Danton Mak

Danton Mak is part of Sheldon Mak & Anderson, a law firm specializing in intellectual property. His firm was named by U.S. News as a Best Law Firm, ranking as a National Tier 1 in IP. Born and raised in Hong Kong, he is one of the leading Chinese-speaking patent lawyers in the U.S.. As a result, he holds considerable connections and influence in Taiwan and China. Although he and his firm are primarily based in the U.S., Danton and Sheldon Mak work with Chinese lawyers on cases abroad and are currently marketing themselves in China.
What opportunities are there in terms of intellectual property?

Mr. Mak began talking about how he and his firm has been doing IP litigations on contingency, because “it’s very specialized and basically we’re so confident on our ability, we put our own capital on the line.” He reasons that Chinese “clients that don’t have the resources [to spend] or don’t want to spend money on lawyers,” attributing that as a cultural difference, where “they are accustomed to, paying for professionals,” and “ are still not accustomed to the idea that you have to pay the lawyers (laughs).” “They way we see it,” Mr. Mak says, “is that protection of a successful product is really underserved. Big American companies are really good with having really oppressive contracts of adhesion, and companies like Wal Mart and Home Depot, all have these standards, well they call them standards but they are THIER standards.” Mr. Mak lists an example of an oppressive contract when he explains, “I’ve actually seen one that says: once I buy from you for a period of time, say a year after that, I get a paid up license on everything you own, on all the IP you own, therefore you cannot sue me for anything. Well, then they turn around and buy from someone else who give them another 5% off.” He then goes on to talk about how that was totally unfair to suppliers and brought Chinese profit margins to 1.8%, according to the U.S. Dept. of Commerce. “If their IP is protected,” says Mr. Mak, “I can easily see their 1.8% double or triple or even go up 10 times.” He concludes that smaller companies in China would have more reasonable profits with IP protection, and shows his firm’s willingness to act in China by saying, “Few are willing to go after the big retailers of the world. We are.”