Intellectual property in Northern Ireland

A&L Goodbody

A&L Goodbody has expertise in both contentious and non-contentious work, with a client roster consisting of multinational brands and leading domestic companies. Brendan Fox is a leading litigator in the market, and most recently represented Matt D’Arcy Whiskey Distillery in a High Court trade mark opposition case. Fox leads the team alongside Mark Thompson, who focuses on non-contentious work and is especially active in handling software and technology-related licensing mandates. Senior associate Ciaran O’Shiel, who focuses on contentious matters, is 'extremely responsive’.

Practice head(s):

Brendan Fox; Mark Thompson

Other key lawyers:

Ciaran O’Shiel; Jonathan Hacking


‘Responsive and pragmatic.’

‘We have received an excellent level of service.’

‘Ciaran O’Shiel is extremely responsive.’

‘Ability to step in and deal with businesses direct – freeing up internal counsel.’

‘Jonathan Hacking- able, efficient ,confident and above all practical.’

Key clients

Rolex SA

News Group Newspapers

Screwfix Direct Limited

Matt D’Arcy Whiskey Distillery

Education Authority

Irish Football Association

BPerfect Limited


Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute

Neurovalens Limited

Work highlights

  • Advising Matt D’Arcy Whiskey on various intellectual property matters including several sets of UKIPO trade mark opposition proceedings and an appeal to the Northern Ireland High Court.
  • Advising AFBI on intellectual property matters in relation to its various R&D projects, collaborations and joint ventures.
  • Advising Devenish on various intellectual property matters including on copyright, trade mark infringement, confidentiality and trade secret matters.

Arthur Cox Belfast

Arthur Cox Belfast’s multi-disciplined team is highly experienced in intellectual property matters including commercial agreements and transactional work. The team’s work also includes the day-to-day protection of trade marks, copyrights and patents. The retail, technology and manufacturing sectors are key areas of interest, with a high-profile client roster including Coca Cola and major wholesaler Musgraves. Corporate partners Alan Taylor and Lynsey Mallon are key names in the team.

Practice head(s):

Alan Taylor

Other key lawyers:

Lynsey Mallon


‘The team have excellent communication and breadth of knowledge. They don’t just treat us as a client that they earn money from but as a partner they are advising to get the best outcome in the most cost effective way.’

‘They make sure they bring in the right expertise from associate up to partner to support on the advice we need which is reassuring and helps us deal quickly with the work.’

‘The expertise is a key part with excellent communication from all of them.’

Key clients


Musgrave Retail Partners NI Limited

Thompson Aero Seating Limited

Department of Finance (LPS)

Sunrise Medical Holdings Limited

The Mount Charles Group Limited

Funds-Axis Limited


Musgrave Distribution Limited

North West of Ireland Print and Publishing Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Coca Cola on all IP  matters.
  • Advising Musgrave on an ongoing basis in relation to its use and licensing of the intellectual property rights contained within its marquee retail brands.
  • Advising Thompson Aero Seating Limited on the drafting, review and negotiation of commercial contracts for the sale of bespoke business class seats to commercial airlines, such as Lufthansa and Boeing.

Carson McDowell

Advising on contentious and non-contentious matters, Carson McDowell is a highly respected name for IP work and recently assisted Linen Mills Studios with its agreement with HBO for the new Game of Thrones tour. The team has also carved out a niche in the university sector, and advises Queens University and Ulster University on IP matters. Other sectors of interest include the life sciences, technology and financial services industries. Co-chair Declan Magee is highly experienced in IP disputes, especially patent litigation. Dawn McKnight also leads the team and advises on the IP aspects of commercial agreements and corporate transactions. Peter Guzhar, who excels in trade mark litigation, is also recommended.

Practice head(s):

Declan Magee; Dawn McKnight

Other key lawyers:

Peter Guzhar


‘One of few firms in NI who can genuinely say they are experts in this area. Great client base.’

‘Peter Guzhar – one of few genuine IP experts in NI.’

Key clients

STATSports Group

Linen Mill Studios

Denroy Plastics Group

Ulster University

Queen’s University Belfast

Prestige Insurance Group

Lowe Rental

ARC Regulatory

Tayto Group

Neutron Bidco Limited and Tenzing Private Equity II LP

Work highlights

  • Advising Linen Mill Studios on its ongoing discussions with Warner Brothers regarding the Game of Thrones studio tour.
  • Advising Ulster University on the implications of Brexit for certain IP rights within its portfolio and further development and exploitation issues.
  • Advised the Tayto Group on the successful enforcement of its registered trade marks against an infringing third party.

