"I've been practicing on matters of China law and tax for over 16 years for goodness sakes - and just like any other expatriate lawyer - have not passed Chinese qualifications to do so."
For the record, Chris Devonshire Ellis is not registered as a legal professional anywhere, has not completed any formal schooling in law, or accountancy, or tax, or any area of study associated with them. He is not a registered trademark agent or patent agent. He has no professional qualifications of any kind. For a long time he claimed to have received "Church of England theology education", which, translated into English, apparently means that he went to a Church of England primary school, but this seems to be the limit of his education.
I'd like to go further, but first a little house-keeping. No, I have never met Chris Devonshire-Ellis, I am not associated with Lehman-Brown, the firm with which he had a long running dispute over meta-tagging (something which may or may not be trademark infringement), I am not a disgruntled former employee of his (although there seem to be more than a few of these). No, I'm just annoyed at seeing a man with such obviously dodgy credentials treated as an expert by people who ought to know better. His laughable pieces in the Beijing press on legal matters are a prime example of this. Here's him on IP protection in China in the Beijing Review:
"There is, however, a hole in the registration procedure for patents, which require they be registered and placed on public file for assessment prior to the patent being recognized as your own intellectual property. This means some entrepreneurial types scan such registrations specifically to steal designs and then immediately get into production even while your patent pending process is still ongoing."
The whole purpose of the patenting process is that we, the public, get to learn how to use an invention in exchange for granting the inventor the right to exercise a monopoly over the commercial exploitation of the invention. This system cannot work unless patents and patent applications are made available to the public, so that they can know in good time to avoid infringing the patent.
His knowledge of trademark law also seems a little off, for the record, the next time anyone says that they can get you a mainland China trademark by "going to the patent and trademark office in Wan Chai [i.e., in HK]", they likely don't know what they're talking about. I'm not qualified to say anything about taxes or accountancy, except to say that a company registered as a book-keeping company is not where I would go for advice on my company's future.
Final thought - always do due diligence on consultants, especially in a market with a still developing regulatory structure like China, because shysters abound.
Update: Wow, thank you to my anonymous commenter (email me whoever you are) I checked out Chris Devonshire-Ellis's Linkedin page. Yes, this is going a bit deeper into things than I would normally be comfortable with, but it really is amazing that someone could claim to have an LLB and then make this comment:
if you had researched further into that you would have found that the reason I took it down WAS precisely because it was wrong. The circumstances behind my not completing my exams at the time - more than three-quarters through my papers - however you are not aware of and it is not something I either wish to or have to justify to you, or anyone else. Suffice to say it had a lot to do with family tragedy and little to do with "fake".
So, the Dezhira website was wrong when they listed CDE as having graduated separately in law and marketing from two different universities, but CDE then goes and lists himself as having a law degree on his own Linkedin page.
Update part 2:
Silicon Hutong have taken that page down, but we all saw it folks, CDE clearly contradicted himself, and his previous statements regarding his qualifications.