Competing in IP
An experienced attorney in China, Alex Zhang ’06 earned his LL.M. to help him compete in China’s emerging IP market.
BY ASA PITTMAN ’09
Alex Zhang '06
Before relocating to the United States, Alex Zhang ’06 was a professional in his home country of China with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, a master’s degree in computer science, and a law certificate. He realized that despite his many accomplishments, he needed something more to compete in China’s emerging intellectual property mmarket—an LL.M. from Santa Clara Law.
“There were no intellectual property lawyers in China before 1985. IP was a hot topic in China, so I tried to figure out how I could use my background to become a part of the field,” says Zhang.
During his 10 years as a patent and trademark attorney in China, Zhang had become familiar with Santa Clara Law’s reputation as a leading producer of IP lawyers, which convinced him to enroll. Although he had traveled to New York and other major American cities for business, Zhang had never studied in the United States prior to attending Santa Clara Law. His experience at the school, he said, exceeded his expectations: “Santa Clara Law gave me a lot of help. They had great professors and the students really helped each other.”
A partner at King & Wood, one of the largest law firms in China, since 2001, Zhang attended Santa Clara Law while managing the firm’s Silicon Valley office. Today, Zhang remains a partner at King & Wood, where he specializes in patent preparation, prosecution, and counseling. His duties require him to travel between his downtown San Jose office and China approximately six times a year.
Despite his frequent travels, however, Zhang keeps close contact with his alma mater. By collaborating with Santa Clara Law’s Center for Global Law and Policy, Zhang helped create summer internships for Santa Clara students at the King & Wood offices in Beijing and Hong Kong. The internships, he said, not only provide a unique way for students to learn IP law, but also express his gratitude to the school that made his entry into IP practice possible: “I think connections are very important in every area of life. It’s good to stay in touch with your school, and maybe even give something back.”