business purposes, especially those dealing with outsourced manufacturing of goods. 

What about that contract you have with your ‘partners’ in Hong Kong?  Such an English language contract to procure goods over in Mainland China is not worth the paper it is written on if not also backed up with a China compliant contract in Chinese.   

Lawmaker in California Tries To Bring Loaded Gun On Plane and is cited for a misdemeanor? What?

grope.jpgLawmaker in California Tries To Bring Loaded Gun On Plane and is cited for a misdemeanor. Huh?

Now, I know that I have not been in the United States for a long time, but I'm a bit surprised to see a Califronia lawmaker being cited for a misdemeanor and released after being caught trying to board a plane with a loaded gun.  "I apologize for the regrettable error that I made this morning," said Donnelly.  

 Um...sorry but what the hell?  Are you kidding me?  If anyone out there believes that would happen if he spoke Spanish, Farsi or Chinese as a first language then I have some swamp land for sale that I'd like to talk to you about.

I guess the point is that from out here it makes the US look pretty silly to be spending a zillion dollars on the TSA sexually assaulting people before they get on planes, while letting some white guy caught trying to board a plane with a loaded gun off the hook with an 'I'm sorry...'

Secured Sourcing; China Compliant Contracting -- Michael Sylvester

Secured Sourcing is our response to a recurring ‘Humpty Dumpty’ syndrome and the growing number of direct client requests for earlier assistance in their supply chain management than ever before.  Of course, Humpty Dumpty is a children’s nursery rhyme where ‘all the King’s horses and all the King’s men couldn’t put Humpty Dumpty together again…’   
 
For, while China is a great place to do business, it can be a very unforgiving environment when things go wrong.   So, rather than having to look across the conference table and explain to yet another client that there is no cost effective solution to put the pieces together again, we thought we would simply turn that situation around and help people get what they really needed the first time.
 

Practicing Law in China; Closing out 2011 Michael Sylvester

IMG_5856_1.JPG 

This photo is at the top of a mountain pass heading south out of the Yabuli Ski Area in north China.  To get there, just head for the North Pole and take a left just before you see Santa.   It was - 30 C or so that day and was quite lovely when the wind stopped blowing...  There is even a ClubMed up there if you want to come and are too afraid of Chinese hotel service, which can be a bit scary if you are not used to it.

 

China continues to be, once and again, a strikingly beautiful place...when you get away from the sort of crowds that those living in the West can only imagine.  And what can we say about 2011 coming to a close other than, phew!!

 

China's New Rich and what some of them think about themselves... Michael Sylvester

We have tried hard to describe the impact of living in a boom economy and what it makes people think of themselves...and this weekend my wife and I snuck off for a quiet beach getaway and found this article as the cover story of a magazine available in each room of the hotel.
 
The Top Percentile
 

Corporate counsel in China: Tap dancing in a mine field? Michael Sylvester

This quick post is aimed at those of us who are providing guidance as corporate / in house counsel for our multinational clients operating here in Mainland China.
 
In Mainland China, as in the West, corporate or in house counsel are charged with evaluating a proposed or actual course of conduct of their client, generally in the form of Board reports on where to draw the line between permissible and impermissible activity and risk / reward scenarios. For example, we have all heard the oft asked question, what is the downside if we get caught?
 
So, we advise what should be done and then, quite often, are overruled by the Board that chooses to carry forward some questionalbe course of conduct because of how it impacts the bottom line. And damn if that whole attorney client privilege thing prevents us from doing much other than putting our hands in our pockets and looking at our shoes as it all happens.
 

Being a small town lawyer in Shenzhen, China Michael Sylvester

 shenzhen.jpg

Occasionally we are asked what it is like living in China...chaotic, crowded & forward thinking might be a good start -- as you can see from this snapshop of a part of the city center.

 

But at base, we are just small town lawyers in the 'city' of foreigners here.  According to Chinese immigration records, there are about 700,000 foreign workers here in China with 200,000 of them being here in Shenzhen.

 

So, when you add in the family members of those ex-patriots here, you might say there are half a million of us here.  Like I said, we are just small town lawyers...

 

 

Bull Moose Party 2012?? Why the hell not...

The primary aim of the 1912 Progressive Party, also called the Bull Moose Party was to "to destroy this invisible Government, to dissolve the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics is the first task of the statesmanship of the day."
 
A third party candidate, while not winning the election, put the following issues on the national agenda that changed the course of goverment for a generation...the US might use a bit of that kind of thinking right now.
 
So, I'd like to hear from anyone out there on this and if you agree -- let's find a few zillionaires and get them to put up the funds for the campaign of someone we do not want elected.  Hell, I'll do it if we can't find anyone else willing to run and lose.  The goal is not to try to win, but to change the rules of the game by getting what really matters back into the discussion.  One definiton of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.
 
In the social sphere the platform called for

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