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Queen Mary Intellectual Property Research Institute

QMIPRI Spotlight Series: Dr Guan H. Tang

In the seventh part of our series showcasing the research of members of Queen Mary’s Intellectual Property Research Institute (QMIPRI) we focus on Dr Guan H. Tang, Senior Lecturer in Commercial Law (Asia).

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Dr Guan H. Tang is Senior Lecturer in Asian Commercial Law and Director of Dual LLM in Commercial Law (London/Singapore) at CCLS Queen Mary. She was previously Senior Lecturer in Law and Programme Leader for LLM Information Rights & Practice at Northumbria University. Before that she was Associate Professor of Law and Director of the Law Internationalization at Shanghai University of Finance and Economics.

Dr Tang started her academic journey in 1998 when she was awarded a scholarship to undertake her Masters at Queen's University Belfast, where she researched information technology and the law with a focus on intellectual property rights (IPRs) in China. She later obtained her PhD at the University of Edinburgh Law School.

Dr Tang’s main research interests are in the fields of comparative commercial law, rule of law in China and its relevance to the rest of the world. Her current research includes artificial intelligence, trademark protection in China as well as social media and censorship. She is Founding Director of the Queen Mary Commercial Law in China Series and the Sino-UK Executive Course on International Trade and IP. She is also leading and teaching two modules based on her research; Chinese Business Law as well as Intellectual Property Law in China. Both courses consist of lecturer-led seminars and student-chaired roundtables.

The syllabus of Chinese Business Law was based on her research project The Rule of Law in China: A Commercial Law Perspective and provides students with an updated insight of the principles and rules of the Chinese business law and enables them with the knowledge and skills to examine the Chinese legal system in greater depth. Topics include current debates on environmental law and China’s Belt Road Initiative, and the Covid-19 pandemic and its impact on trade relations with China.

Intellectual Property Law in China investigates China’s current copyright, trademark and patent, the law, policy and enforcement in the context of trade, and identifies the diverse approaches to effective protection of IPRs in China. The module pays great attention to the development of transferrable skills for students.

What do you consider the most significant aspects of your work to be?

“I think my work examining the development of the rule of law in China from a commercial law perspective in general. I support the rule of law and hope to understand its implementation in diverse settings, and my focus is very much on its enforcement from a commercial law perspective, rather than political. As you may see from discussions in my book Copyright and the Public Interest in China.

“I am really passionate about my research and my comparative studies, which have been adapted in my teaching. The modules I have developed for my students has come from my own research and I teach them using mixed techniques that suit their attributes and needs. Students are given the opportunity to decide and discuss topics in seminars, so it’s not just me lecturing them, they too have a voice and can explore the different legal areas that form the basis of the modules.”

What is your proudest achievement when it comes to your research?

“I am most proud of being able to inspire my students. I hope that my enthusiasm for the topic comes across and that I inspire them to want to ask more questions and study further. My students are not only my proudest achievement but also the future; I told my former students that, and I meant that.”

Is there anything surprising to come out of your research?

“A former supervisee in China got in touch to say that he had read my work on Competition and Copyright, and found its reasoning inspiring. One of the things that I remember about him was that he wasn’t strong when it came to reasoning in terms of legal arguments. He said that those discussions helped him to think about how to incorporate reasoning into his future work. He’s a judge, so just goes to show how our work can also really help and inspire others!”

Read more about Dr Tang on her Queen Mary profile page.