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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In the United Kingdon, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for eight years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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United Kingdom > South East > TMT (technology, media and telecoms) > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



IT and telecoms

Index of tables

  1. IT and telecoms
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which IT and telecoms clients in South East using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact


Bond Dickinson LLP’s ‘ability to marry conventional legal skills with industry specific knowledge is impressive and vital for clients’. The financial services, insurance, retail and public sectors are core strengths of the firm, which counts B&Q, New Look, the Ministry of Justice and MS Amlin as clients. Managing associate Ben Gibson provides a ‘measured and detailed service’ and advises Historic England and English Heritage, together with practice head Julian Hamblin, on a range of IT procurements. Through its IT division (Kingfisher Information Technology Services UK), Kingfisher has instructed Hamblin on unifying its infrastructure and processes to enhance its European digital operations; this is a major project and thus far, the firm’s workload has included advising on agreements with Tata Consultancy Services. Another significant mandate saw the practice assist hibu (UK) with procuring SAP’s SAP Cloud for Customer platform. Litigator Andrew Parsons is recommended for technology disputes and is defending Post Office against claims brought by former and current sub-postmasters, who allege that the company wrongfully recovered debts or prosecuted them based on unreliable information provided by its IT system, Horizon. Data protection and e-commerce expert Andrew Kimble is also recommended for matters such as outsourcing, data licensing and freedom of information.

An excellent firm with high standards of service’, Boyes Turner advises on software as a service (SaaS), digital media and supply chain management systems, as well as handling IT disputes, where senior associate Rowan Turrall is a key contact. Mark Blunden leads the commercial and technology practice and assisted Bullitt Group with designing, manufacturing and launching the Kodak Ektra Smartphone in multiple countries through web stores, which saw the firm assist with original design manufacturer agreements and the functionality of web store transactions. Blunden is also advising Virtualstock on partnering agreements with NHS Shared Business Services (SBS) to implement the company’s SaaS platform, which will optimise supply chains and provide a procure-to-pay solution for NHS trusts, and Bill Gornall-King is assisting Cyance with a software development agreement for its main platform. The ‘commercially mindedSarah Williamson was promoted to partner and is handling technical agreements for Auto Trader relating to establishing a new dealer finance product. Genesys, Ricoh and Displaydata are also clients.

At DMH Stallard LLP, John Yates advises on a wide array of non-contentious matters and was instructed by the shareholders of Brightwave Holdings to advise on IT contracts and IP rights, as part of its sale of shares to Capita. The practice also provides ongoing advice to OCSL on fast-growth managed services and cloud business across its IT service lines, and assists Friday Media Group with software licensing, disputes and terms of business, among other matters. Dividing his time between London and Brighton, senior litigation partner Tim Ashdown experience includes High Court and Court of Appeal cases concerning IP, complex IT systems and databases. On the non-contentious side, Ashdown handles numerous matters for Ampito, including advising its group company Amvima on master service agreements, installing mobile device management software, selling airtime agreements and software licensing. In 2017, the firm merged with Rawlison Butler LLP.

At Pitmans LLP, corporate and commercial partner Philip Weaver heads non-contentious IT and telecoms work, and recently advised 360Globalnet on an investment made by Computer Sciences Corporation (now known as DXC Technology). The advisory side of the practice was bolstered when legal adviser Marie Evrard joined from CTIL, bringing expertise in data protection compliance, software and master services agreements, among other matters. Department head Tim Clark and Phil Smith are the primary contacts for contentious matters and, together, they represented Xma in High Court proceedings relating to a claim brought by InTechnology, which alleged that it had a sub-contract with the defendant for the providing a managed backup service, despite Xma’s termination of the main agreement. Noble Systems UK, Sky and HUMAX Electronics are other clients.

At Shoosmiths LLP, Robin Webb relocated to the Milton Keynes office and leads the firm’s specialist automotive sector team; he recently advised Peugeot Motor Company on a major e-commerce project, which enables customers to order new Peugeot and DS-branded cars online and apply for finance and the part exchange of vehicles. Webb also stands out financial services work and assisted Dealflo with outsourcing its end-to-end financial agreement automation software solution to Prudential. Ongoing highlights for Sebastian Price include assisting Transport Systems Catapult with various technology contracts for a tender process and advising on new engine test cells for Millbrook Proving Ground. Datix and Ann Summers are also clients of the practice, which is singled out for its ‘excellent’ and ‘professional service’. Other names to note include Anastasia Fowle and publishing and digital media expert Laurence Kaye, who became a consultant.

Noted for its ‘commercial and collaborative approach’, Stevens & Bolton LLP excels in the insurance, drinks and pharmaceutical sectors. The ‘very personableBeverley Flynn is ‘an expert in her field’, who is advising UK Medicines Verification Organisation (UKMVO) on implementing a UK medicine hub; advice has included system maintenance and appointing an IT supplier. Practice head Beverley Whittaker, Gary Parnell, who leads the technology and media team, and up-and-coming senior associate Oliver Kidd have been handling a range of work for TGI Fridays, including advising on data sharing arrangements and payment apps. Parnell also assists Staffcare with contracts to supply the Staffcare personal benefits online platform to its clients. Vision Asset Management is another client. Senior associate Charles Maurice arrived from Macfarlanes LLP and is adept in technology outsourcing, data protection and e-commerce issues, among other matters.

