Interview with Cheng Lingjun, Intellectual Property Director of Joyoung Co., Ltd.

By Cao Ying, China IP,[Comprehensive Reports]

Building Enterprise Patent Defensive Line with Intensive Cultivation
From the field of technology research and development to the field of intellectual property, Cheng Lingjun has been pursuing breakthrough, facing challenge, and forging ahead with a steady pace. Since joining Joyoung Co., Ltd (Joyoung) in 2000, he has 16 years of experience in the intellectual property industry. He has made full use of his compound education background of mechanical design and manufacturing, and legal profession, constantly helping Joyoung in the expansion and development of the application of registration, analysis, litigation, safeguard rights, management, and operation of patent and trademark, participating in technology R&D, and relevant technology patenting, fighting against patent infringement cases, and gradually building a thorough intellectual property protection system for Joyoung. Rich practical experience in intellectual property and accumulated business management experience enable Cheng Lingjun, intellectual property director of Joyoung, to lead the team with "intensive cultivation" working pattern and to walk in the forefront to build enterprise patent defensive line.  
Continue to break through and meet challenge
Graduated from the major of mechanical design and manufacturing in 1996, Cheng Lingjun was recruited as a R&D engineer into Xiaoya Group, a large enterprise mainly specialized in home appliances, and mechanical and electrical business. Favourable work plat form and matched work provided him with a great opportunity to distinguish him.  Within less than four years, by the virtue of own research and exploration via the full study of washing machines, Cheng Lingjun put forward his ideas for the new product after nonstop experiment and repeated improvement. Ultimately he promoted the launch of company’s new washing machine, which made an important contribution to Xiaoya Group. He was then recognized by the company, and gradually got promoted from R&D engineer to R&D director. The enthusiasm and devotion for R&D fully demonstrated Cheng Lingjun’s conscientiousness and persistence towards work. In this short period of four years, at the same time of self-improvement, he also fully learnt about the structure and performance of home appliances, which provided him with necessary technical support to join Joyoung on patent work.  
Although the work at Xiaoya Group was smooth and wel l , gradually, Cheng Lingjun found that state-owned enterprises system restrained his desire of continuing self-breakthrough. He longed for a challenging platform to achieve more bold ideas and to pursue greater ambitions. And at that time, he met Joyoung, which was on its initial stage of development. Compared to the experienced household appliance enterprise Xiaoya Group, Joyoung was a quite young enterprise by that time. There up to the boss, down to the staff, most were young people with full passion. Their experience may not be long though, they were enterprising. It was the vitality and vigour of Joyoung that attracted Cheng Lingjun. His heart guided him that here has the dream he wanted to pursue. Following his heart, Cheng Lingjun gave up the steady work and promotion opportunity at Xiaoya Group, and then came to Joyoung without hesitation. Hence, he began to take on new challenges in this brand-new platform.  
Before Cheng Lingjun’s entry, Joyoung’s business development was still in its initial stage, and the intellectual property work was under the exploration period with no system formed. In 2004, with the continuous expansion of business, intellectual property protection work has become more and more valued, especially on patent. The senior management team of Joyoung decided to set up a separate intellectual property sector, and establish an intellectual property team. In the field of patent business, taking into account the importance of the technical background, R&D personnel would undoubtedly become the primary candidate. Engaged in R&D work before, Cheng Lingjun keenly sensed this opportunity. The willingness to try enabled him to foresee the importance and challenges of patent work. In his perspective, intellectual property work is a combination of technology and law, rather than a simple legal business. Taking his own years of R&D background into consideration, and coupling with the interest in learning intellectual property knowledge, he was confident that he could make it. Then he volunteered to burden the heavy responsibility.  
Facing new challenges, he needs equipping with new knowledge. After his formal stepping into intellectual property rights work, he began to self-study intellectual property-related legal knowledge, so as to form a systematic understanding of legal knowledge, and lay necessary foundation for patent work. Meanwhile, by virtue of his own efforts, in 2006, he passed the patent agent examination. In 2011, he made use of spare time for proceeding on the Master of Laws at Shandong University. For becoming a good patent agent and business manager, Cheng Lingjun has been constantly enriching himself, and pursuing self-breakthrough.  
Find out the direction to build defensive line
With the gradually acceleration of development, represented by soy milk makers, small home appliances with healthy lifestyle of Joyoung have been among the first echelon of China’s small household appliance market. While, accompanied it were large and small patent infringement litigations. However, in the flocks of patent lawsuits, Joyoung could not manage and survive without the strong and unique management work of intellectual property team headed by Cheng Lingjun.  
As a patent leader of Joyoung, Cheng Lingjun participates in the R&D of core products to carry on patent analysis and form patent protection. With his intensive cultivation, many technologies of the company have become patent barriers in the industry, which created huge market benefits for the company. This undoubtedly ascribed to Cheng Lingjun and the suitable intellectual property protection system developed by its intellectual property team headed by him.  
