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Far East Desc

Far East Desk

in Austria

Austria, Central and Eastern Europe (“CEE”) and Southern and Eastern Europe (“SEE”)

Legal advice on investments between Asia and Austria/CEE/SEE

Entering a new market means new challenges, hurdles and obstacles to overcome. With our extensive international experience and comprehensive local knowledge, we support East Asian and Southeast Asian clients who seek a dynamic and culturally sensitive team to achieve their ambitions and goals. Our lawyers have worked with numerous Asian companies that are looking to grow their operations in Austria and CEE/SEE or are searching for new opportunities in this region.

Your point of contact for Austria and CEE/SEE

CMS’ Far East Asia Desk is helmed by a team of experts that includes not just renowned specialists in their fields but also lawyers who have a solid track record working with Asian clients and personal experience in living and working in Asia. This combination of cultural know-how and specialist legal competence is what our clients appreciate: how we at CMS can curate a winning team for every client’s different needs. 
Adding this blend of Asian experience with our 50 years of history in Austria and 20 years of professional track record in CEE/SEE, we are well placed to provide our clients with the legal expertise that they need. 

Our Pan-European Capabilities

Regulations and laws in Europe can be both uniform and divergent at the same time, which may be confusing for conglomerates and SMEs alike: this is where we step in and help our clients navigate the new waters of another continent. We have a strong track record of advising and supporting our clients in their pan-European ambitions and our lawyers are well-seasoned in tackling multi-jurisdictional mandates. One of our biggest advantages is the CMS network – through us, our clients benefit from the access of the entire network that has a presence in 43 countries and 76 jurisdictions worldwide. 
Our CMS team is committed to helping our clients’ fulfill their goals. We have been involved in numerous notable deals and mandates in the CEE/SEE region and have coordinated our clients’ European projects. Our clients include Asian companies who have acquired European companies with a presence in multiple jurisdictions in CEE/SEE and require support during and post transaction. We have also advised companies in their pan-European compliance matters, in particular companies that have their regional headquarters in CEE/SEE. 

Industry Specific Expertise 

We have a wealth of experience in numerous industries, including but not limited to energy, financial services, funds, healthcare, hotels & leisure, insurance, life sciences, private equity and TMT. Our experts have advised on complex matters in these industries and speak at seminars or provide webinars on their industry specific expertise from time to time – more information and updates can be found on our social media platforms such as LinkedIn and Twitter. 

China 

CMS has longstanding experience with Chinese clients – with two offices in Shanghai and Beijing and with more than 30 years of experience in China, we have worked with numerous Chinese companies who are keen to make their next steps into Austria or CEE/SEE by establishing a presence in the European market. 
Our team at CMS is composed of lawyers who are not just native Chinese speakers, but who have also spent an extended time living, studying and working in China or Asia. We are thus cognizant of Chinese business culture and understand the needs of our Chinese clients. Together with our local offices in Shanghai and Beijing, we can also provide our Chinese clients with tailor-made legal services and seamless support regardless of time zones.

Key Contacts

 Japan 

In recent years, we are acutely aware of the rising importance of the CEE/SEE region to Japanese companies and have been involved in some of the largest deals involving Japanese clients in CEE in recent years, such as Takeda Pharmaceutical’s EUR 9.6 billion acquisition of Nycomed. We have a long standing and impressive track record in advising Japanese clients and have also advised the regional headquarters of large Japanese conglomerates in CEE and served on the expert panels of such companies as well. Our major clients include Japanese companies from various industries, such as pharmaceutical and life sciences, heavy industry, telecommunications, amongst others.

Key Contacts

South Korea

Austria, Central and Eastern Europe (“CEE”) and Southern and Eastern Europe (“SEE”)

We have a wealth of experience acting for South Korean companies, funds and investors in a diverse range of matters and have also worked with some of the leading South Korean conglomerates. The team at CMS has acted as a legal advisor and expert across different industries in legal matters such as mergers and acquisitions, real estate and construction, capital markets, tax structuring, amongst others. 
More recently, our CMS Bulgaria team has advised Hyundai Electric and Energy Systems Co. Ltd in its sale of its Bulgarian subsidiary, whereby a press release can be found here.
Our Emerging Europe report which is published jointly with EMIS Insights has also highlighted the growing interest from South Korean companies in the CEE region. Should you wish to obtain a copy of this report or get in touch with our CEE/SEE experts, please use our online form or email. 

Key Contacts

Southeast Asia

Our experts have also worked with clients from Southeast Asia such as Singaporean companies on a wide range of projects including but not limited to M&A, corporate restructurings, compliance, real estate and tax. As one of the few firms in Austria and CEE/SEE with a native Southeast Asian lawyer who is qualified in Singapore and has professional experience in both Europe and Asia, we are well positioned to assist Southeast Asian clients who are keen to make a footprint or strengthen their presence in Austria or CEE/SEE.   