At ‘excellent’ technology firm White & Black Limited, practice head Phil Thompson is known for his ‘very broad knowledge and experience’. His team has ‘always shown a truly professional attitude’ and the firm’s clients include RAC and Virgin Active. Fluent Japanese speaker Nick Mathys has ‘extensive experience’ and leads the Japan practice, which assisted companies from a range of sectors with cross-border data transfer compliance, e-privacy matters and complying with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that will take effect in 2018. The ‘responsive, pragmatic, commercial and knowledgeable’ Matt Johnston joined from Harrison Clark Rickerbys and is advising a hospitality sector company on re-tendering its outsourcing arrangement.

asb law LLP is highly recommended for travel and aviation-related technology work, advising clients such as The Travel Network Group, Secret Escapes and TravelLocal. Outside, this sector, the firm acts for Ascom Wireless Solutions and new client Canon UK. Practice head Debbie Venn is retained by Sunrise Software for software licensing and contractual matters, and recent mandates include handling data protection pertaining to the transferring of data to a cloud, breach of contract disputes and cyber security work. Venn also provides ongoing advice to 15below on contracts relating to licensing the use of its PASNGR as a SaaS service, among other matters. Associate Nicola Billen leads the insurance and risk management team and has expertise in various commercial disputes.

The main contact at Birketts LLP is Nigel Thompson, who has particular expertise in software and product licensing. Thompson is advising software company Commcise on supplying the Commcise Buy solution to BNP Paribas, which will run across its global offices. Other work highlights for the firm included advising Freedman Electronics on acquiring SoundField and assisting Blancco with data cleansing and security software following the sale of a substantial part of its business. Clients also include Sequel Business Solutions and Elektron Technology. Senior associate Andrea Curtis is highly recommended for e-commerce and IP-related mandates.

Blake Morgan LLP is adept at handling M&A and capital markets work in the technology sector; for example, senior associate Elisabeth Bell and London-based Martin Kay advised Osirium Technologies on its £8.8m AIM IPO. Singled out for IT contracts, key contact Sheilah Mackie advised Flight Data Services (FDS) on its collaboration and data sharing agreement with the International Air Transport Association to deliver a solution that uses FDS’ POLARIS platform. In other work highlights, associate Mathew Wilson handled Cubic Corporation and Cubic Defence UK’s acquisition of Vocality International and its subsidiaries, which included IP advice relating to open source software. The extensive client list also includes BAE Systems, Nokia and IBM. Alison Patten-Hall heads the commercial team and is highly regarded with IP practice head Jill Bainbridge, who is the primary contact for IP and IT disputes pertaining to database right infringements, contract issues and other matters.

With ‘the strength and patience to drive through complex negotiations’, Clyde & Co LLP’s Mark Williamson ‘has unparalleled attention detail’. He is renowned for cutting-edge insurance work and recently advised Chubb on its first robotic automation project and arrangements with Syntel relating to the use of artificial intelligence software. AmTrust Financial Services – a recent addition to the client roster – instructed the firm to handle IT transitional services arrangements following its acquisition of Genworth Financial Insurance’s European mortgage insurance business; and another client gain, Vennersys, retained the firm during the roll-out of its ticketing and electronic point of sale solution to retailers as a SaaS. Other mandates for the practice included outsourcing, large-scale data analytics projects and making company operations paperless.

Customers and suppliers instruct Cripps LLP in an array of matters, involving data protection, commercial contract, cloud computing and software development issues. As well as heading the commercial practice, Pete Kenyon also leads the advertising technology and media sector group, and advised Optomany on agreements with a payment services provider, which intended to use the client’s payment processing technology in relation to re-routing and authorising card transactions. Recently promoted partner Kathryn Rogers is another key figure alongside Irfan Baluch, who handles contracts with blue-chip clients for iiPay, with an emphasis on implementing the company’s software platform. Holiday Extras is advised on API licenses, white label matters, outsourcing IT personnel and service agreements for its technology platform. Other clients include RDT and South East Water.

Irwin Mitchell acts for an increasing number of fast-growth tech companies such as Uniplaces, Gradian Systems and LzLabs. Daniel Hedley, who is ‘extremely commercial and very well placed to understand complex software licencing deals and the technology underpinning them’, was made up to partner and is advising LzLabs on commercial contracts and software licensing matters, including partnership agreements with major players such as Red Hat and Microsoft. Practice head Stuart Padgham joined as part of the firm’s recent merger with Thomas Eggar Solicitors and, together with Hedley, assisted Saga with IT procurement projects. In other work, Flockk instructed Kim Walker on a variety of mandates relating to launching its app. Litigator Sarah Birkbeck is recommended for IP and IT disputes.

SMART Technologies, Redwood Technologies Group and Wirecard are among the clients of Osborne Clarke’s ‘outstanding’ team. Robert Wood and practice head Russell Bowyer, who is ‘a pleasure to work with’, advised Tantalum Corporation on selling its tracker telematic software division to Movil Analytics, which included advice on software licensing and hardware supply agreements. Bowyer is also handling several matters for Vodafone’s Internet in the Car project and assists the company with consumer law and credit issues for its Bring Your Own Device service, which is being rolled out across Europe and will enable the employees of Vodafone’s corporate clients to use their mobiles for work and personal calls. Jeffrey Chang was promoted to partner and handled Tech Mahindra’s acquisition of fintech company Target Group. Peter Sheppard is highly recommended for technology litigation concerning a variety of matters, ranging from cross-border IT implementation disputes to breach of warranty claims. Senior associate Tilly Clarke is now with Blanchards Bailey LLP.

