Prof. Seagull H. Song: Bridging the Gap Between Nations

Visiting Associate Professor Seagull Haiyan Song joined Loyola Law School in 2012 after practicing law in China and the United States for 15 years. She was senior IP counsel for the Walt Disney Company after working as a consultant for Arnold & Porter LLP in Washington, D.C. and San Francisco.  Prior to that, Song was a partner at King & Wood, a leading law firm in China, from 2004 to 2007, after spending the first seven years of her legal career at China Patent Agent (H.K.) Ltd. She was named one of Asialaw’s “Leading Lawyers” in intellectual property for five consecutive years since 2006. 

Song teaches Comparative Copyright Law, IP Licensing and China Law as Loyola’s resident China scholar. In addition, she fosters legal collaboration between the U.S. and China in the field of intellectual property through a long-standing working relationship with the Chinese Supreme Court. “It’s an honor to be able to make an impact in China’s IP law,” she said. “And sometimes it helps just being the source the Chinese court goes to when they want to understand the U.S. better.”

In January 2012, Song presented a three-hour lecture to the intellectual property judges from the Chinese Supreme Court.  She provided an overview of key intellectual property cases in the United States that year. “I was impressed with their articulate and sometimes sharp questions, and also their in-depth understanding of what is happening outside China,” said Song. “They are quite knowledgeable about U.S. laws and cases.”

Song’s knowledge of the U.S. and Chinese legal systems is invaluable to the U.S.-China IP cooperation. Last year, Song was one of five leading experts selected by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to engage in bilateral IP-cooperation dialogues with China. The discussion resulted in a better understanding of the most complex and challenging IP issues facing China.  “Wearing an academic hat can be useful. It helps me explain the issues in an unbiased way,” she said.

The lack of transparency in Chinese legislation can be an obstacle for U.S. legal experts and scholars. In the U.S. and elsewhere in the world, there is little access to IP cases decided in China.  Furthermore, Chinese judges do not always provide their rationale behind a decision in the opinion, which causes a roadblock for those trying to study the cases. 

To address this disparity, Song recently finished a book that examines 20 landmark Chinese patent cases for legal experts and scholars the world over, a rare first. Song is the editor and co-translator of the book, tentatively titled Selective Chinese Patent Cases, to be published this year by Wolters Kluwer in collaboration with the Chinese Commercial Press. She credits her Loyola student research assistants for their help on the project.

Song’s most recent books are New Challenges of Chinese Copyright Law: ISP Liability, Google Library Project and Sports Telecasts from the Commercial Press and New Challenges of Chinese Copyright Law in the Digital Age from Wolters Kluwer Law/Aspen Publications. As scholarly sources for judges and legislators in China, these books impact both current and future IP laws in China.  The books also promote a better understanding of the IP-related issues facing China’s.

Song received her Doctorate of the Science of Law (JSD) and her second LLM from UC Berkeley School of Law. She received her first LLM degree from Hong Kong University and her BA from Beijing Language University in 1997.