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IT and telecoms

Brodies LLP is noted for its ‘expert advice and high level of partner involvement’. The practice has extensive expertise covering procurement agreements and disputes, bespoke software development and licensing matters. Martin Sloan is ‘very good on technical IT and data protection matters’; he advised Tesco Bank on its high-value telephony contract with Vodafone. Grant Campbell is also recommended.

CMS’ track record includes advising on eight-figure government IT projects, software supply agreements and complex outsourcing schemes. Laurence Ward advised DHL on a review of its use of open-source software, and Alan Nelson is acting for a community broadband project in the Argyll Islands.

DLA Piper Scotland LLP advises public and private sector entities on IT procurement, with particular strength in public services, banking and the energy sector. John McKinlay is ‘easy to work with; commercial and very bright’. Callum Sinclair is also recommended.

Pinsent Masons LLP is singled out for its ‘very good balance between legal knowledge and commercial acumen’. The firm advises buyers in big-ticket procurements of banking software, data storage and printing systems. Practice head Yvonne Dunn is ‘commercial and pragmatic’, and Joanne Stewart is ‘a very good senior associate’. Clients include Nucleus Financial Services and Legal & General.

Shepherd and Wedderburn attracts praise for its ‘solid telecoms know-how’. John MacKenzie and practice head Gordon Moir advised the European Competitive Telecoms Association on the Orange Polska EU competition law case. Other mandates relate to IT procurements and disputes. Clients also include the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and well-known telecoms companies.

Burness Paull LLP is ‘very attentive to clients’ needs’, and is regularly called on to advise on software licensing, outsourcing and development projects. Colin Hulme’s work includes source code disputes, while David Goodbrand advised the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants on the acquisition of a new customer relationship management system.

Harper Macleod LLP advises procurers and bidders in government IT and broadcast infrastructure tenders. James MacGregor advised Webhelp on the provision of call centre customer services to Shop Direct.

Maclay Murray & Spens LLP advises businesses on the procurement of critical IT facilities. Alison Bryce’s clients include Peppermint Technology and The Edrington Group. Ross Nicol is also recommended.

MacRoberts LLP’s track record includes advice on public and private sector IT procurement mandates. David Gourlay assisted Disclosure Scotland with an outsourcing arrangement. Also recommended are data protection and software licensing specialist Val Surgenor and David Flint, who leads the department.

Clients view Thorntons Law LLPas a strategic partner rather than a basic supplier’. In addition to work for universities, the firm advises technology companies on licensing their software and on bids for outsourcing contracts. Clients include Brightsolid and the University of Strathclyde. Practice head Liam McMonagle is ‘incredibly bright and direct’.

Intellectual property

Index of tables

  1. Intellectual property
  2. Leading individuals

Brodies LLP is ‘a go-to-firm for high-value business-critical issues’. Litigators Gill Grassie and Robert Buchan are recommended, as is Martin Sloan, who heads the non-contentious practice. Clients include major pharmaceutical companies and the Scotch Whisky Association.

Burness Paull LLP is particularly noted for its strength in contentious matters, with Colin Hulme singled out in this regard. David Goodbrand’s non-contentious work includes licensing arrangements in the sports, energy and life sciences sectors. Clients include Sky and the Harris Tweed Authority.

Pinsent Masons LLP’s ‘pragmatic and solutions-focused’ IP practice handles contentious and non-contentious matters including licensing agreements and spin-outs. Jim Cormack is representing the Falklands government in a complex, high-value copyright case before the local courts. Legal director George Campbell, who advises Tunnock’s, is ‘very approachable and great to work with’. Chris Martin regularly handles biosciences-related IP matters.

Shepherd and Wedderburn is ‘a pleasure to work with’. Paul Carlyle has ‘wide knowledge and a good network of contacts worldwide’; he advised The R&A on its rebrand of The Open. Joanna Boag-Thomson is advising Winduna on licensing a television adaptation of the Winnie the Witch books.

CMS’ practice has a strong track record of advising universities on IP issues regarding investments into bioscience spin-off companies. Carina Healy advised UCL Business on a significant investment into a gene therapy spin-out. Laurence Ward advises the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre on sponsorship agreements.

DLA Piper Scotland LLP advises household-name businesses and bleeding-edge bioscience companies on non-contentious matters. Callum Sinclair advised Skyscanner on maintaining its trade mark and domain name portfolio. Practice head John McKinlay regularly handles life sciences matters.

Harper Macleod LLP’s work includes patent transactions and trade mark litigation involving well-known brands. Jamie Watt routinely acts for Celtic FC in defending the club’s trade marks from infringing merchandise.