Penningtons Manches LLP is recommended for handling technology transactions and cross-border hi-tech manufacturing agreements, among other matters. Splitting her time between Basingstoke and Reading, Joanne Vengadesan has been advising BluepointLondon on its SmartCity project to invest £100m in upgrading London’s electric vehicle point infrastructure, which saw the firm negotiate contracts with London boroughs, airports, supermarkets and other partners of the scheme. The firm also advised Rezatec on UK Space Agency terms, agreements with collaborators concerning software, data licensing and IP matters relating to a UK Space Agency project it won on behalf of a consortium of bidders. Tectrade, Sapienza Consulting and Points Align are other clients. The practice is now led by London-based Anna Frankum and Oxford partner Chris Shelley following Sam De Silva’s departure to Nabarro LLP (now CMS).

Clarke Willmott LLP has been advising a major retailer on matters such as data protection and privacy, software development agreements and online card processing arrangements. Chidem Aliss and senior associate Amy Kerr ‘cut straight to the commercial realities and do not waste time on unnecessary legal arguments’, and the latter recently joined from Coffin Mew LLP. The duo advised the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) on its joint venture with the British Council for the provision of global examination administration services to the ACCA for computer-based exams. Aliss also advised Florist Up My Street on customer facing and partner terms with participating florists, while Kelvin Balmont handled Onecom’s acquisition of evolve telecom and assists the company with commercial and technology contracts. Organix, The Student Room and Cognia Cloud are additional clients.

The ‘phenomenal’ Mark O'Halloran is singled out at Coffin Mew LLP for his ‘unique mix of deep legal knowledge, which combines with a pragmatic approach’. He handled font protection and developed a licensing model on behalf of Wessex Technology Opto-Electronic Products, which was used to bring its Countermark system to market in 2017. MWR InfoSecurity and Pirean are other clients. The firm is an ‘asset’ to clients, providing ‘excellent service’ in all manner of work, including procurement, system development and IT consultancy contracts.

Dentons provides advice to start-ups and suppliers from the technology and media sectors, and also acts for household names such as Argos. Data protection, e-privacy and cyber security are among key strengths of the practice, which has been advising Homebase on a telecoms contract with Telefónica and on privacy, cookie policies and other compliance matters regarding the launch of Bunnings Warehouse’s website. Andrew Harris is managing partner of the Milton Keynes office and heads the practice with counsel Chris White, whose recent workload included advising on distribution agreements, software contracts and establishing online portals. Associates Rukia Khatun and Esther Rusling are other key figures.

At EMW Law LLP, the ‘exceptional’ Matthew Holman made principal and heads the technology practice, utilising his ‘very strong technical knowledge’. The firm is advising new client Managed 24/7 on its next generation technology contracts. In other work, James Geary and Holman assisted Rightmove with acquiring a boutique emerging technology company and advise on data protection and new terms of use for its website and mobile app. Clients such as workSMART and Bodystreet also instruct the firm, which is praised for providing ‘sound’ advice.

The ‘high-quality’ practice at Moore Blatch LLP handles IT supply and services contracts, outsourcing, and matters arising out of corporate transactions, among other work. Dorothy Agnew is advising longstanding client Bytes Software Services on contracts relating to the provision of third-party cloud technology and software to its clients, while ‘sound adviserJohn Warchus and corporate partner Peter Jeffery advised the management at Ardbid on several matters connected to the £57m sale of Trustmarque Solutions to Capita, which included transitional IT service agreements and negotiating terms. On the disputes side, the firm has experience in technology, software development and breach of contract matters. Atmel Corporation, GFG Education and babylon are also clients.

Paris Smith LLP’s team is led by Laura Trapnell and Crispin Dick. The practice is advising an insurance company on a tender to appoint a new third-party software developer that will implement a new IT infrastructure, and it also assisted a healthcare sector company with a development agreement for its international mobile app. Clients also include Corintech, International Rail and Lawton Communications Group.

Kevin Sullivan stands out for fintech mandates at Warners Solicitors, where his recent workload included advising on agreements to license software for payment processing and managing data for large banks. The firm is also handling a copyright and database right infringement dispute for a healthcare sector company. Barilla Holding and 21st Century Technology are also clients.

Barlow Robbins LLP is recommended for outsourcing, data protection, e-commerce, software, cloud computing and hosting matters. Advising OLM Systems on a software and system support agreement with ACCESS LLP was a highlight for ‘very knowledgeable and thorough’ of counsel Laurie Heizler, who also handled a hosting agreement with Devon County Council for the company. Other work saw Heizler advise Volume on a contract to provide cognitive technology solutions to its clients.

Brethertons LLP’s Brian Auld handles IP-related matters for companies from industries such as education, retail, healthtech and IT. The firm advised on ownership pertaining to the design, development and licensing of software, and other mandates included freedom of information and portal procurement matters.

Led by Cathrine Ripley, Field Seymour Parkes LLP’s IT and telecoms work spans industries such as pharmaceuticals, education, marketing and leisure. The practice recently advised an education sector company on amending its software agreement, and handled distribution and reseller agreements for a media technology company. Senior associate Bettina Phillis joined from Reliance High-Tech and heads the firm’s sports team.

IBB (Iliffes Booth Bennett) has been advising on data protection, IT infrastructure development, SaaS agreements and telecoms contracts. Solicitor Bharti Moore is recommended and has experience in handling terms and conditions for websites. Former practice head Chris Hayes joined Lewis Silkin LLP.

