IT and telecoms in London Bar
The ‘excellent’ 11 South Square ‘have a very strong field of IP QCs’ with experience across the IT and telecoms sector. Michael Silverleaf QC was instructed by Semtech in their dispute with Hilight Semiconductor regarding a patent for a computer chip, while Mark Vanhegan QC acted for Philips in three Patents Court trials regarding allegations of infringement of three standard essential patents against ASUS and HTC. Other barristers of note include Brian Nicholson QC, who took silk in 2019.
4 PUMP COURT ‘combines IP and tech expertise’ with experience in a broad range of IT and telecoms disputes including those relating to licensing, royalties, outsourcing, infrastructure and cybersecurity. The set’s ’fantastic juniors are the cream of the crop’ and are complemented by ‘impressive silks’. In a recent high profile instruction Alex Charlton QC and Matthew Lavy are representing British Airways in a £70m dispute against CBRE Ltd, whose alleged breach of contract and negligence damaged and brought down its IT systems in May 2017 forcing the cancellation of many flights.
8 New Square, which has been highlighted as ‘one of the best sets in the IP world’, is also considered ‘at the top of its game in IT’. The ‘excellent set’ has expertise in contractual disputes, as well as on those relating to domain names, and data rights and protection. High-profile instructions include Conversant Wireless Licensing Sarl v Huawei Technology Co Ltd, in which Jaani Riordan is instructed for Huawei and Adrian Speck QC for Conversant, and Argos Ltd v Argos Systems Inc, which includes Jonathan Hill for the claimant and Jaani Riordan for the defendant.
Atkin Chambers is a set to note for IT infrastructure disputes, within which its barristers have acted both for and against software providers. In a recent work example, James Howells QC is representing PTT Limited in a dispute with Triple Point Technology Inc relating to $13m claims and counterclaims arising out of the termination of a contract for the design and implementation of IT systems across Asia and Gulf businesses.
Blackstone Chambers is considered to be ‘the strongest public law set’ and ‘one of the leading sets for telecoms regulatory matters in acting for both Ofcom and telecoms companies’. Recent highlights include James Segan's representation of a telecoms company in challenging a direction by Ofcom, requiring it to refrain from liberalising the regulatory regime for GSM gateways, and Tom Richards' instruction by Telefónica in an appeal against a determination by Ofcom concerning ‘flip-flopping’ of termination rates by H3G and Vodafone. Pushpinder Saini QC (recently appointed to the High Court) was instructed by Ofcom in a judicial review challenge to its Annual Licence Fees, brought by EE, Vodafone.
Attracting praise for delivering ‘concise, easy to understand and sensible advice’, the ‘excellent team’ at Devereux has been highlighted by clients as the ‘first choice for work relating to the new Telecoms Code’. In a recent work highlight, Graham Read QC was instructed by EE Limited and Hutchinson 3G Limited in a dispute against The Mayor and Burgesses of the London Borough of Islington for the rights, under the New Electronic Communication Code, to erect a replacement mast following redevelopment at a former mast site.
Monckton Chambers ‘has an impressive strength for contentious telecoms regulatory work’ with ’a deep knowledge of the regulatory framework and its technical aspects’. The set is frequently instructed in regulatory challenges; Meredith Pickford QC represented by TalkTalk and Sky in the Court of Appeal in an appeal against Ofcom relating to charges for Ethernet services while Michael Bowsher QC and Fiona Banks was instructed by Viasat UK Limited and Viasat, Inc in an appeal against Ofcom’s authorisation to the intervener Inmarsat Ventures Ltd for the use of the 2GHz spectrum by ground stations for the operation of a satellite mobile communications network, pursuant to the Wireless Telegraphy Act 2006.
The ‘well-regarded’ Three New Square has ‘an exceptional level of knowledge’ and ‘a great strength in patent litigation’ including in the electronics industry. In recent case highlights, Thomas Hinchliffe QC is representing Asus and HTC in an action relating to FRAND licensing of 4G wireless technology against HTC; Joe Delaney is instructed by TQ Delta in a telecoms dispute with ZyXEL, concerning the implementation of standards essential patents, and Miles Copeland is acting for Huawei and ZTE in high-profile FRAND litigation brought by Conversant Wireless Licensing.