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

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Who Represents Who

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DLA Piper UK LLP’s clients are a who’s who of recognisable brands, including the Premier League, GE, and new wins including Staples and Nike. Richard Taylor and Birmingham office head Gareth Stokes jointly lead the practice with the support of associate Satnam Sahota who is currently assisting Taylor with the cross-border sale and licensing of part of its intellectual property by an international graphics processor manufacturer. Other work highlights include advising a multinational conglomerate on an alternative-energy transaction involving a patent portfolio, and representing a leading global fashion brand in a claim brought against it by a UK-based company alleging design right infringement. Associate Vipul Ladwa also plays a pivotal role in the team and recently worked alongside Stokes for an international enterprise information management company on the review of its multi-jurisdictional terms in connection with technology escrow services and best practices to protect deposit materials containing valuable IP elements. Taylor and Sahota acted for a new client in relation to the implementation of a new business model seeking the global protection of its product variety rights, while Stokes and Ladwa acted on the drafting of licences for a joint venture for the provision of airport services, which involved the transfer of the entire operational control of a major airport lounge.

Gowling WLG’s clients feel they get ‘the best value for money at all times’, and the firm ‘understands what matters to them and what they will not tolerate’. Patrick Duxbury heads the life sciences team in Birmingham and recently advised on a number of high-value transactions including Heptares Therapeutics’ $3.3m deal with Allergan, which involved substantial IP aspects. Leading the brand and design team is ‘motivational team leaderKate Swaine, who specialises in the enforcement and clearing of brands, advertising and designs; she recently acted for Weetabix on the management of its global brand portfolio, with the support of principal associate and ‘real result-getter’ George Sevier, who ‘punches well above his weight in negotiating with external lawyers’. Other key contacts include Luke Kempton, who is experienced in the biochemistry and pharmaceuticals sectors, with special emphasis on drug acquisitions, and collaboration and licensing deals; and Michael Luckman, who heads the firm’s corporate, employment, pensions and projects unit and is particularly strong in commercial IP work in the life sciences, defence, automotive, retail and food and drink sectors. Dyson, Unilever and Aston Martin are among the firm’s notable clients.

Browne Jacobson LLP’s IP practice is ‘very good all-around; thoroughly professional, honest and approachable’. In Birmingham, Mark Daniels leads the firm’s high-tech patent litigation unit, while associate Bonita Trimmer handles brand and design disputes; they were recently joined by Gowling WLG’s former head of brand litigation, Cerryg Jones. Trimmer (supported by Cushley) acted on a potential trade mark and passing-off claim related to an internationally-recognised brand. Solicitor Laura Mackenzie-Mitchell is part of the team acting for PZ Cussons on all its IP and commercial legal requirements, and worked alongside Trimmer for Danish fashion brand Bestseller on a series of trade mark opposition matters. Other clients include OSI Systems, Camelot and London Taxi Company.

Freeths LLP is known for its ‘great efficiency and quick answers’ and for being ‘one of the most reactive and effective firms in the UK’. Practice head and national IP leader Simon Barker handles non-contentious and contentious work, although the majority of the team’s work revolves around intellectual property enforcement and protection. Barker (with the support of associate and litigation specialist Jonathan Mayner) recently acted for a leading European e-liquid producer in a trade mark and passing-off claim brought by the estate of a deceased high-profile personality. Senior associate Kishan Pattni is part of the team acting for a major retailer on a trade mark infringement claim filed by a media entity concerning an advertising strategy. Other highlights include handling a domain misappropriation matter involving allegations by a former director of a leading high efficiency plasma technology developer that the domain belonged to him, and overseeing the defence and subsequent counterclaims of a design right infringement claim on behalf of a UK furniture retailer. The Stoke-based Michael Servian is also recommended.

According to one client, HGF Limitedis the best law firm for intellectual property in the West Midlands’. The recent recruitments of Marie McMorrow and ‘outstanding lawyer’ and legal director Tom Nener (‘who is unflappable under pressure and whose judgement is second to none’) from DWF have significantly strengthened the team, which handles brand protection matters – including infringement response and enforcement. Recent work includes representing Jack Wills in a potential trade mark dispute with the British Olympic Association, and advising a Canada-based conglomerate with regards to the alleged misuse of confidential information, copyright and design right infringement by several ex-senior executives. It also acted for a private medical equipment manufacturer in High Court proceedings against a newly formed competitor founded by an ex-employee. Birmingham office head Chris Moore is also recommended. Other notable clients include AGA Rangemaster, Holland and Barrett and Ricardo.