With ‘a solid technical background in software and a detailed knowledge of the relevant law’, Moorcrofts LLP’s chief executive Andrew Katz is often retained in open source licensing, open hardware, data protection amd contract work, among other matters. ‘Excellent associate’ Katie Osborne is another name to note. The firm assisted GraphAware with open source licensing and commercial work, and continues to advise BenevolentAI on licensing and IP matters, and Google subsidiary Apigee on GDPR compliance. Pentangle Internet, Questionmark and Pentaho are also clients.

Intellectual property

Index of tables

  1. Intellectual property
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Hall of Fame

  1. 1

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Intellectual property clients in South East using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact


The team at Boyes Turner provides ‘expert advice’ in IP disputes, the exploitation of IP rights, and the protection and commercialisation of brands. Electronics and IT sector expert Bill Gornall-King heads the practice and provides ongoing advice to Red Fox ID; thus far, his work has included patent licensing and IP rights protection pertaining to launching new software products and services. The data elements of IP are a further strength of Gornall-King, who is handling copyright and database rights protection for Accelya Holding World. Recently promoted partner Sarah Williamson is bringing a European trade mark opposition action against a US company on behalf of a high-profile jeweller, and Mark Blunden provides ongoing advice to Bullitt Group on patent licensing and preventing patent troll claims. Senior associate Stephen Baker is well respected for litigation and has been representing real estate and IT sector companies in parallel import and trade mark invalidation cases. Other clients include Auto Trader, Pentax and the Chartered Institute of Journalists.

A standout firm for disputes, DMH Stallard LLPgets the best possible results for its clients’ in brand and IP right enforcement actions. Dividing his time between London and Brighton, senior litigation partner and practice head Tim Ashdown has ‘long experience in his field’ and is representing Havaianas – a brand owned by the firm’s client Alpargatas – in numerous infringement and parallel import cases in the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court and High Court. Robert Ganpatsingh is also recommended for contentious matters, including unregistered design rights, copyright and passing off claims, and recently promoted senior associate Sarah Cook is ‘a clear thinker, who is able to identify the real issues in a case’. John Yates handles non-contentious matters and advised Premier Medical Holdings on trade mark licensing during its acquisition of Capita Medical Reporting from Capita plc. Arcadia, Gusto Telecom Solutions and SECRETSALES are also clients. In 2017, the firm merged with Rawlison Butler LLP.

EMW Law LLP excels in disputes relating to patents, industrial design and trade mark infringement. James Geary leads the practice with Mark Finn, who is acting for Ethypharm UK in bringing a parallel import and trade mark infringement action against Star Pharmaceuticals and Drugsrus. The firm is also handling an appeal on behalf of ATLAS ELEKTRONIK, relating to a patent invalidation action filed by Saab Seaeye. Recently promoted principal Matthew Holman advises Rightmove on IT matters as well as licensing and brand protection work. The experience of the team also extends to passing off, domain name matters and joint venture IP development agreements. Senior solicitor Felix Dodd joined from an in-house position at SThree.

Maier Blackburn LLP’s team has ‘a wealth of knowledge’ in the publishing sector and counts Oxford University Press, Portland Press and Simon & Schuster as clients. Outside this space, Marvel Entertainment and The Cochrane Collaboration also feature on the roster. The ‘pragmaticSteven Maier focuses on IP disputes and represented The Tolkien Estate in several matters, including filing a copyright infringement claim against a jeweller, who inscribed rings with a verse of Elvish script from The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and bringing action against Our Lady’s Abingdon regarding the release of two unpublished poems; the case went viral and the firm also took action against a number of media organisations. In other work, Hudson Shoe Agencies instructed Maier in filing a design infringement claim against fashion retailers based in France and the Netherlands in relation to an ankle boot for women. Cathleen Blackburn is ‘excellent’ for non-contentious work and has notable strength in international copyright and trade mark licensing work.

The team at Penningtons Manches LLP builds a ‘long-lasting, trusting and successful cooperation’ with its clients, which include Jimmy Choo, Vaccitech and IKEA. Retail sector expert Rachael Barber is a ‘standout star’ for litigation; she represented Bosch and its group companies in a trade mark and copyright infringement, domain name recovery and trade libel cases. On the non-contentious side, the firm has advised Bosch on patentable inventions and licensing matters. Trade mark specialist Gavin Stenton was promoted to partner and handled several mandates for Oxford United FC, including cross-border trade mark filing and portfolio management; defending against UK Intellectual Property Office opposition proceedings; and advising on brand protection following the club’s League One promotion. Life sciences, engineering and publishing sector expert Chris Shelley jointly heads the practice with London-based Anna Frankum, and advised Chronos Therapeutics on buying three pre-clinical programmes from a subsidiary of Shire, in which IP, know-how, development and marketing rights were acquired globally for programmes focused on addictive behaviours and fatigue in Multiple Sclerosis. Joanne Vengadesan, who splits her time between Basingstoke and Reading, is also highly regarded, as is associate Holly Strube, formerly of Boyes Turner. Another personnel change saw Sam De Silva depart for Nabarro LLP (now CMS).

Dividing his time between London and Milton Keynes, Shoosmiths LLP’s department head and retail expert Gary Assim is ‘a very skilled lawyer’, who is defending H&M in high-profile matters, including a breach of contract and patent infringement dispute with Stretchline Holdings regarding fusible yarn used in underwired brassieres. Mercedes-Benz retains Anastasia Fowle in brand protection mandates and she recently acted for the company in a dispute with another vehicle manufacturer, which used similar advertising and trade marks for a national campaign. Other key clients include TK Maxx and Red Bull Racing. Stuart Malcolm now works in-house at M Squared Lasers and Laurence Kaye became a consultant.

