Our Team

Sharon Jie Zhao

Master of Applied Science
European Patent Attorney
Chinese Patent Attorney
US Patent Agent

Born in China and now based in Munich, Germany, Ms. Jie Zhao is a European Patent Attorney and Chinese Patent Attorney having 20 years of full-time experience in intellectual property legal practice.

In addition to practicing European patent law on a daily basis, Ms. Zhao has been assisting European and American clients in obtaining and enforcing intellectual property rights in China, thanks to her unique international experience and her in-depth knowledge of the Chinese intellectual property laws and practice.

Ms. Zhao received her Master of Applied Science degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of British Columbia (UBC), Vancouver, Canada in 2003.

Prior to her Master´s studies, Ms. Zhao had worked at Nokia, China, as a telecommunication engineer for five years where she gained extensive industry experience by implementing and technical-supporting some of the largest mobile telecommunication networks in the world.

Upon her graduation from UBC, Ms. Zhao embarked on her career in intellectual property at UBC´s University-Industry Liaison Office. At this office she was engaged in the assessment, protection, and commercialisation of the inventions originating from UBC, one of the largest research universities in North America. Through her work at this office Ms. Zhao gained valuable experience in U.S. and Canadian patent laws.

Ms. Zhao started practicing European patent law following her move to Germany in 2005. She was admitted to the Bar of European Patent Attorneys in 2010 following several years of professional training at a renowned intellectual property law firm in Munich, Germany.

Ms. Zhao specialises in patent prosecution in Europe as well as in China, particularly in the fields of electrical engineering, electronics, computer-related inventions, telecommunications, and mechanical engineering. Her professional activities also include patent opposition, invalidation, infringement, and expert-opinion.

Ms. Zhao is fluent in English, Chinese, and German.

Michael Schmid

Master´s degree in Electrical Engineering
European Patent and Trademark Attorney
German Patent and Trademark Attorney
US Patent Agent
Foreign Legal Consultant
(Registered with State Bar of California)

Michael Schmid studied Electrical Engineering at the Friedrich-Alexander University of Erlangen-Nuremberg in Germany and the University of British Columbia, in Vancouver, Canada. He obtained his Master´s degree in Electrical Engineering in 2003.

Immediately after his graduation, Mr. Schmid started his career in intellectual property. After having worked with a well known intellectual property law firm in Munich for a few years, he qualified as a German Patent and Trademark Attorney as well as a European Patent and Trademark Attorney in 2008.

Mr. Schmid advises clients on all kinds of legal matters concerning European and German intellectual property laws. He has a special interest and extensive practical experience in patent litigation and IP due diligence. In the recent years Mr. Schmid has represented and assisted several international clients in a series of patent infringement and invalidation proceedings in Germany.

Mr. Schmid specializes in electrical engineering, particularly telecommunications, high frequency technologies, radio technologies, and analog and digital circuit technologies. He is also competent in prosecuting patent applications in mechanical engineering and physics.

Mr. Schmid is fluent in German and English; he also has a basic knowledge of Chinese.

Dr. Claudia Vorbach

Dr. rer. nat., Dipl.-Biol. (Genetics)
German Patent Counsel

Dr. Vorbach studied biology and geology at the Eberhard -Karls University of Tübingen (Germany), at the Northern-Arizona University (USA), at the University of Utah (USA), and at the University of Toronto (Canada).

She did her Master’s thesis in developmental genetics (Xenopus, Drosophila) at the Friedrich-Miescher-Laboratory of the Max-Planck-Society in Tübingen (Germany) and her PhD research in mouse genetics (knock-out mice) at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Salt Lake City, Utah (USA), in the laboratory of the Nobel prize winner Mario Capecchi. Subsequently, she conducted postdoctoral research at the Ontario Cancer Institute in Toronto (Canada) as well as the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology in Vienna (Austria).

Before starting her career in intellectual property, Dr. Vorbach gathered several years of industry experience by working for an international pharmaceutical company and for an international medical device company.

In 2009 Dr. Vorbach joined a a renowned intellectual property law firm in Munich, Germany to start her professional training towards German Patent Counsel. Apart from intensive on-the-job training under guidance of well qualified German and European patent attorneys, Dr. Vorbach undertook the two-year distance program of “Laws for German Patent Attorneys” offered by the University of Hagen, Germany, followed by a period of legal training at the German Patent and Trademark Office (DPMA) as well as at the Federal Patent Court of Germany (BPatG), both in Munich.

Dr. Vorbach qualified as a German Patent Assessor in 2013.

Dr. Claudia Vorbach specializes in patent prosecution in various fields of biology (molecular biology, biotechnology, cell biology, genetics, immunology, botany, zoology) as well as in pharmacy, medical technologies, chemistry, and mechanics.

Dr. Vorbach is fluent in German and English, and has good knowledge of French and Spanish.

Lead Paralegal

Bettina Knier

Lead Paralegal

Dr. Jia Du

M. jur, Dr. jur
Master of Business Administration
Bachelor of Law

Dr. Jia Du is one of the earliest professionals from mainland China who are engaged in judicial study and legal profession in Germany. Up to now she has been studying and working in Germany for nearly 30 years. Dr. Du is highly experienced in assisting clients with various problems encountered in transnational business concerning mainland China and Germany, especially in the following areas related to both countries: international private law, international civil procedure law, company law, contract law, real estate law, immigration law, and trademark law.

Dr. Du received her degree of Bachelor of Law with honours from Guizhou University and Sun Yat-sen University (Zhongshan University) in China. Thereafter, she pursued further education at Trier University in Germany, where she concentrated on the study and research in international private law, international civil procedure law, and international legal disputes and was awarded the degrees of Master of Laws and Doctor of Laws in 1989 and 2001 respectively. From 2001 to 2002 Dr. Du studied at the Bavaria International Trade Research Institute in Munich Germany (Bayerische Akademie für Außenwirtschaft e.V. München) and obtained her Master´s degree in Business Administration.

Between her master’s study and doctor’s study, Dr. Du undertook law research for several years in the Center of Jurisprudence Research of University Karlsruhe, Germany. After having completed her studies Dr. Du worked for several German companies, including Roland Berger Strategy Consultants, where she assisted business clients by conducting market survey, designing investment plans, and providing relevant legal advice regarding doing business in China as well as in Germany.

Presently, Dr. Du continues her professional career with ProI Patent and Trademark Attorneys by offering clients consulting services relating to business establishment and general intellectual-property legal issues in China and in Germany. Her consulting activities focus on the following aspects: company formation, commercial contract drafting and negotiation, intellectual property due diligence, trademark registration in China, Germany, and the European Union.

Dr. Du is fluent in German, Chinese and English.

Senior Paralegal

Anna-Lisa Kutter

Senior Paralegal
Annuity Department Manager

Chinese Patent Attorney

Li Du (Richard)

Bachelor of Applied Physics
Chinese Patent Attorney

Manuel Joswig

Master of Science in Computer Science (expected)
Patent Engineer

Senior Paralegal

Yvonne Ting

Senior Paralegal (US, EP, CN)
Bachelor of English

US Office Manager

Philipp van Dijk

US Office Manager

Senior Paralegal

Elisabeth van Dijk

Senior Paralegal

Manager, Finance and Accounting

Phoebe Zhao

Manager, Finance and Accounting


Junxia Bu


Xuefei Bian

Bachelor of Management