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Intellectual property in Northern Ireland

A&L Goodbody

A&L Goodbody runs the gamut of IP work, with a notably strong background in patent litigation. Brendan Fox works on the contentious side, with expertise in copyright, trademark and patent disputes, often before the High Court. Mark Thompson is highly experienced in non-contentious issues, particularly in areas such as brand protection and software licensing. Two emerging names from the junior team are senior associate Ciaran O’Shiel, who is strong in patent litigation, and associate Johnny Hacking, who works on IP agreements and data protection.

Practice head(s):

Brendan Fox; Mark Thompson

Other key lawyers:

Ciaran O’Shiel; Johnny Hacking


‘The team is very responsive and helpful. They are well connected within the Northern Ireland legal market and very knowledgeable. This means that they can provide prompt and commercial advice.’

‘They are very responsive. The quality of work is very good.’

‘The team is at the forefront of social media litigation in Northern Ireland, acting on behalf of social media companies and internet service providers. It also has expertise in data protection issues’

‘Ciaran O’Shiel is an outstanding practitioner with a vast knowledge of intellectual property and privacy law. His tactical acumen is exceptional and he is able to get to the heart of a problem quickly.’

Key clients

ICC Belfast

BPerfect Limited

News Group Newspapers Limited

Freedom Brewery Limited

Roma Systems Inc.

Proximo Spirits Yes (for IP)

Moore Concrete Limited

W&R Barnett

D&M Cakes Ltd t/a Graham’s Bakery

Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute

Work highlights

  • Acting on behalf of News Group Newspapers in ongoing proceedings brought in the Northern Ireland High Court for copyright infringement, defamation and misuse of private information.
  • Advised Proximo Spirits on a collaboration agreement with a leading UK musician and artist.
  • Acted for the owners of the Tony Roma’s brand in relation to injunctive proceedings in the Northern Ireland High Court.

Arthur Cox Belfast

Arthur Cox Belfast assists major corporate clients with IP licensing and rights agreements, as well as brand protection strategies. Corporate partner Alan Taylor is highly active in IP and has advised Coca-Cola on brand management issues. Paul McBride is another corporate partner who regularly advises on IP agreements. Lynsey Mallon is very experienced in the retail and manufacturing spaces, as well as advising on collaboration agreements between business and educational institutions.

Practice head(s):

Alan Taylor

Other key lawyers:

Paul McBride; Lynsey Mallon 

Work highlights

  • Advised Norbrook Laboratories in relation to the drafting and negotiation of a Global Distribution Agreement for their products with Bayer PLC.
  • Acted for Musgrave Distribution Limited in its recent acquisition of Drinks Inc. A key asset in this acquisition was the registered trademarks used in connection with the business.
  • Acted for Singapore Aerospace Manufacturing PTE Ltd in respect of its acquisition of an aeroplane parts manufacturer, JW Kane Precision Engineering.

Carson McDowell

Carson McDowell is very active in licensing, enforcement and registration matters with a strong emphasis on the life sciences, engineering and technology sectors. Litigator Declan Magee is a key name and is highly skilled in the electronics and engineering industry. Peter Guzhar is another notable name for disputes, particularly in relation to patent infringements. For non-contentious work, Dawn McKnight is strong credentials for IP contracts involving the life sciences, manufacturing and technology sectors.

Practice head(s):

Declan Magee; Dawn McKnight


‘Strong teamworking and a professional approach to delivering a high-quality service for the client has been evident throughout. ‘

‘The team are very personable and approachable, take the time to explain their thinking and reasoning that underpins their advice and guidance. This is always clear and precise.’

Key clients

Tayto Group Limited and Tayto (NI)

STATSport Group

Prestige Insurance Group

Lowe Rental Limited

Linen Mill Studios

SISAF Limited

Denroy Plastics Group

Innovation Ulster

Firmus Energy

University of Ulster

Work highlights

  • Acted for Linen Mill Studios on a Studio Tour Licence Agreement with HBO Licensing & Retail for the design, build and operation of Northern Ireland’s first in a series of Game of Throne Legacy Projects.
  • Advised on a Patent and Know-How Licence Agreement entered into with Soterios Limited regarding the development of alopecia treatment drugs using SISAF’s Intellectual Property Rights.
  • Advised and drafted a legal opinion for Denroy Plastics Group on who owned various pieces of IP which had arisen under two separate R&D Project Agreements with Bombardier.

Millar McCall Wylie LLP

Millar McCall Wylie LLP stands out for its strengths for film, TV and video production clients, and regularly advises local production companies on licensing agreements and rights ownership issues. Abbie Long has carved a niche in the film and TV industry, whereas practice head Scott Kennedy is very active in e-learning, advising clients on a range of other emerging technologies. Corporate head Damian McParland also handles IP agreements concerning media, entertainment and software.

Practice head(s):

Scott Kennedy

Other key lawyers:

Abbie Long; Damian McParland


‘Professional, reliable and trustworthy. They are approachable and go out of their way to assist.’

 ‘Scott Kennedy is a dedicated solicitor who is willing to collaborate with other professionals and experts in order to provide the best services to his clients.’

‘Other solicitors within the firm have gone over and above to provide the services requested of them. The team has an exceptional group of lawyers, making them one of the leading firms in Northern Ireland.’

‘Always approach work with a practical commercial mindset, giving the best possible service to their clients across the various departments.’

‘Damian McParland builds a partnership with his clients, getting to know his clients and the businesses, resulting in him being exceptional in his field of expertise.’