Cleaver Fulton Rankin

Cleaver Fulton Rankin’s IP team operates under the leadership of Hilary Griffith, who is notably adept in the technology and life sciences sectors; she is particularly skilled in the IP aspects of commercial agreements and corporate transactions. The team also has a contentious arm, led by Michael King, who has recently been active in trade mark and copyright litigation. Clients also single out associate Kathryn Laverty.

Practice head(s):

Hilary Griffith

Other key lawyers:

Michael King; Kathryn Laverty


‘We enjoy working with CFR because of the empathy they show through the different situations we are in when we call on them to help. Everything about them is considerate and reasonable.’

‘Kathryn Laverty is our prime contact, engaging, empathetic, sympathetic, responsive, and understanding of our priorities, our needs, our timescales. It is like having our own inhouse legal counsel at a fraction of the cost! Equally anybody that she has directed us to at the firm have been of equal high standard.’

‘A good example of expertise and experience combining to create a friendly, knowledgeable legal team.’

‘Michael King – an excellent communicator with great knowledge and expertise within the field of Intellectual Property law.’

‘What makes this practice unique is its ability to organise and prepare for trial in a cohesive and comprehensive fashion with clearly defined timelines.’

‘The Cleaver Fulton Rankin team has a culture that is client-centric and upholds the highest professional standards. They offer clear guidance and assessment of risk put in clear terms and in a manner that is appropriate for each client to understand and to assess, based on their business.’

‘Michael King stands out for me as a commercial, time-efficient practitioner. He understands complex matters quickly and most importantly, he asks the right questions that drive to the heart of a matter quickly and efficiently.’

‘Michael’s knowledge of IP is superb and he works diligently to keep the wider context in view all the time so we don’t end up going down side tracks that are not relevant. Michael gives clear advice and looks at the bigger picture even when the level of detail could otherwise seem all-consuming to others.’

Key clients

Tourism NI

Invest NI

Effidac Ltd t/a Truestock

Phion Therapeutics Limited

Catalyst Inc

Grays Clip Limited

Photonic Measurements Limited

IRP Commerce

Millicent Pharma

Regen Robotics Limited

Bellamoon Limited

Klas PDT

IRP Commerce Limited

3EN Cloud Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Grays Clip Limited on the IP aspects of an investment from a group of nine private investors through the Halo Business Angel Network (HBAN).
  • Advised Catalyst Inc on the IP matters arising from the establishment of the Belfast Maritime Consortium.
  • Advised IRP Commerce on IP matters arising as part of a full contract review.

Millar McCall Wylie LLP

Millar McCall Wylie LLP has garnered a strong reputation in the film and media industries as well as the technology and software sectors, advising on the licensing and transfer of patents and copyrights. Scott Kennedy has handled niche work in the game development, gambling and e-learning arenas, while Abbie Long acts for Northern Ireland Screen on the development of motion pictures. Corporate partner Damian McParland is also highly skilled in IP ownership and distribution agreements.

Practice head(s):

Scott Kennedy

Other key lawyers:

Abbie Long; Damian McParland


‘A solid team of people whose knowledge and experience lead to reliable legal advice you can rely on.’

‘Scott Kennedy, is an outstanding solicitor who is knowledgeable in many areas of corporate law. His knowledge of Intellectual Property law is exceptional.’

‘They are an exception and approachable team who make themselves available at short notice when required. They take a practical approach to problems, and clearly outline any risks or issues that may arise. They are always a very knowledgeable team.’

‘Abbie Long and Damian McParland go over and beyond for their clients, building partnerships with them and understanding their clients businesses.’

Key clients

Learning Pool Limited

Cirdan Imaging Limited

Causeway Sensors Limited

Kanisi Limited

Keystone Group

iGame Media

Voxbit Ltd

Makematic Limited

Northern Ireland Screen

Work highlights

  • Advising Keystone Group on its IP restructuring and internal licensing arrangements.
  • Advised Cobain Group on software licensing agreements.
  • Advised Cirdan Imaging on several framework agreements in relation to the provision of medical software and services and IP licensing and ownership issues.

Mills Selig

Mills Selig advises on a broad range of contentious and non-contentious work, with notable expertise in patent litigation. Litigator Emma Hunt jointly leads the practice and has represented clients in both patent and trade mark infringement cases. Also leading the team is Glenn Watterson, who focuses on non-contentious issues including handling licensing and registration matters for business start-ups.

Practice head(s):

Emma Hunt; Glenn Watterson

Key clients

First Derivatives plc

Novosco Limited

Locum Match Limited

Bluesona Limited

Devenish Nutrition

Ampliphae Limited

Limitless Digital Solutions Limited

Sussd Limited

SDC Trailers Limited

One Million Steps Limited

Work highlights

  • Acting for a US spin out company in relation to patent infringement proceedings of significant value.
  • Acting for a financial services client in defence of trade mark infringement proceedings and related proceedings before the IPO.
  • Providing advice on a proposed comparative advertising campaign to a manufacturing company.