The ‘excellent’ IP team at Pinsent Masons LLP is headed by Cerys Wyn Davies, who ‘enjoys the longstanding confidence of her clientele due to her responsiveness and empathy with their objectives’. The group was strengthened further by the promotion of Jo Alderson and Victoria Bentley to legal director, and the recruitment of Katy Bourne from Mills & Reeve LLP. Alderson advises clients on the IP aspects of M&A and private equity transactions, while Bentley is a patent litigation expert with a strong technical background as a software developer; the former recently led the advice to AMC on its acquisition of the Odeon & UCI Cinemas Group, and acted for a multinational utilities company on the exploitation of a new software technology relating to database extraction and linking. The firm also acted for Sprue Aegis on its acquisition and licensing of development rights for a software solution from Intamac. Davies led on that matter and acted for Financial Times on its acquisition of Alpha Grid. Other key contacts include solicitor Laura Clayton and associate Nicky Pereira.

Clients ‘feel very well served’ by Shakespeare Martineau LLP’s IP practice, which attracts praise for its ‘broad knowhow in media law and very reliable and knowledgeable advice’. In Birmingham, Nick Briggs heads the commercial team and leads the Midlands IP offering with a particular emphasis on patent litigation, and Mauro Paiano handles domestic and cross-border IP disputes at the High Court and the Court of Appeal, as well as before the UK Intellectual Property Office, EU Intellectual Property Office and the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court (IPEC). Solicitor Kerry Russell is part of the team advising Don & Low on patent litigation involving two competitors, while solicitor Daniel Goodall is supporting Briggs in his work for a leading Austrian leisure company on a trade mark breach and branding claim based on non-use. Other key contacts include solicitor Stewart Argo, who regularly supports Paiano on disputes, and represented Phineas in a trade mark and design case brought against Primark at IPEC. The ‘straightforward and business-oriented’ Kim Walker recently joined the London office from Bond Dickinson LLP.

Wright Hassall LLPapplies its technical IP skill in a commercial way, with strategy always at the fore’. The ‘extremely good’ Rhys Jarman leads the IP practice, in addition to being firm-wide head of the advanced manufacturing and digital gaming sector teams. He is assisted by Christine Jackson, who specialises in non-contentious IP work; and the ‘client-driven and very strategic’ Luke Moulton, who recently acted alongside Jarman on a multi-jurisdictional dispute concerning the ownership and right to exploit a brand associated with one of the client’s main brands. In other highlights, newly appointed partner Iain Colville acted alongside Matthew Sharp on a breach of contract and infringement claim on behalf of an industrial design agency, and Jackson acted for an industrial manufacturer in connection with a defence export contract, involving licensing issues and negotiations. Notable clients include Not Now Music, British Dressage and Cad Cam Automotive.

Key figures of Brethertons LLP’s IP practice include Shaun Jardine and Brian Auld. The team was joined by data protection specialist Claire Halle-Smith in Banbury, while Colin Witherall retired from the firm. On the contentious side, Auld is acting in several disputes involving IP infringement and trade mark and copyright breaches, with the support of solicitors Nicole Romera in banbury and Ben Hancox in the Rugby office. The team also handles non-contentious copyright, trade mark and domain assignments, license agreements and freedom of information requests.

The intellectual property team at Shoosmiths LLP is led by Andrew Brennan, who ‘provides solid, targeted and fast advice on contentious issues’, and includes senior associate Nichola Jenkins, who is one client’s ‘first port of call for all IP-related issues’. They acted alongside associate Imogen Francis for Associated British Foods on intellectual property issues arising from a research and development contract, and acted for Harvard International on the partial sale of various national and international trade marks to one of its licensees. Working alongside the firm’s corporate department, Brennan advised Octopus Capital and one of its subsidiaries on an investment into intelligent energy management technology company Reactive Technologies. Other notable clients include Volkswagen, Healthspan and Yamazaki Mazak.

The names to note at Squire Patton Boggs are commercial partner Stuart James, consultant Caroline Egan, who specialises in international data protection and privacy law matters, and associates Richard Armitage and Christopher Inns, both of whom have experience in the retail, healthcare, telecoms and IT sectors. Head of the Birmingham litigation department Simon Garbett and corporate partner Geoff Perry are also key names.

Clients of VWV (Veale Wasbrough Vizards) rate the firm for its ‘swift responses and advice, which are always concise and appropriate’. Consultant Frances Anderson, who ‘knows exactly when to fight her corner and when to concede a point to facilitate an amicable agreement’, and ‘friendly, knowledgeable and helpful’ solicitor Alexandra Ireland are the key figures in Birmingham. In recent highlights, the group advised a key manufacturing client with respects to trade mark licensing matters related to the sale of luxury goods, parts supplies, and consumer products; and acted for Wildscreen on competition and sponsorship agreements for its festival and more generally with the protection of its international brand portfolio. Other notable clients include the University of the Arts, the British Library and Raw Cut Television.

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