Maclay Murray & Spens LLP advises on trade mark and patent matters in sectors including the medical, entertainment and food industries. Ross Nicol assisted Ennismore International Management with the acquisition of the Gleneagles brand. Litigator Susan Snedden is ‘prepared to go the extra mile’.

Anderson Strathern advises on contentious and non-contentious trade mark matters. Katrina Lumsdaine and new recruit Douglas McLachlan (who joined from DWF) are representing Taylor Bowls in a cross-border dispute. Practice head Simon Brown’s clients include STV.

DWF’s practice is led by Colin Miller and attracts praise for its ‘high degree of expertise’. It handles a range of trade mark, software copyright and passing-off disputes for clients including Kwik Fit, which the firm advised on the creation of an Italian franchise.

Lindsays has a track record of advising a range of universities and start-ups on patent licensing. Brent Haywood joined from DWF and is recommended alongside David Wood, who heads the corporate and technology practice.

MacRoberts LLP handles a range of trade mark and patent licensing and transactional matters. David Gourlay advised Kames Capital on its rebranding from AEGON Asset Management. Val Surgenor is also recommended.

Thorntons Law LLP handles contentious and non-contentious IP matters. Lesley Larg advised The Hutton Institute on plant variety rights as part of a merger of two of its subsidiaries.

BTO Solicitors LLP advises on commercialisation agreements and design rights litigation. Paul Motion represented The Door Company in a web domain dispute.

At Bonaccord, Patricia Barclay advises a range of bioscience companies on IP challenges regarding clinical trials and technology transfers.

In addition to registration of trade marks, Morton Fraser’s Austin Flynn’s work includes patent and trade mark litigation. Clients include retail, hospitality and public sector entities.

Media and entertainment

Burness Paull’s practice handles a range of defamation matters relating to traditional and social media. Philip Rodney is representing the BBC in challenges to reporting restrictions, and Grant Stevenson advised ACF Sports Promotions on Sir Alex Ferguson’s participation in a documentary.

Pinsent Masons LLP advises on film investments and privacy matters. Yvonne Dunn advised Creative Scotland on investments in several films and television programmes, including the BBC’s Stonemouth. Jim Cormack’s work includes sensitive privacy issues.

At Brodies LLP, Christine O’Neill advises the BBC on defamation and contempt of court matters, and Robert Buchan advises on footage usage rights and online reputation management.

Thorntons Law LLP advises publishers, bands and video game developers on a range of intellectual property and related matters. Lesley Larg and Liam McMonagle are key contacts. Clients include DC Thomson.

Anderson Strathern attracts praise for its ‘excellent, insightful and considered advice, even under time pressure’. Simon Brown has particular expertise in literary pre-publication advice.

Bannatyne Kirkwood France & Co’s work includes advising publishers and broadcasters on defamation issues. Campbell Deane is the key partner.

At BTO Solicitors LLPPaul Motion advises claimants on defamation matters regarding social and traditional media, as well as on press regulation issues.

Maclay Murray & Spens LLP’s Ewan Easton is advising the BBC on issues arising from the reporting the tax difficulties of former Rangers owner Sir David Murray. Other clients include the Edinburgh International Festival.


Index of tables

  1. Sport
  2. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

In addition to having ‘excellent expertise in sports disciplinary issues’, Harper Macleod LLP handles a range of sports-related commercial, governance and safeguarding matters. Bruce Caldow represents Scottish Rugby Union players in disciplinary matters and is recommended alongside practice head Rod McKenzie.

BTO Solicitors LLP’s work includes regulatory matters, event hosting agreements and governance-related issues. Andrew Sleigh advised on the merger of the Scottish Golf Union and Scottish Ladies’ Golfing Association. Other clients include the Scottish Football Association.

Burness Paullknows its clients’ needs in the sports sector’. Colin Hulme ‘is a man that can be turned to in any crisis’; he is acting for the Scottish Football Association in several judicial review cases brought by Rangers FC part-owner Mike Ashley. Other recent mandates relate to sponsorship and disciplinary matters.

Anderson Strathern has ‘invaluably broad and deep expertise in sports law’. John Kerr’s ‘sensible and pragmatic advice makes processes smoother’; his work includes governance restructures and partnership agreements. Clients include Badminton Scotland.

DWF regularly acts in arbitrated disputes between sports entities, and advises on employment issues and event hosting contracts. Paul Pignatelli advised Partick Thistle Football Club on its restructuring. Alasdair Peacock is advising EventScotland on hosting the 2019 Solheim Cup.

HBJ Gateley’s Simon Catto represents football clubs and players in a range of disciplinary matters, as well as arbitrated commercial disputes.

Morton Fraser advises governing bodies on charity law and athletes on HR matters. Practice head Iain Young was promoted to partner in 2015.

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