Key Contacts

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Bridging Con­tin­ents - In­fra­struc­ture In­dex 2019
Emer­ging Europe M&A Re­port 2019/2020
26/11/2019
CHINA - Up­dated Trade­mark Act
On 1 Novem­ber 2019, the latest amend­ment to the Chinese Trade­mark Act came in­to force. The very wel­come new pro­vi­sions strengthen brand own­er­s' abil­ity to fight against product pir­acy and trade­mark coun­ter­feit­ing. Which new leg­al means against trade­mark in­fringe­ments are now avail­able? In April 2019, the Stand­ing Com­mit­tee of the Na­tion­al People’s Con­gress in China an­nounced that it would amend the Trade­mark Act, which was re­vised ex­tens­ively in 2013. The amend­ments to the cur­rent Chinese Trade­mark Act 2019 (chinTMA 2019) are de­signed to strengthen the rights of trade­mark own­ers. ChinTMA 2019 thus of­fers brand-own­ers new ways of act­ing against product and trade­mark pir­ates. These prin­cip­ally ad­dress the fol­low­ing areas: Trade­mark Squat­ting – Bad faith trade­mark ap­plic­a­tions Brand-own­ers of­ten in­tend to re­gister a trade­mark in China which has not yet been re­gistered there and find that it has already been pro­tec­ted by a third party – a prac­tice known as ‘trade­mark-squat­ting’. Un­til now, own­ers of un­re­gistered marks could only act against trade­mark-squat­ters in China if there was bad faith and the ap­plic­a­tion con­cerned a trade­mark that had already ac­quired a cer­tain mar­ket re­cog­ni­tion (Art. 9 in con­junc­tion with Art. 32 of the chinTMA 2013). However, this leg­al frame­work does not of­fer sat­is­fact­ory rem­ed­ies against such trade­mark-squat­ting, es­pe­cially for for­eign brand own­ers (mainly from Europe and the US). Art­icle 4 (1) of the cur­rent Chinese Trade­mark Act 2019 now stip­u­lates that an ap­plic­a­tion to re­gister a trade­mark made in bad faith must be re­fused if the ap­plic­ant has no in­ten­tion to use that trade­mark. The Chinese Trade­mark Of­fice may there­fore re­fuse to re­gister a trade­mark simply on the grounds of bad faith. In ad­di­tion, trade­mark own­ers may op­pose a pro­vi­sion­ally ap­proved and pub­licly an­nounced trade­mark ap­plic­a­tion made in bad faith with­in the mean­ing of Art. 4 (1) chinTMA 2019 with­in 3 months of its pub­lic­a­tion (Art. 33 chinTMA 2019). If, how­ever, a trade­mark ap­plied for in bad faith has already been re­gistered, any­one may seek to in­val­id­ate the mark. The ac­tion to an­nul may there­fore be brought by any­one and not just by the brand-own­er con­cerned.  Claim for de­struc­tionIn China, en­force­ment of trade­mark rights has a two-pronged struc­ture. Trade­mark own­ers may choose to en­force their trade­mark rights either by ad­min­is­trat­ive law or civil law means. However, there are dif­fer­ences between these, which the cur­rent chinTMA 2019 now ad­justs to a cer­tain ex­tent.Un­til now, the seizure and de­struc­tion of the in­fringing goods as well as the equip­ment used to man­u­fac­ture them could only be ordered ex lege by an ad­min­is­trat­ive or­der (Art. 60 (2) chinTMA 2013). Now, Art. 63 (4) chinTMA 2019 also provides that a com­par­able de­struc­tion claim may be as­ser­ted at a civil court. The aim of the pro­vi­sion is to en­sure that goods which in­fringe trade­mark rights are not put on the mar­ket in any cir­cum­stances. Art­icle 63 (5) chinTMA 2019 ex­pressly states that goods that use an­oth­er’s trade­mark in a man­ner that in­fringes upon that trade­mark may not be put on the mar­ket, even if the in­fringing mark is re­moved. High­er claim for dam­ages With­in the frame­work of en­for­cing trade­mark rights un­der civil law, it has so far been pos­sible to in­crease the claim for dam­ages for an in­ten­tion­al trade­mark in­fringe­ment by a factor of one to three. Now the ‘pun­it­ive dam­ages’-claim will be tightened, so that ‘pun­it­ive dam­ages’-claim for an in­ten­tion­al trade­mark in­fringe­ment may be in­creased up to five times.  The basis for cal­cu­lat­ing the in­creased ‘pun­it­ive dam­ages’-claim is the ac­tu­al dam­age suffered, the ad­vant­age of the in­fringer or the ap­pro­pri­ate li­cence fee.  The stat­utory ‘lump-sum’ com­pens­a­tion was also in­creased. If the ac­tu­al dam­age suffered, the ad­vant­age of the in­fringer or the ap­pro­pri­ate li­cence fee can­not be de­term­ined, the People’s Courts were able to rule on an amount of up to RMB 3 mil­lion (ap­prox­im­ately EUR 385,000). As part of the amend­ment to the Trade­mark Act, the lump-sum com­pens­a­tion was in­creased to a max­im­um of RMB 5 mil­lion (ap­prox­im­ately EUR 640,000).  What can we ex­pect next? From the brand-own­er’s point of view, the amend­ments in chinTMA 2019 are grat­i­fy­ing. They provide them with more ef­fect­ive means to deal with product and trade­mark pir­ates. However, there are still un­cer­tain­ties, spe­cific­ally re­gard­ing the ques­tion of what is meant by ‘in­ten­tion to use’ with­in the mean­ing of Art. 4 (1) chinTMA 2019. In the past, sup­ple­ment­ary im­ple­ment­ing reg­u­la­tions to the Trade­mark Act have provided more clar­ity on vaguely defined terms, show­ing, for ex­ample, how a pro­vi­sion is handled in prac­tice. To date, the Chinese le­gis­lat­or has not yet is­sued im­ple­ment­ing reg­u­la­tions for chinTMA 2019. These will likely be is­sued shortly.