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United Kingdom > South West > TMT (technology, media and telecoms) > Intellectual property > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

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  1. Intellectual property
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Who Represents Who

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Burges Salmon LLP advises Starbucks Corporation on its entire UK trade mark portfolio, including assisting with new UK trade mark applications, renewals and opposition proceedings, handling trade mark infringement, passing off and copyright issues arising in the UK involving unauthorised use of the company logo, and representing it on the seizure of counterfeit goods by HMRC and Trading Standards offices. Virgin Enterprises is another key client, and the team assists it with passing off and company name issues as well as domain name disputes and licensing arrangements. Helen Scott-Lawler advises the John Lewis Partnership on its IP licenses mandates with suppliers, trade mark infringement claims and branding matters. She also led a multidisciplinary team that advised the RAC on its acquisition of telematics provider Nebula. Jeremy Dickerson has ‘a sound commercial approach to litigation’. Scott-Lawler and Dickerson jointly lead the team, which also includes senior associates Georgina Shaw and Emily Roberts, who both specialise in contentious IP, and Chris Morris, who is a chartered trade mark attorney with particular expertise in opposition and contentious proceedings.

Ashfords LLP expanded its IP practice with the launch of a European patent attorney through its hire of Kaya Elkiner, who joined from Keltie in April 2016. Its case load features a mix of IP transactions, patent filing, opposition and portfolio management as well as copyright, design and trade mark infringement claims. Trade mark specialist Carl Steele, who is particularly ‘detail-focussed’, is advising Penhaligon's and L'artisan Parfumeur (both owned by Puig), on managing their worldwide trade mark and registered design portfolios, which included prosecuting over 100 trade mark applications and conducting trade mark oppositions and infringement disputes. With the support from Giles Lane, Steele is also representing the Roald Dahl Estate in a number of IP infringement cases against online retailers, hospitality businesses and educational workshop operators. The team is also assisting HelloFresh UK with the preparation of patent, registered design and trade mark application to protect innovations, and is acting for a global insurance company on opposing the use and registration of third party-owned trade marks. Firm chairman Mark Lomas heads the IP department, which also includes Tom Phipps who focuses on copyright, media and entertainment and franchising.

Osborne Clarke has ‘great strength across the team, displaying great technical knowledge while also delivering cost effective, sound and pragmatic advice’. It reshaped its practice when Clare Robinson was elevated to practice head following Emily Jones’ relocation to the firm’s Silicon Valley office. Leveraging its growing international presence, it handles a considerable amount of cross-border IP transactions and disputes for an impressive collection of large global clients. It continues to manage Eurostar’s worldwide trade mark portfolio including advising on brand protection, registration strategy and enforcement, and is assisting Microsoft with content licensing and exploitation issues relating to its Xbox and MSN services. On the contentious side, the team represented Target Stati-CALIN in defending a claim for trade mark infringement and passing off at the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court (IPEC), and acted for Nutricia in enforcing its trade mark rights in its medical nutrition products against unlawful parallel imports. Associate director Douglas Peden is ‘a consummate professional who is always extremely responsive and knowledgeable’; he specialises in contentious trade mark and copyright issues with a focus on use of IP rights by technology companies, and has experience in patent infringement claims, database rights issues and misuse of confidential information. Tom Harding is recommended for media IP rights, e-commerce and sponsorship issues, and Claudia Glover is ‘a very solid IP litigator’.

Foot Anstey acts on a range of IP issues for national and international clients from, predominantly, the media, energy, retail and leisure sectors. Neil Parkes represented Sky in comparative advertising and trade mark infringement proceedings in the High Court and acted for an international film studio and a mass media and entertainment conglomerate on copyright issues involving UK, EU and international law in connection with cloud-based remote recording and storage services. Martin Cuell assisted Aardman Animations with licensing a number of pieces of original Aardman artwork to The Illustration Cupboard Gallery as part of an exhibition, and, in a separate transaction, advised a media company on the IP aspects of a cross-border acquisition. Parkes is ‘very approachable, diligent and thorough’, and Cuell is ‘a safe pair of hands’; both are based in the Bristol office, which also includes senior associate Ed Bodey, who has experience of advising on branding and sponsorship, advertising and data issues. Exeter-based media specialist Peter Singfield focuses on contentious copyright, confidentiality, trade mark and passing off issues. OneE Investments, Blueprint Partners, University of West of England and Lucasfilm are other clients.