Tughans’ IP team has a distinctive focus on the technology sector, predominantly advising on licensing and IP agreements. Adrian O’Connell  leads the teams and advises on IP portfolio management work as well as major commercial agreements. He is supported by newly promoted partner Andrew Kirke who is experienced in software licensing agreements, data protection work and trade mark law.

Practice head(s):

Adrian O’Connell

Other key lawyers:

Andrew Kirke


‘Personal service. Friendly and approachable. Work like an extension of our own business. Really care about our business. Expertise in all areas.’

‘Personal attention. Great attitude and always timely with activities.’

‘The team were exceptionally efficient and knowledgeable, ensuring the issue was fully understood and researched thoroughly. Your input (as the client) is listened to, considered and valued, and it feels like you are working as part of the team. My knowledge and understanding of this area was much improved and I learned a significant amount from liaising with the team at Tughans.’

‘Andrew Kirke provided exceptional advice and service. He is extremely responsive, summarising the issues and articulating potential responses in a clear, concise and ‘user-friendly’ way. The options were considered and most importantly he advised on how best to proceed alongside the pros and cons of the proposed course of action.’

‘The partner we work with is Andrew Kirke – Andrew is very knowledgeable, transparent, personable, and has been pivotal to major deals we have secured over the last year. ’

‘Highly versatile business that can facilitate all of my business needs within one group. Knowledge on all fronts and have helped us to agree successful terms on many contracts and trade mark issues.’

‘Overall a very friendly bunch and make the whole process painless for me, the customer. Knowledge in each given area is fantastic and I trust all the info that they provide me with. Honest and willing to go over and above to ensure our best interests are at the heart of their operation.’

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


Blk Box

Acre Platforms

W&R Barnett

RMS t/a Pivotal

Work highlights

  • Assisting Fusion Antibodies on an ongoing basis  with its IP portfolio (including all trade marks) and in developing its technology licensing and consultancy contracts.
  • Advised Fourds Limitedn on the BLOC FaceShield product.
  • Assisting various entities in the EOS group across a range of intellectual property matters.

Lewis Silkin

In early 2022 Lewis Silkin (N.I.) LLP completed the acquisition of Belfast's Forde Campbell LLC, a firm which was uniquely positioned as the only TMT boutique in Northern Ireland. Key lawyers include Matthew Forde, who is an expert in trade mark protection and litigation work, and Rory Campbell, who has expertise in IP-adjacent areas including technology and media law. The team has advised on multijurisdictional matters spanning the UK and Ireland, wider European jurisdictions and the US.

Practice head(s):

Mathew Forde; Rory Campbell

Pinsent Masons Belfast LLP

Pinsent Masons Belfast LLP is highly skilled in both trade mark and copyright law, particularly in relation to infringement claims and marketing promotions. The food and beverage sector is also a notable strongpoint; the team counts Kerry Foods as a key client. Senior associate James Griffiths leads the practice; he is also skilled in media law and data protection work.

Practice head(s):

James Griffiths


‘They have very experienced lawyers who have access to first class in house resources with input, when needed, from experts outside this jurisdiction in their offices in England and elsewhere.’

‘James Griffiths is an outstanding practitioner in intellectual property cases. He has a deep and clear understanding of the legal principles relevant to this branch of work and an ability to provide a clear analysis in a concise, compelling manner. He is extremely hard working and prepares thoroughly for his cases.’

‘The quality of IP work done by Belfast senior associate, James Griffiths, speaks for itself.’

‘James Griffiths is a very well regarded, highly proficient and experienced IP lawyer. He is able to resource and manage the most complex and difficult of cases and has a technical knowledge that is second to none.’

‘I worked mainly with James Griffiths, senior associate who was a pleasure to work with. Communications were timely, efficient and relevant. James was very professional and had a very pleasant manner.’

Key clients

Kerry Group plc

Kerry Foods Limited

Kerry Luxembourg sarl

Survitec Limited

Frylite Limited

Queen’s University Belfast


CDE Global Limited


Brett Martin Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised Kerry Group in respect of trade mark infringement proceedings in the Commercial Court, and associated proceedings in the EUIPO.
  • Acting for Hiscox and its insured in the defence of a claim for copyright infringement, brought by an architect whose drawing had been featured in a visitor exhibition.
  • Acting for Survitec in a claim for infringement of copyright in its marketing brochures and other marketing materials by a competitor business.