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Gateley Plc

Work 0161 836 7700
Fax 0161 836 7701
Birmingham, Dubai, Leeds, Leicester, London, Manchester and 2 more

John Burns

Work +44 (0) 161 836 7923
Gateley Plc

Work Department

Commerce, technology and media.


John’s main areas of expertise are intellectual property exploitation, franchising, brand licensing, commercial agreements, competition law, sports and media. His uncluttered and commercially focused approach has won him praise when dealing with high-profile, high-value matters. John is an established speaker at various brand licensing seminars both in the UK and abroad and is a director of the Manchester Fashion Network. John heads the sports and leisure sector within Gateley.


Trained Alsop Wilkinson (DLA); qualified 1995. Littlewoods Home Shopping Group 1995-97; Cuff Roberts 1997-2000; Halliwells 2000-10; partner Gateley 2010 to date.


St Francis Saviours College, Liverpool; University of Exeter (1987-1991 Bsc (Hons); BA (Hons)); Chester College of Law (1991-92).


John enjoys playing ice hockey and helping his daughters achieve success in gymnastics and figure skating.

North West: Corporate and commercial

Corporate and commercial: Manchester

Within: Corporate and commercial: Manchester

Gateley Plc's ‘pragmatic and commercially aware’ team is praised for its ‘attention to detail’. It regularly advises private equity investors, large corporates and listed plcs, as well as high-net-worth individuals and investors, on corporate transactions. National head of corporate Charles Glaskie advised Timpson Group on its acquisition of the retail dry cleaning arm of Johnson Services Group for £8.25m. The ‘brilliantMark Halliwell, who specialises in corporate finance, advised Competition Line (UK) on the £20.5m sale of 18 gyms to The Gym Group. Paul Jefferson, who heads the private equity group, advised Inspired Energy on its £44m acquisition of Horizon Energy Group, an energy procurement and consultancy business based in Cork, Ireland; and advised City Football Group (CFG), on its strategic joint venture with Goals Soccer Centres, an AIM-listed operator of outdoor soccer centres. Mark Halliwell is ‘very experienced and capable’ and advised the shareholders of Chase Templeton, a private medical insurance broker backed by Palatine Private Equity, on its sale to Nevada Investments. Other key figures include Nigel Brown, who is ‘very experienced’ and advises on inward and outward investment to and from China; Khurshid Valli; Chris Dunn; and recently promoted partner Stephen Roberts. Legal director Kate Richards  is also noted for corporate matters. Jonathan Moakes  heads the commerce, technology and media practice, which includes Peter Budd and John Burns.

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North West: TMT (technology, media and telecoms)

Intellectual property

Within: Intellectual property

Gateley Plc  has the ‘excellentJonathan Moakes  at the helm. Moakes is an effective IP litigator who also has considerable expertise in life sciences and technology matters. The team also has considerable sector expertise in sport, retail (especially giftware) and manufacturing. John Burns  is adept at advising on intellectual property exploitation, franchising and brand licensing in sports and media and legal director Robert Lye  is skilled on contentious matters. The ‘very proactive’ Lye who is an ‘excellent communicator and is strong technically’ has taken a number of design right and patent infringement cases to trial as well as trade mark and passing off actions to interlocutory hearing. The team is advising Incanthera on a patent assignment and development agreement and on a clinical service agreement with Ellipses Pharma relating to the long term development and exploitation of cancer related drugs. The team has also acted for a number of members of the Giftware Association in various infringement actions.

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Media and entertainment

Within: Media and entertainment

Gateley Plc  has a ‘professional, precise and accessible team’. The ‘very approachable and skilledJohn Burns  oversees the group, which includes Conor Hannon. The team assists independent television production companies, broadcasters, advertiser/agencies as well as sportspersons and football clubs. Other clients include film financiers, producers and distributors in addition to key talent and composers. The group has niche expertise in the area of new media with vloggers, Instagram and Youtube stars. Highlights included advising Rockerdale Studios on the completion of the scriptwriter and artist/actor agreements between the actors and the studio and the actors and the agents in connection with the Rockerdale Studio produced programme ‘Bobby and Harriet Get Married’. In other highlights it advised Koosh Limited on the investment and promotion of Koosh, an app allowing users to create a montage of images to use pictures or videos of friends/family members/colleagues and to connect people to make collages.

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Within: Leading individuals

John Burns - Gateley Plc

Within: Sport

The ‘highly regardedJohn Burns leads the team at Gateley Plc  that ‘has the depth in the team to really support clients’. The ‘excellent’ Stephen Roberts has advised sports organisations and NGBs on a range of governance issues. Senior associate Nick Murrills  focuses on sports litigation and defamation/reputation management. The group is particularly well regarded for brand licensing, sponsorship and general commercial contract work as well as for its work on stadium development. It acts for six premier league clubs and is acting for Bournemouth FC to advise on the construction contracts for its new training facilities which will include ten full-size pitches, three junior pitchers, an indoor artificial playing surface as well as state-of-art medical, fitness and rehabilitation facilities. The department has also been instructed by Brighton and Hove Albion FC on various commercial matters.

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