Stevens & Bolton LLPpunches well above its weight’ in all manner of work, including patent disputes, database rights and trade mark instructions. ‘Astute’ practice head Tom Lingard routinely acts for food and beverage sector companies in protecting, enforcing and exploiting their IP rights; he recently represented food manufacturer Bakkavor in a High Court misuse of confidential information case. In other work, he acted for Acro Aircraft Seating in filing a counterclaim to invalidate a patent following a dispute that had been brought by RECARO Aircraft Seating regarding the alleged infringement of its patents for a passenger aircraft seat. The ‘very strong’ and recently promoted partner Charlotte Tillett leads the life sciences group and has advised clients from this sector on patent infringements and licensing, copyright and a broad range of other matters. A fashion company also instructed Tillett to assist with licensing arrangements and its acquisition of an international trade mark portfolio. TGI Fridays and Cineworld also instruct the practice, as do SMEs and start-ups. Senior associate Elaine O'Hare is another name to note with technology, media and communications practice head Gary Parnell, who advises on IP-related matters concerning software solutions.

Blake Morgan LLP shines in brand protection matters; associate Ben Evans is a chartered trade mark attorney, who is advising Be Wiser Insurance on brand protection, IP right enforcement and its portfolio. With ‘carefully thought out advice’ and a ‘commercial approach’, practice head Jill Bainbridge, who also leads the trade mark prosecution team, is well regarded for cross-border work and has been retained by US practice Gluck Law Firm, P.C. to handle the UK aspects of a claim brought by the estate of Dash Snow against McDonald’s for allegedly reproducing the late artist’s work and graffiti signature in its restaurants. Bainbridge has also brought a trade mark infringement and passing off claim against Navigate Travel on behalf of Sail Week Croatia, which alleges that the defendant used the brand Sail Week in a sector that competed with its brand. Feelunique, Sutton and East Surrey Water, and Rapier Employment are other clients. Alison Patten-Hall and Sheilah Mackie are also recommended.

Osborne Clarke is highly regarded for IP heavy transactions and advised Oxford Photovoltaics Technology on IP rights protection and licensing arrangements. Practice head Russell Bowyer concentrates on non-contentious work and in a recent highlight, he advised Hyundai Motor UK on matters concerning its sponsorship of the UEFA European Football Championship, and continues to advise the company on trade mark and branding matters. In other work, the firm handled Pedigree Dolls & Toys’ re-launch of the Sindy doll under licence to Tesco in 2016. MetGen, The Book People and Cambridge Display Technology are additional clients of the group, which includes recently promoted senior associate Joanne Loveridge.

Modern and very professional’ boutique firm Palmer Biggs IP, Solicitors is ‘a one-stop shop for IP’, with an emphasis on trade marks, passing off, design and copyright disputes. Dawn Osborne is ‘a good litigator, who is very thorough and good at client management’, and senior partner and registered trade mark attorney Steve Palmer is ‘well known in the industry’. The firm acted for Abercrombie & Fitch in bringing a trade mark infringement and passing off action against an individual who sold counterfeit clothing online, and filed trade mark infringement and passing off claims against Technosport and an individual on behalf of BMW; the case is now subject to appeal. Leading fashion, footwear and luxury good companies such as Michael Kors, Nike, Tommy Hilfiger and various Richemont brands, including Cartier, Chloé and Montblanc, also instruct the firm.

Dedicated IP firm Sipara fields dual-qualified solicitors and trade mark attorneys including Rebecca Kaye and Robert Furneaux. The practice was particularly active in the retail sector, and recent highlights included registering a trade mark in China and establishing a new brand by acquiring a trade mark registration. Advising a publishing sector client on reclaiming brand ownership was another significant highlight for the practice.

At asb law LLP, practice head Debbie Venn has ‘a wealth of knowledge’, and handles trade mark and image right protection, among other matters, for Captive Minds. Solicitor Louise Bevan is another key figure, as is associate Nicola Billen, who is highly regarded for disputes concerning IP infringements and domain names. Clients include Pets Corner, Macro 4 and In2action, and the team now advises new client Canon UK on a range of matters, including protecting IP rights for licensing software and hardware.

BrookStreet des Roches’s Hugh Tebay has ‘outstanding legal acumen’ and is ‘highly trusted and very well respected’ for retail, franchising and technology sector work. In conjunction with senior associate Claire Jacques, Tebay advised SportPursuit on acquiring and licensing IP rights from two European companies. Toni & Guy, McDonald’s and GMDN Agency are also clients, as is Oxford Innovation, which was recently added to the roster.

Clarke Willmott LLP’s recent workload includes IP disputes, counterfeiting mandates and advising on IP rights and portfolios. Daniel Berry was made up to senior associate and is advising the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants on its trade mark and domain name portfolios. The firm also represented Organix in various matters, including trade mark opposition work and a dispute with a large food manufacturer pertaining to its use of a particular brand. Other clients include TOMY and Dixy Chicken. Manchester-based Roy Crozier now leads the practice following Paul Cox’s departure to Foot Anstey.

