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Ward Hadaway

Work 0191 204 4000
Fax 0191 204 4001
Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle upon Tyne

Alex Shiel

Work +44 (0)191 204 4296
Ward Hadaway

Work Department



Partner, Head of IP/IT


Alex is head of the Intellectual Property and Information Technology (IP/IT) team at Ward Hadaway and helps clients to protect, develop, exploit and enforce their ideas and new technology.

This is done by using intellectual property rights, commercial agreements such as research and development contracts, technology licences and collaboration agreements and, in the case of disputes, through taking or defending court action.

Alex also works with clients who supply or purchase IT systems, develop or license software, do business over the internet and work in the creative industries, such as creating Apps, games, multimedia content and websites.

He is responsible for the supervision and management of the dedicated trademark and design registration and management service, which is run by the unit.

An increasing area of Alex’s work involves acting for creative industries businesses, in particular in the fashion, digital media, film and publishing industries.

Alex has over 20 years’ experience of advising clients of all sizes in all aspects of intellectual property and information technology.

He advises a number of multi-national companies, plcs and public sector bodies and has a wide expertise in handling complex transactions, including research and development contracts, IT systems and telecoms agreements, technology licensing contracts and international collaboration agreements.

He acts for start-ups and spin-out businesses. He has acted for the University of Newcastle upon Tyne in connection with the spinning out of a number of new companies.

Alex provides business support and mentoring advice to start-up companies which are supported through programs run by organisations such as Teesside University’s launchpad, Digital Union and Newcastle University’s Rise Up.

He has a particular specialism in dealing with trade mark and branding issues and acts for several well known brands. His work includes advising on strategic brand management, international protection of brands and trade mark opposition and infringement proceedings.

Clients include Wilkinson Sword, SCS Sofas, Imperial Pharmaceuticals, PD Ports and the University of Newcastle.

North: Private client

Charities and not-for-profit

Within: Charities and not-for-profit

Ward Hadaway acts for an extensive roster of registered and exempt charities as well as social enterprises including Alnwick Garden Trust, County Durham Community Foundation, Newcastle Rugby Foundation and the Land Trust. Much of the team’s work pertains to governance, trading, fundraising and restructuring issues, while various other matters are dealt with in co-operation with the relevant department. In recent work, IP team head Alex Shiel advised Changing Lives on various charity and governance matters alongside employment and property issues, and assisted Newcastle University with charity law, commercial and IP issues. Vindolanda Trust retained the team to advise on a grant of approximately £1.3m from the Heritage Lottery Fund to expand the client’s existing museum at the ancient Roman fort. The practice is jointly led by Colin Hewitt and Fiona Wharton and also includes consultant Gaynor Jackson.

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North: TMT (technology, media and telecoms)

IT and telecoms

Within: IT and telecoms

Ward Hadaway’s clients include IT providers and developers alongside public and private sector customers. Judy Baker assisted Newcastle International Airport with contract negotiations for the supply, support and maintenance of airport check-in systems and self-service check-in kiosks, and advised Bannatyne Fitness on a contract with Navarino Services with regards to the client’s hotel booking system. In other work, she advised a national retailer on website compliance issues, and assisted a software house with liability provisions pertaining to the public procurement for IT software and services. Team head Alex Shiel advised a major port operator on a contract for the implementation of a new automated gate entry system. Colin Hewitt, Phil Tompkins, IT disputes expert Tim Toomey and Dean Murray are other names to note.

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Intellectual property

Within: Leading individuals

Alex Shiel - Ward Hadaway

Within: Intellectual property

With a focus on technology-related IP work, Ward Hadaway is best known for advising high-growth technology start-ups and entrepreneurs, while also having particular expertise assisting spin-out companies from the university sector and pharmaceutical clients. Team head Alex Shiel continues to advise Tech City on a number of IP matters including trade mark registrations, sponsorship agreements and other contracts concerning various products the client has developed. The practice also acted for Imperial Pharmaceuticals on brand licensing matters and on its trade mark protection and enforcement strategy. In the university sector, the team acted for start-up businesses supported by the Teesside University’s launchpad programme, which included assistance with trade mark and design registrations, IP ownership agreements and licensing. Other noteworthy individuals include data protection expert Judy Baker and litigators Tim Toomey, Robert Glassford and Peter Hornsey. Motac Neuroscience and the Pacifica Group are also clients.

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Yorkshire and the Humber: TMT (technology, media and telecoms)

Intellectual property

Within: Intellectual property

Recent mandates for Ward Hadaway’s group include assisting Eurocamp with its global trade mark portfolio including monitoring infringements and handling trade mark licensing issues, advising SAP on the protection of its IP rights relating to its software products and acting for Brainwave Drinks on the protection of its drinks brands internationally. Communisis, Hisense and Sage are also clients. Bill Goodwin leads the team and has notable expertise in trade mark and design work and assists clients in the manufacturing and technology sectors. Other key individuals include Gareth Yates, who advises on software licensing issues, development contracts and IT disputes; and Newcastle-based Alex Shiel, who is noted for his expertise acting on the IP issues associated with new technology.

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