We need to find one or more Patent Attorneys in China as an association to get our business started.
Apart from the smaller firms, there are national firms. National firms may have one office in Beijing and branches in cities of their choice. A national firms with offices close to us are important. It is the Chinese traditions to deal with some one you met before, not some one you talked over the phone or communicated by email. By simple logic, a large firms have a more diverse field of expertise. Be it chemical, electronic, mechanical, and even legal. That may be useful for us, so that when we expand beyond the first customer. In house attorney at law would take up the legal fight for IP protection in China. That was not part of our initial reuirement for association but nice to know our potential partners have attorney at law when we need one.
Interesting enough, there were large and small firms who charge US rate, at the same time, there are large firms who charge less then US rate. So high price is not a guarantee of professional service.
We ended up using one national firm and one local firm in our first year of operation. However, we only gave one job to the local firm in Guangzhou and switched to another national firm, making two national firms as our partners.