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David Copping

Work 020 3375 7000
Farrer & Co

Work Department

Intellectual Property.


David is the Head of the Higher Education Group. He specialises in non-contentious intellectual property and commercial law, predominantly advising clients operating in IP rich sectors such as media, culture and higher education. David regularly advises clients on a range of issues relating to the acquisition, protection and exploitation of intellectual property rights, including in relation to trade marks, copyright, and other forms of registered and unregistered rights. His principal areas of focus are complex collaborative projects involving the creation and/or exploitation of intellectual property, and IP considerations arising in corporate transactions, research collaborations and joint ventures. In terms of more general commercial work, David has expertise in relation to technology contracts, IT and business process outsourcing, supply and distribution agreements and a range of other contractual matters. Recent experience includes:

  • advising a number of London universities on significant strategic collaborations in India, Singapore, China and Hong Kong;
  • advising Historic Royal Palaces on the joint venture arrangements relating to the poppies at the Tower of London, voted London’s top cultural attraction of 2014;
  • coordinating IP due diligence on one of the UK’s premier music publishing catalogues for a private bank;
  • advising the RFU on a joint venture and outsourcing arrangement relating to the provision of hospitality and catering at Twickenham Stadium;
  • advising the Institute of Cancer Research on its ground-breaking agreement with BACIT Limited, an innovative LSE listed fund-of-funds established to help fund the battle against cancer;
  • constructing and analysing complex EU funded research consortia under Horizon 2020, including Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs) and European Research Infrastructure Consortia (ERICs)


Trained at Farrer & Co and qualified in September 2004. Upon qualification in 2004, David spent six months on secondment as legal advisor at the Science Museum. More recently, he has been seconded to one of the firm’s private clients on a part time basis to assist on copyright and confidentiality related matters. David became a Partner in 2013.


University of Birmingham.

London: Corporate and commercial

Commercial contracts

Within: Commercial contracts

Farrer & Co is well-known for its high-end work in sectors such as education, art and heritage and media (including broadcasting). Its ability to cover the full range of commercial contracts has enabled it to build up a notable portfolio of clients, including National Gallery, Museum of London, Bauer Media, the Lawn Tennis Association and Imperial College London. Practice head Peter Wienand specialises in negotiating commercial agreements involving IP-rich issues, such as collaborations, R&D and technology transfer. Other notable individuals are David Copping and associate Jane Randell, who were part of the team which recently advised Brookfield Business Partners on the corporate and commercial contracts issues associated with its indirect investment in, and strategic partnership with, electric car charger company Chargemaster Plc. Another highlight saw Henry Sainty  and Paul Jones act for UK Athletics in the staging in 2017 of the IAAF World Athletics Championships and the IPC World ParaAthletics Championships. Paul Jones and associate Alan Baker are other highly regarded practitioners.

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London: Public sector

Education: institutions

Within: Education: institutions

Farrer & Co's team 'is highly knowledgeable, easily approachable and offers very clear advice'. It provides extensive expertise across charity, constitutional and employment law together with safeguarding matters and large-scale collaborative projects and joint ventures. David Copping is the chair of the higher education group; Sam MacDonald, who is 'excellent in all respects', and David Smellie, 'who has excellent industry knowledge', are two of the senior specialists within the team; and Julian Smith focuses on charity, trusts tax and governance matters for universities. The team advised Imperial College London on safeguarding matters following an audit, and in other work it assisted King’s College London’s international directorate - King's Worldwide - on the correct structuring of international collaborations, work that included producing a suite of contracts and the formation of a new subsidiary company. Its client roster includes Oxford and Cambridge colleges, the London Business School and the Association of Commonwealth Universities.

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