Monday 24 November 2008

Life imitates FOARP . . .

The first phase of Axl Rose's plan to take over China is complete: he has made the Chinese irate . . .

Saturday 22 November 2008

Chris Devonshire-Ellis is NOT a lawyer . . . .

This needs to be said over and over and over, and over. The man does not even have a law degree, despite what he has claimed in the past. Yes, he continues to make claims to be a legal professional - like in this comment at Silicon Hutong[link now broken, see updates for details]:

"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.

Thursday 20 November 2008

Pure Crazy-Sauce

This from American commentator Dick Morris over at Real Clear Politics:

The results of the G-20 economic summit amount to nothing less than the seamless integration of the United States into the European economy. In one month of legislation and one diplomatic meeting, the United States has unilaterally abdicated all the gains for the concept of free markets won by the Reagan administration and surrendered, in toto, to the Western European model of socialism, stagnation and excessive government regulation. Sovereignty is out the window. Without a vote, we are suddenly members of the European Union. Given the dismal record of those nations at creating jobs and sustaining growth, merger with the Europeans is like a partnership with death.

Yeah, that's right, the G20 meeting was actually a surrender to a 'socialist' and 'dying' Europe. Never mind the fact that the meeting actually acheived little, or that the proposed regulations would largely return the US to where it was in the nineties, or that Western Europe is far from 'dying' (From 1963 to 2003 per capita GDP in the 29 Western European states rose by an average 156% in real terms, compared to 137% for the US).

Saturday 15 November 2008

Karma . .

Got into a big long argument with a lawyer from TSB a couple of days back about the cause of our current financial crisis. For me, the most incredible thing was the way in which the people doing the actual trading quite obviously had no idea what it was they were buying and selling, that they were essentially extremely well-paid salesmen and buyers for whom it did not matter what exactly is was they were buying and selling. The same kind of phenomenon where politicians win office merely by mouthing catch-phrases and holding forth on button-pushing issues which have little to do with the actual job they will be doing was replicated over and over in the stock market. That's not to say that there aren't plenty of very smart people working in finance, just that they were working within a system which did not (and does not) actually punish them for making long-term bad decisions for short-term gain. Their forecasting had as much to do with the actual value of their stocks as the average job advert is an accurate reflection of what the duties and chances of promotion are in the job advertised (the job market is another field in which style is rewarded over substance, but that's another story). Anyway, I saw this quote on the Andrew Sullivan website which pretty much backed up everything I had been saying:

Sooner rather than later, someone was going to identify me, along with a lot of people more or less like me, as a fraud. Sooner rather than later, there would come a Great Reckoning when Wall Street would wake up and hundreds if not thousands of young people like me, who had no business making huge bets with other people’s money, would be expelled from finance.

Michael Lewis is far from the only person to feel this way, a friend of mine who used to work over at Merill Lynch described Wall Street in pretty similar terms. It would be too easy to simply say that the solution for this (and for politics, and for recruitment) is less tolerance for BS, but is sure would help.

Dateline: 23rd of November, Guns 'n Roses releases new album "Chinese Democracy", CCP surrenders . . . . .

"We're surrendering" said Chinese Communist Party supremo Hu Jintao. "For a long time we thought people in the west were secretly on our side, but now that even Axl has turned against us, we now realise that resistance is useless . . . you guys win . . . I'm going to go and drown my sorrows in Johnny Walker's mixed with shitty-tasting green tea".

There were shocking scenes at Tiananmen square today, where Axl Rose had appeared to give his first speech as President of China, Axl Rose set out his plans for the country. "My first act is going to be launching a nuclear strike against the former band members . . sorry for anyone within ten miles of those lame-ass wannabes, but they had it comin'". At this point a 1 Yuan coin was thrown from the crowd, Axl gave a signal for the mic to be cut and walked off stage muttering "Send in the tanks, you know what to do!".

With martial law in full effect, Axl and his minions set about their plan to create "The rocking-est country on the whole damned planet". First to go was the national anthem, which has been replaced by the ridiculously long guitar solo from November Rain. The national flag has also been consigned to the dustbin of history, to be replaced by the original album cover from Bon Jovi's Slippery When Wet.

Freedom of speech and assembly, which enjoyed a brief period of liberalisation following the fall of the Communist Party, restrictions on human rights are now fully back in effect. Whilst human rights groups like Amnesty and Human Rights Watch have looked on with dismay, Chinese university students have enthusiastically joined the revolution that is sweeping the country. One student with dyed ginger hair sporting a headband who identified himself as Fandy Hu of Nanjing University of Knitwear and Needlework, said "Axl Rose's leadership is very to fitting the Chinese country, we all to welcome our new Chinese democracy, if you to criticise Axl then you hate China!"

Neighbouring countries are increasingly fearful that the revolution will spread beyond China's borders. Bakht Inbolok, Kyrgyz foreign minister, has already reported sightings of large formations of PLA soldiers in Flaming Lips-style hamster balls massing along the border. "Axl plans to turn our country into one big swimming pool, but will fight to the last man to stop him!".

Western governments are monitoring the situation.

Saturday 1 November 2008

Sign of the times . . . . .

Has anyone else started receiving spam email messages from people proporting to be representatives of Huatex or the Hang Seng bank but sent using Gmail addresses? Either the (mainly west African) spammers have gotten wise to everybody simply deleting anything with a Nigerian-sounding name in it, or folk in China are setting up on their own - which is it?