Pete Kenyon leads Cripps LLP’s practice and is often retained by software and online companies as well as businesses that focus on commercialising IP rights for their business models. Kenyon assists Holiday Extras with exploiting and protecting its IP rights, and recently handled IP licensing contracts with airport, airline and travel companies. Kathryn Rogers made partner and advises on annual license renewals and brand development for Coregeo; Irfan Baluch filed a copyright infringement and passing off claim on behalf of a global consultancy in the public sector against a Canadian company and a Dutch individual; and managing associate Joanna Ford is representing a designer, manufacturer and supplier of wristbands, lanyards and badges in a dispute with another wristband supplier, which allegedly infringed the claimant’s patent for wristbands and a locking mechanism. Will Charlesworth was promoted to senior associate and is also highly experienced.

White & Black Limited is a ‘superb choice’ for technology companies and also acts for clients from industries such as retail, food, life sciences and manufacturing. Praise abounds the lawyers too: recently promoted partner Victoria Wright is ‘client-focused and takes the time to ensure she understands the aims of her clients’; Nicholas Mitchell (also recently promoted) leads the contentious IT practice and ‘is a detail-focused lawyer’; and ‘outstanding lateral thinker’ Nick Mathys heads the Japan practice, standing out for his ‘amazing cross-cultural skills’. Following the sad passing of Henry Mendus, Mitchell remains the key contact for disputes with Wright, who acted in patent and design infringement actions, and various advertising cases. Recent highlights for Mathys included acquiring trade mark portfolios, advising on domain names and protecting IP rights, while ‘very approachable and commercially minded’ practice head Phil Thompson handled brand exploitation and the licensing of IP rights.

Barlow Robbins LLP is advising Volume on trade mark and copyright matters to protect its cutting-edge artificial intelligence software products, which are being launched in multiple jurisdictions. Vision Engineering also instructed of counsel Laurie Heizler regarding design rights, confidential information matters and manufacturing agreements relating to whether the company could produce and market a new design for ergonomic stereo microscopes. Fireproof Studios, Special Products and Kallo are also clients.

Blandy & Blandy LLP’s Joanne Frearsbrings an extremely high level of professionalism, clarity and structure’ to technology, biotech and creative sector mandates, covering patent infringements as well as the protection and exploitation of IP rights. A significant highlight saw Frears advise Holition on commercial agreements and licensing relating to augmented reality software, which involved IP ownership, US copyright and patent issues; the firm also handled the provision of a software interface and technology solution for internal image mapping on behalf of the company, which was used for the art installation Dress For Our Time. Practice head Debbie Brett advised on patents, IP rights protection and a collaboration agreement with a scientific research and testing organisation for a health and beauty product manufacturer in relation to developing a new product. Contentious work for the practice included passing off claims, trade mark infringements and patent disputes. Retail Marketing Group, CareerConnect and CreatorUp are additional clients.

Finance, healthcare and retail sector companies instructed Brethertons LLP’s Brian Auld in a broad range of mandates, including advising on domain names, copyright, distributing products under registered trade marks, and licensing IP and image rights. The firm’s extensive client list features education, technology and security sector companies.

The team at Coffin Mew LLP is ‘effective in achieving results’. The ‘extremely knowledgeable’ Mark O'Halloran heads the practice and has been advising Wessex Technology Opto-Electronic Products on font protection and a developing a licensing model, which was used to launch its Countermark system in 2017. Companies from industries such as hospitality and finance also retained the practice in a series of matters, including IP right validation, infringement actions and licensing work.

Led by Cathrine Ripley, Field Seymour Parkes LLP’s team has recently handled trade mark matters that arose out of corporate transactions and IP ownership work for food sector and social media clients. Media, manufacturing and marketing companies also feature on the extensive client list. Senior associate Bettina Phillis was a key hire from Reliance High-Tech and leads the firm’s sports practice.

At Howes Percival LLP, James Howarthensures that the client’s needs are kept in mind’ and excels in disputes concerning copyright, trade marks, patents, database rights and other IP rights. Obtaining a High Court interim injunction for FibreFab was a highlight, which saw the firm bring trade mark infringement and passing off claims against multiple defendants; the proceedings are ongoing. Publishing and manufacturing are also key sectors for the practice, which counts Lion Hudson, The Quarto Group and TAG Pipe as clients.

IBB (Iliffes Booth Bennett) has been handling patent, licensing and trade mark matters, among other work, for clients from diverse industries, ranging from healthcare to manufacturing. Corporate and commercial consultant David Clark, solicitor Bharti Moore and senior solicitor Rosie Brass are the key contacts following the departure of practice head Chris Hayes to Lewis Silkin LLP.

Irwin Mitchell’s Sarah Birkbeck is singled out for IP and IT disputes. However, on the advisory side, Kim Walker is the name to note for non-contentious work, including trade mark and design applications, licensing, brand protection and exploiting IP rights. The practice has experience in acting for companies from a range of sectors, including healthcare, media and retail.

Tristram Moore is ‘an outstanding commercial lawyer’ at Moore Law, where sector expertise spans the digital, media, technology, life sciences and retail industries. RocketRoute instructs the practice in trade mark registrations, cross-border licensing and a range of other matters; P1Vital and P1vital Products receive advice on IP protection and exploitation; and John Cullen Lighting turned to the team for registering a European trade mark, protecting IP in contracts with subcontractors, and handling trade mark infringement and passing off matters. Atomic Smash, Cloud21 and Technogym are also clients.

At Paris Smith LLP, ‘fierce litigator’ and ‘no-nonsense negotiator’ Laura Trapnell made partner and has ‘many years of experience’. In addition to handling unregistered design rights and passing off matters for manufacturing and real estate companies, the practice advises Hobbycraft Trading on its international registered design portfolio and also represented the company in a dispute with a Chinese supplier. The firm is also instructed by Southampton FC, Stannah and Meachers Global Logistics.