Humphreys & Co. excels in trade mark infringement, passing off and copyright disputes, acting for a diverse range of domestic and international clients from the electronics, education, financial services and fashion sectors. Robert Humphreys is representing SimStars International B.V. in a series of trade mark infringement, passing off and invalidity proceedings against its former distributors of jewellery brand Nikki Lissoni for the UK and Ireland, and is prosecuting multiple UK Intellectual Property Office (UKIPO) invalidity applications. Other highlights included assisting Friends Life Management Services (now part of the Aviva Group) with the negotiation of EU and German trade mark opposition proceedings against a German financial services company, and, in a separate matter, acting for Friends Life in prosecuting new trade mark applications in the UAE. Ruth Annand is ‘very well known in the field of UK and EU trade marks and design rights’ and also has experience in copyright. Associate Tristan Morse is another name to note.

Intellectual Property specialist firm Mewburn Ellis LLP fields patent and trade mark attorneys, and has a legal department which advises on a broad range of contentious and non-contentious IP matters. The group is particularly strong in the life sciences space, advising universities as well as spin-out and start-up companies on managing portfolios that cover major blockbuster drugs. In 2016, a team that included practice head Sean Jauss and patent attorney litigator Joseph Lenthall represented OCV Intellectual Capital in a patent litigation at the IPEC where Jushi Group was seeking a declaration of non-infringement and revocation of a patent owned by OCV Intellectual Capital in relation to fibreglass strands. It also advised Creo Medival Group on the IP aspects of its AIM IPO and continues to advise Alliance Pharmaceuticals on IP rights relating to its acquisitions and reorganisations. Emma Gallacher is experienced in IP licensing and early stage IP ligation for infringement of copyright, trade marks, registered and unregistered design rights, and patents.

Michelmores LLP is singled out for its ‘superb value for money, responsiveness and quality of advice’. The team can always demonstrate its ‘deep understanding of clients’ commercial drivers and constraints, taking these into account in any advice given’. It increasingly handles international IP matters relating to Europe and China. Tim Richards and David Thompson jointly lead the intellectual property team, specialising in contentious and non-contentious IP respectively. Tom Torkar is praised for ‘his range of expertise, responsiveness and standard of work’, ‘showing great awareness and understanding of a client’s business’. Recent highlights include acting for TOMY on IP licensing matters and commercial partnering arrangements, assisting St Austell Brewery Company with the IP aspects of its acquisition of Bath Ales, advising a university on the drafting of a patent licence and collaboration agreement, as well as representing Trolley Bags UK on third party infringement of its IP portfolio.

Clients of Stephens Scown LLP are ‘hugely impressed’ with the quality of the service, which is ‘built on a strong foundation of excellence in legal knowledge’. It handles a large number of UK and EU trade mark applications. Within the team, Ben Travers is ‘an exceptionally talented IP lawyer’ whose practice also covers online reputation management, defamation and international brand protection. Sanjay Raphael is a trade mark attorney and focuses on advising clients in the food and drink sector; and Tom Moore is ‘a young lawyer to watch’. Recent highlights include successfully representing Cornwall Mining Services on a passing off and registered trade mark infringement matter and assisting a motorsport team with multinational sponsorship contracts and IP-rich commercial arrangements. The practice is also advising a brewery company on its global IP portfolio as well as on trade mark and passing off matters.

TLT acts for a range of blue-chip clients and household name brands including WHSmith, Parragon Books, BGL Group and JKS Restaurants. The team manages Universal Enterprises’ trade mark portfolio and recently represented it in a trade mark infringement claim at the Indian Intellectual Property Office. Other recent instructions include advising on IP rights issues in commercial contracts and assisting clients with the IP aspects of multimillion-pound M&A mandates. James Touzel and legal director Jo Pritchard are the main contacts.

Leveraging its solid education sector specialism, the intellectual property group at VWV (Veale Wasbrough Vizards) advises on a large number of international school licensing projects, including prosecuting schools’ trade marks in a number of jurisdictions. Demonstrating this, the team is advising King’s College School on establishing a series of licensee schools in China which will use its name and other intellectual property. It also advises universities on the protection and commercialisation of IP and on international projects. Its clients list also features multinational and start-up companies, charities and independent schools including University of the Arts London, World Sailing, Airbus and The British Library. Other highlights included advising an international luxury automotive company on trade mark licensing matters and copyright licensing issues relating to technical data and consumer protection issues. Doug Locke heads the team, and has particular expertise in advising UK schools on establishing licensee schools in China, the Middle East and elsewhere in Asia. He is ‘focused and practical’, and is able to ‘bring resolution to complex matters’. Dual qualified solicitor and trade mark attorney Paula Williams is ‘highly personable, thoughtful and extremely knowledgeable’, ‘very quickly picking up a client’s objectives’.

Harrison Clark Rickerbys’ recent highlights include acting for Namesco and its Italian parent company Dada on a range of IP matters, including advising on Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) take-down notices and domain name registry disputes. It has also recently handled copyright and trade mark infringement claims, IP infringement matters in relation to advertising, and registration of brand and filing trade mark applications. Senior associates Gillie Abbotts-Jones and Steven Murray as well as litigator Adam Finch are the key contacts.