Key clients

Learning Pool

Cirdan Imaging

Causeway Sensors

Kanisi Limited

Keystone Group

IVA Watch Limited

Voxbit Ltd

Makematic Limited

Northern Ireland Screen

Work highlights

  • Advised Keystone Group Ltd on the IP aspects of its company reorganisation.
  • Advised Makematic Ltd on the IP aspects of its investment from Cordovan Capital.
  • Advised Learning Pool Limited on IP licensing agreements.

Cleaver Fulton Rankin

Cleaver Fulton Rankin assists a range of domestic clients with issues such as IP audits, agreements and disputes. Hilary Griffith leads the team and is an expert in IP issues relation to acquisitions and agreements, with a particular emphasis on the life sciences and technology sectors. Michael King is an expert in IP disputes, regularly resolving issues through litigation or mediation.

Practice head(s):

Hilary Griffith

Other key lawyers:

Michael King


‘They have a great commercial practice and are knowledgeable in the field of intellectual property.’

‘They are willing to work with other experts and professionals in order to provide the optimal service to their clients.’

‘Michael King is a savvy and knowledgeable solicitor. He is approachable and easy to deal with.’

‘Responsive, timely, effective, efficient, with a very wide range of legal expertise on many subjects.’

Key clients

Tourism NI

Invest NI

Bellamoon Limited

Phion Therapeutics Limited

Linen Hall Library

Photonic Measurements Limited

Gray’s Clip Limited

Millicent Pharma



ESO Solutions Limited


Advance Analytics Limited

3EN Cloud Limited


Work highlights

  • Advised Phion Therapeutics on all aspects of its first funding round including conducting an IP audit.
  • Advised Millicent Pharma  on its acquisition of the business and assets associated with pharmaceutical product Femring owned by Teva Pharmaceuticals.
  • Advised Tourism NI on its entire intellectual property portfolio.


Tughans distinguishes itself in the market through its expertise in technology licensing deals, often involving separate parties in the US or the EU. Adrian O’Connell is the key name and alongside his involvement in the technology sector is very active in the manufacturing, food and retail industries.

Practice head(s):

Adrian O’Connell


‘Over the many years that I’ve worked with Tughans, they have always made an effort to understand the value of the IP that’s being licensed.’

‘Their guidance has been quick, accurate and helped to bring value.’

‘The firm has a willingness to talk through options without walking onto cost. I’ve had many meetings talking about concepts in principle which were not charged. They are willing to play the “long game” and this builds a stronger relationship.’

Key clients

Randox Group

Fusion Antibodies PLC

B-Secur Limited

EOS Group

Dale Farm

Sabsa Education Services


Hughes Insurance

Westland Horticulture

Tobermore Concrete Products

Fourds t/a BLOC Blinds


Algol Applications

Joule Group

Zymplify Limited

Blk Box

Work highlights

  • Advised Algol Applications in negotiating and settling IP licensing deals with each of ClearOne, AEB Industriale and Mascot Electric.
  • Advising Meta Compliance in relation to the structuring and negotiation of its IP licensing arrangements with its customers, including the European Bank of Reconstruction & Development (EBRD) and Leggett Platt.
  • Advising blinds manufacturer Fourds in relation to the licensing of its IP.

Forde Campbell LLC

At Forde Campbell LLC , name partner Mathew Forde is particularly strong in soft IP disputes, with additional expertise in contentious issues surrounding trade secrets and patents.

Practice head(s):

Mathew Forde

Mills Selig

Mills Selig regularly represents clients in trademark, copyright and patent infringement cases, and also advises on general IP agreements. Emma Hunt works at the helm and is a highly experienced litigator and as well as in IP is highly experienced in media and defamation cases. Former practice head and renowned IP litigator Paul Spring has retired.

Practice head(s):

Emma Hunt

Key clients

First Derivatives plc

Novosco Limited

Locum Match Limited

Bluesona Limited

Devenish Nutrition Limited

Ampliphae Limited

Limitless Digital Solutions Limited

Sussd Limited

SDC Trailers Limited

One Million Steps Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised First Derivatives PLC on a software licensing agreement.
  • Advised Bluesona on agreements involving the use of intellectual property.
  • Acting for a financial services firm in defence of trademark infringement proceedings and in related proceedings at the IPO.

Pinsent Masons Belfast LLP

Pinsent Masons Belfast LLP is particularly strong in IP disputes involving clients in the manufacturing and education sectors. Senior associate James Griffiths leads the team and is experienced in soft IP litigation and mediation. The international firm is also able to draw upon the support of patent and trademark attorneys from its wider network of offices.

Practice head(s):

James Griffiths 


‘We have strong links with Pinsent Masons who understand our business and requirements – to have a presence in Northern Ireland from a firm who we can work with seamlessly in the same way is a great benefit and differentiator.’

 ‘James Griffiths has always provided a professional, and responsive service. If I have any matters in Northern Ireland he would be my go-to contact. ‘

Key clients

Queen’s University Belfast


CDE Global Limited

Kerry Group

Linnaeus Group

Luxco / Niche Drinks


Natwest Bank


Work highlights

  • Advising Kerry Group in respect of trade mark infringement and invalidity proceedings.
  • Advising Hiscox and its insured regarding allegations of copyright infringement associated with the insured’s performance of a local authority contract.
  • Advising CDE Gloabal on its IP portfolio and producing a global framework for the registration, monitoring and enforcement of its patents.