Spratt Endicott’s client list spans sectors such as distribution, software and technology. In addition to selling and acquiring IP rights, the firm has been handling the licensing of software and trade marks in other countries. Chairman and practice head John Spratt advises on the IP aspects of corporate transactions with Hitendra Patel, and associate Catherine O’Riordan is particularly strong in domain name and other IP matters that affect websites.

Kevin Sullivan advised fintech companies on software licensing, copyright, database ownership and commercial agreements at Warners Solicitors. Pharmaceutical, healthcare and energy companies instructed the practice in IP right infringements, breach of confidential information cases and other complex mandates. Barilla Holding, 21st Century Technology and FSI (FM Solutions) appear on the varied client list.

Media and entertainment

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Boyes Turner fields a specialist digital media team, which is led by recently promoted partner Sarah Williamson, who has ‘an incredible breadth of knowledge’ in data protection, brand licensing, digital advertising technology and commercial agreements, among other matters. The practice’s clients include Guardian News and Media, Hot Pickle and Auto Trader; the latter instructed Williamson on several high-profile matters, including advising on an agreement in relation to making a promotional film for Ferrari featuring Ben Collins, who appeared as The Stig on BBC’s Top Gear. Mark Blunden leads the commercial and technology practice, and assisted a US marketing company with an event to celebrate the release of a major film in Times Square. Content harvesting and commercialisation spanning traditional, online and mobile media outlets are among Blunden’s other strengths.

Cripps LLP has handled a number of corporate transactions and commercial contracts work for media, marketing and publishing companies. Nigel Stanford acted for DAC Group Europe in its £4.15m acquisition of Ambergreen Internet Marketing, and advised Local Planet on launching a privately owned international network of media agencies. Keesing Media Group and Samba Communications are other clients. Recently promoted partner Kathryn Rogers, Irfan Baluch, Salim Somjee and practice head Pete Kenyon are key figures in the practice, which is also adept in corporate reorganisations, data protection, IP work and various other matters.

Musicians, sportsmen and other high-profile private clients instruct Irwin Mitchell, and the firm’s recent merger with Thomas Eggar Solicitors‎ added practice head Stuart Padgham and associate Aurelia Butler-Ball; the duo advised Lady Leshurr on a series of lucrative contracts, including her signing to RCA Records and a brand deal with Converse. Sarah Birkbeck also joined through the merger with associate and sport expert Tom Barnard, who is representing Jessica Varnish in a British Cycling investigation and bringing counterclaims against the governing body concerning press and public relations exposure. Kim Walker and Birkbeck provide ongoing advice to The Conan Doyle Estate on global brand protection, licensing, trade mark applications and developing brand guidelines. Clients also include Lawton Communications Group and DK Music Management.

Publishing law is Maier Blackburn LLP’s forte and the firm’s recent matters included contractual mandates, IP issues and moral rights disputes. The ‘excellentCathleen Blackburn has been particularly active in copyright work with litigator Steven Maier, who acted for The Tolkien Estate in filing a copyright infringement claim against a jeweller relating to rings that had been inscribed with Elvish script from The Lord of the Rings trilogy; the firm also represented the estate in a high-profile dispute with Our Lady's Abingdon, which released two unpublished poems without permission. Agatha Christie Limited, DreamWorks Animation, Simon & Schuster and Marvel Entertainment are also clients.

Tom Lingard leads Stevens & Bolton LLP’s practice and is well regarded for publishing agreements, IP, defamation and a plethora of other mandates. Advising Ross Dickerson and his company DR Physique on copyright issues and a publication agreement with Misfits Publishing was a highlight for the practice, which is also acting for Dickerson in a dispute concerning the book’s publication. Lingard, together with senior associate Elaine O'Hare, also represented Belgian company BONJOUR in bringing a copyright infringement claim against freuds and Greater London Authority in relation to films made by the companies. Other mandates included trade mark infringements, license revocations and employment matters. Cineworld, Centaur Media and Nintendo UK are also clients.

Jill Bainbridge impresses with ‘excellent client care’ and leads Blake Morgan LLP’s practice, excelling in cross-border, social media, defamation and reputational management work. A recent highlight saw Bainbridge act for a national charity in a dispute with a former employee who breached a compromise agreement by making statements to an international journal, and representing QCR Recycling Equipment against a competitor that allegedly made repeated defamatory statements and malicious falsehood claims. The client list also includes the University of Winchester, Fuel Defend Global and private clients. Associate and chartered trade mark attorney Ben Evans is an ‘excellent lawyer, who understands client needs’.

The technology and media sectors are among Moore Law’s core industry strengths. Digiquip Group, Cactus Studios and Aptivate are key clients of the specialist commercial and IP firm, which is led by the ‘accomplished’ Tristram Moore, who ‘has a huge amount of experience’. The firm handled IP, web compliance and corporate matters for The Culture Space to develop its online media and ticketing platforms. Other areas of expertise include social media content management, royalty agreements, and copyright protection and exploitation.

At Shoosmiths LLP, London-based associate Sherif Malak is ‘a consummate professional, who clearly cares deeply about providing an excellent service’. Recent highlights included advising Estée Lauder on launching a retail messenger facility on Facebook’s messenger service, and assisting Euromonitor International with contracts for its online intelligence subscription service, Passport. YouGov, The White Company and GAME are additional clients of the practice, which is led nationally by Gary Assim from the London and Milton Keynes offices. Publishing and digital media expert Laurence Kaye became a consultant.