Thrings LLP is ‘one of the best firms in the South West for IP disputes’ according to one client, fielding ‘an extremely knowledgeable team which provides a first-class service’. Practice head Graeme Fearon continues to advise Lovehoney Group on its global IP strategy, which includes handling multiple parallel patent, design, trade mark and copyright registration applications, oppositions, invalidity and enforcement proceedings, as well as assisting with the IP aspects of acquisitions. The team also represented Kenro in a dispute regarding alleged patent infringement relating to the camera microphone mountings owned by Rycote Microphone Windshields, and is assisting Brick Lane Bikes with trade mark registration in China, the EU and the US. Commercial and IP litigator Megan Jefferies has ‘a great level of knowledge about proceedings at the EUIPO’ and is ‘extremely calm, precise, efficient and commercially minded’. Andy Braithwaite joined Ashfords LLP.

Willans LLP is praised for its ‘excellent knowledge and very practical and pragmatic advice’. It handles contentious and non-contentious matters for clients in the telecoms, utilities, renewable energy and IT sectors. New clients also include The Royal Artillery Museum, Rapid Retail, Singapore Lift Company and TLV Euro Engineering UK. Recent instructions include successfully acting for 1st Southern Signage as the defendant in a trade mark infringement claim arising out of its alleged use of an identical or similar sign to that of the claimant, as well as acting for claimant Levolux in a High Court patent infringement claim and subsequent enforcement of the terms of the settlement agreement. Paul Gordon is ‘concise, considered and extremely efficient’, adopting ‘a calm and commercial approach to litigation’. He is particularly experienced in handling complex High Court and IPEC IP disputes, while Theresa Grech focuses on the exploitation, transfer and licensing of IP, as well as the IP aspects of sales and acquisitions. Senior associate Nick Southwell is ‘a safe pair of hands’ who is singled out for his ‘practical and commercial approach to litigation’.

BPE Solicitors LLP advises a diverse range of national and international clients including Supergroup, Cotswold Outdoor, Lycos and The Motorcycle Industry Association. Iain Garfield specialises in trade mark registrations, brand protection and licensing contracts, while Riyaz Jariwalla focuses on contentious IP matters including infringement, passing off and domain name disputes. The team acted for Maxons in filing a defensive UK trade mark application and an opposition against Joseph Dobson & Co’s UK and EU trade mark applications, and assisted AGD Systems with a licensing agreement, which included protecting its trade mark in Brazil by way of registered trade mark protection.

Battens Solicitors Limited advises on contentious and non-contentious design rights, trade mark and brand matters. It also has particular expertise in assisting media and entertainment sector clients with licensing transactions as well as the creation and exploitation of IP rights. Brian Levine and Peter Livingstone are the main contacts.

DAC Beachcroft LLP’s Andrew Allan-Jones is acting for Ultrahaptics on a number of licensing mandates related to its ultrasonic touchless haptic technology and is representing Coretx in trade mark litigation in the IPEC against Corteix. Another highlight saw the team acting for Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust on a range of patent licensing mandates. Aardman Animations, NHS England, Unilever and Royal Mail are also clients. Senior associate Kate Loxton has strong experience in acting for household names in proceedings in the IPEC and High Court.

At Laceys, Edwina Young specialises in trade mark registration and IP contracts including licences and software agreements. She is assisting a security services provider with trade mark protection and the registration of its brand in the EU.

Murrell Associates’ ‘exceptional, confident and knowledgeable’ team is particularly experienced in assisting medical technology sector clients on licensing IP rights, as well as advising on brand protection and infringement claim settlements. Rebecca Anforth is praised for her ‘style of communicating and level of IP knowledge’. She continues to advise Worval Holdings on its trade mark protection strategy, assisted another client on the IP aspects of an acquisition and handled a copyright infringement claim.

Royds Withy King’s client list features the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust, Airsprung Group, Retraining of Racehorses and Adam Matthew Digital, which the team advises on trade mark portfolio management. The two-partner practice is led by Jessica Bent, who is highly recommended for her breadth of knowledge and experience. In 2016, she advised Bath Rugby and Novia Financial on the protection of their trade marks. Philip Banks-Welsh is an experienced IP litigator with notable expertise in trade mark infringement, passing off and internet-based defamation. He has acted on a range of copyright and design right issues.

Steer & Co is ‘very responsive’, with key partner Rebecca Steer singled out for her ‘great attention to detail’. Recent highlights include advising the Atkins estate on its sale of IP rights in original artwork to Oxford Press, assisting Wallbarn with registered design right protection for its new green roof tray, and securing trade marks for its new M-Tray brand in the EU and UK.

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