Hogan Lovells’ Asia intellectual property practice will undergo changes, as two senior lawyers plan to leave the firm this year.
Patrick Sherrington, Hogan Lovells’ managing partner for Asia Pacific and the Middle East, confirmed that IP partner Deanna Wong and of counsel Henry Wheare, are both leaving. Wheare will retire, while Wong will pursue opportunities outside large law firms.
Wong , who splits her time between Hong Kong and Beijing, advises clients on a range of IP matters from registration and portfolio management to contentious matters that include enforcement and infringement litigation. She has been a partner with legacy Lovells since 2010 , having joined the firm in 2004. Earlier in her career, she practiced at Hong Kong firm Sit, Fung, Kwong & Shum and New Zealand’s AJ Park.
Wheare , who is based in Hong Kong, has also looked after the firm’s IP practice in Vietnam. The former Asia head of IP for Lovells, Wheare was one of the first lawyers to practice IP law in Asia. He also helped build Hogan Lovells’ IP practice into one of the strongest in Asia. Wheare, now in his 60s, became of counsel two years ago.
Several other IP partners have also left Hogan Lovells recently. In April, former Shanghai partner William Fisher left for DLA Piper; in October of last year, former Hong Kong partner Alan Chiu left to join veteran IP lawyer Ella Cheong . Chiu had joined the firm in 2015 from Mayer Brown JSM as part of a three-lawyer team more than a year after the U.S. firm hired away technology and IP partner Gabriela Kennedy from Hogan Lovells. The other two lawyers who joined with Chiu—partner Eugene Low and of counsel Kenny Wong—remain with Hogan Lovells in Hong Kong.
Last year, Hogan Lovells also became the third international law firm to launch an association with China’s Fidelity Law Firm in the Shanghai Free Trade Zone. The effort was led by Shanghai-based IP partner Katie Feng and emphasizes IP litigation in China.
Sherrington said Hogan Lovells has been preparing for succession for some years and the IP practice will remain strong following the departures of Wong and Wheare. He predicted that partner and of counsel promotion would likely result in the firm having six partners and three of counsel attorneys managing the IP and technology practice in China within the next 12 months.
“The [IP and technology] practice is a strength for the firm and something we are absolutely committed to,” Sherrington said.