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Field Seymour Parkes LLP advises on the full gamut of sports-related issues including employment, real estate, licensing and corporate and regulatory matters. The team continues to advise longstanding client Reading Football Club on a range of issues, and also has substantial experience acting for golf, rowing, tennis and basketball teams, among others. Highlights included advising Berkshire Active on the corporate status and tax implications of several amateur sporting clubs including Sonning Tennis Club, Newbury Athletics Club and Thames Valley Kings Basketball; and acting for Wingpow Limited on the establishment of a national association for cheerleading. Managing partner Jeremy Parkes advises on large-scale corporate transactions, and senior associate Bettina Phillis heads the sports law team, advising on title rights, second-tier sponsorship deals and agency contacts, among other matters.

Rix & Kay Solicitors LLP’ ‘excellent’ team is praised for its ‘efficient service, strong advice and good value for money’. The firm advises a mix of grassroots clubs and high-profile sports personalities on the full spectrum of corporate, commercial, employment and property issues, and also has a strong track record in dispute resolution. The team regularly advises Active Sussex on various employment and volunteer-related matters, and recently assisted Ansty Village Centre Steering Committee with the establishment of a village centre and a charitable incorporated organisation, a matter involving the merging of a village hall, a social club, a cricket club and a football club into a new charitable organisation. Key figures include Bruce Hayter, who heads the team and advises on commercial and intellectual property issues; Richard Cripps, who specialises in sports sector corporate and M&A transactions; and Amy White, who provides ‘extremely competent, timely and professional’ advice.

Clients single out Irwin Mitchell as fielding ‘a standout practice for sports-related advice and dispute resolution’. The team ‘has a strong ability to cover all areas of the sector’. The firm’s client base includes a range of national and international governing bodies, sports clubs, funders and agents, and the team primarily advises on regulatory and governance issues, corporate finance and intellectual property. Highlights included advising Greenwich Leisure on a variety of commercial matters including bids for sports facility management contracts, planning and development issues, membership terms and conditions and data protection issues. The team also acted for Nuffield Health on its acquisition of the business and assets of CBT Services, a service providing cognitive behavioural therapy, which will be made available as part of Nuffield Health’s fitness and wellbeing gyms. Hannah Clipston heads the team, which includes Michael Taylor, who focuses on private client matters, and Stuart Padgham, who undertakes a range of commercial and IP work.

Highlights for Moore Law included advising Brighton & Hove Albion Football Club on a pouring and sponsorship rights agreement with major Sussex brewer Harveys; and acting for Fontwell Park Steeplechase on its hosting of the Mutiny Festival, a matter involving negotiation with festival organisers and festival landowners to protect the Fontwell facilities and track. It also advised Technogym UK on various new media, communication and privacy initiatives. Tristram Moore heads the boutique sports practice, and ‘continues to increase the firm’s relationships with sports clients through his sector knowledge and his ability to get the job done’. Other notable clients include The Sidemen, Trainerspotter and Joe Weller.

SA Law LLP specialises in advising Premiership and England-level footballers on various aspects of family law, and also acts for a range of other advisers including agents, IFAs and accountants on commercial law, contract negotiation, immigration and property investment issues. Key figures include practice head Robert Ryall, who has significant expertise in motor sports and football litigation, with a track record in disciplinary tribunals at both Premier League and Football League levels; Peter Goodman, who advises primarily on contract drafting and negotiation in the motor sports sector; and Steve Kenneford, a residential property expert who acts for a number of high-profile celebrity and sporting names on high-value property transactions. Belinda Walkinshaw joined Carbon Law Partners.

Stevens & Bolton LLP acts for a strong client base in the sports and leisure sectors, advising a mix of high-profile sports personalities, large corporates, clubs and start-ups on the full gamut of IP, commercial, corporate and employment matters. In a recent highlight, the group acted for German e-commerce group Jago in an online trade mark infringement matter involving its gym and fitness brand "Physionics", where the mark was used to sell a competitor’s products via the online platform Amazon. The team also advised an international online fitness blogger on a book publication agreement with Misfits Publishing, and assisted Knog in a UK-based registered design infringement matters. Intellectual property lawyer Tom Lingard heads the practice.

Verisona Law is noted for its expertise in the football sector, advising numerous clubs, associations and players on sports governance along with business and player matters. The group also assists with family wealth management, family law and property issues, and acts for clubs and club owners in transfer agreements, employment and HR matters, regulatory issues and IP, brand and data protection rights. Highlights included assisting Portsmouth FC with its transition to fan ownership, and advising Aldershot FC on its restructuring. Managing director Sue Ball is the key contact.

Warners Solicitors’ key areas of expertise include country and target sports, most notably game shooting, hunting, fishing and competitive and recreational riding. The team regularly advises Masters of Foxhounds Association on various issues including internal constitutional matters, disciplinary proceedings against hunt individuals and employment matters involving hunt staff. Other recent highlights include acting for J M Osborne & Co and William Powell Sporting in numerous legal issues, including the employment of gamekeepers and other staff on grouse moors, and criminal and regulatory issues involving shotguns, firearms and alleged wildlife crime. Michael McNally heads the department and specialises in employment litigation, acting primarily for hunts, shoots, landed estates and animal-related organisations. Tim Ryan is the other key figure, and has substantial expertise in criminal and regulatory law related to country sports.

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