In order to effectively face the fierce competition condition of patent, Cheng Lingjun applies patent map, and by means of statistics and analysis of analysis software, he has a clear understanding of the industry technology developmental trends which greatly guides the direction of company’s patent development. To be well-prepared, he leads the intellectual property department to specially set up the intellectual property risk audit process to carry out risk assessment and classifications on the issues of relevant products raised by R&D personnel. Once they find out any possibility of infringement of intellectual property, intellectual property team could exercise the veto power, which enables the intellectual property department to greatly play its role in patent protection of Joyoung. He often visits R&D office and works on-site to discuss with R&D personnel. He puts patent mining work upfront to effectively promote the unification of intellectual property risk control and patent application. In addition, as a patent rights agent, Cheng Lingjun managed Patent Invalid Case of Easy-Cleaning Soymilk Maker which was selected as one of top 10 cases of Patent Reexamination Board in 2012. Supor v. Joyoung 5-Year Patent Litigation Final Reconciliation Case was selected as top 10 case activities in China 2015 annual intellectual property sector (jointly reviewed by Patent Protection Association of China, China Intellectual Property News, and Intellectual Property Publishing House Co., Ltd.).  
In recent years, Joyoung has become a strong supporter of thousands of patented technologies, and actively led and participated in over 60 national standard settings of soymilk makers, cooking machines, induction cookers, electric pressure cookers, electric kettles. Meanwhile, as a national soymilk maker standardization leading organization, it has led the development of the national s tandard and international standards. The strong technical barriers built have played a decisive role in the developmental direction of its products and strategies. Achievement s could no t be separated from the improvement of Joyoung intellectual property system, and the perfection of the system is inseparable from the commitment of Cheng Lingjun and his team.  
Owing to outstanding performance in the enterprise intellectual property management, Cheng Lingjun not only won the recognition by Joyoung, but also received the title of advanced individual of intellectual property in Jinan City. More importantly, with his comprehensive and effective intellectual property management work, Joyoung has gradually built a solid patent defensive line, which enables it to foresee the future direction of development with reassurances.  
Building the team in a firm and steady pace
In Cheng Lingjun’s perspective, as an enterprise intellectual property manager, one has not only to continue to exceed oneself and to face challenges, but to cultivate and mobilize an excellent team. Joyoung’s patent work is inseparable from the support of the team. Since his entry from the very beginning, Cheng Lingjun has been attaching great importance to team building, and given full play to the importance of business manager in the team building.  
In early days, when the intellectual property work of Joyoung was still in the initial stage, most of the work was handled by external agencies. There were only two people working on intellectual property work in the company, and they were mainly responsible for the process and coordination work. In 2004, Cheng Lingjun took over the relevant work, and began to focus on developing intellectual property related regulations as well as intellectual property team. In terms of team building, Cheng Lingjun has its own unique style and method. He prefers hands-on and devotes himself to team construction as well. Especially for those graduates who have never been involved in the patent work, he is willing to teach and share everything. Starting from the basic patent writing, he passes on writing experience to green hands in the patent field to help them fit in and gradually do things with facility.  
In the construction under the leadership of Cheng Lingjun, Joyoung has gradually cultivated a team of talents capable of undertaking patent invalidation cases. In around 2010, Joyoung’s intellectual property team has reached 15 personnel, consisting of engineers familiar with patent work and legal specialists. They conduct intellectual property management work according to product lines, which greatly improves the company’s ability and response in patent competition.  At present, this team has been expanded to 28 employees, among which most members have patent agent qualification certificates. This professional and efficient team helps Joyoung to create the intellectual property innovation management system, to strengthen the three-level risk control system of patents and trademarks. It has applied for more than 3,000 patents with over 2,000 authorized. It facilitates the trademark operation, brand value enhancement, as well as brand reputation maintenance. It assists Joyoung with a market value 3.1 billion Yuan to be listed among 2016 most valuable brand ranking, and it helps to promote the soymilk maker as a home appliance to apply state-level intellectual property honour, which makes Joyoung become the national intellectual property demonstration enterprise. Joyoung is the first small home appliance enterprise to sweep both China Patent Golden Awards, and the China Trademark Golden Awards. Behind all the honour, it highlights Cheng Lingjuns hard work and achievements in team building and management.  
Retrospecting years of work path in Joyoung, Cheng Lingjun thinks that he is growing up together with the enterprise. In the first decade, he has focused on the establishment of intellectual property management system, the formation of a stable team, the improvement of patent application, the processes and system of patent risk and patent research, the steady improvement of patent quantity, the reduction of patent operation risks, as well as the promotion of patent R&D. While in the second decade, he expects to lead the team to continue with "intensive cultivation" in patent work. While pursing continuous improvement of own ability and being a good enterprise manager, he further optimizes intellectual property protection system at Joyoung.  
(Translated by Yu Shiwen)  

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