A&L Goodbody is a leading name for both contentious and non-contentious work, with notable clients across numerous sectors, including retail, agri-tech, education and med-tech. The department acts throughout the UK and international jurisdictions such as the US and Germany, all while maintaining strong links to the domestic Northern Irish market. The department is co-led by Brendan Fox, who specialises in contentious matters and is a seasoned commercial litigator, and Mark Thompson, who heads the non-contentious team within the practice, and has expertise in IP protection, transfer, and commercialisation. Ciaran O’Shiel, who made partner in October 2021, now leads the department’s contentious IP team.
Intellectual property in Northern Ireland
Brendan Fox; Mark Thompson
Other key lawyers:
‘Commercially sensible, pragmatic, quick workers. Great team to work with.’
‘Ciaran O’Shiel – very responsive, hard-working and very easy to get on with.’
‘Proactive, bright, and top tier for IP work.’
‘Ciaran O’Shiel – a new partner who’s pleasant to work with, dedicated to the clients, and terrific all-rounder.’
‘Great reputation and depth of ability in IP.’
‘Ciaran O’Shiel is a shrewd operator and experienced beyond his years.’
Screwfix Direct Limited
Matt D’Arcy Whiskey Distillery
Crash Services Limited
Irish Football Association
The Old Bushmills Distillery Company Limited
- Acting for Rolex in relation to a trade mark infringement and passing off claim.
- Advising the IFA in relation to various trade mark infringement matters.
- Acting for Matt D’Arcy Whiskey on UKIPO trade mark opposition proceedings.
Arthur Cox Belfast
Arthur Cox Belfast provides a complete coverage of IP issues, including transactional work and commercial agreements. Multiple high-profile public and corporate clients retain the firm for guidance on all IP aspects, such as trade marks, copyrights and patents, covering a diverse range of sectors. Department head Alan Taylor provides ‘exceptional legal advice‘ to clients, including major multinationals. Corporate partner Lynsey Mallon specialises in the technology, retail and public sectors, and works closely with Richard Armstrong, who made partner in January 2022. Associate Erin Carruthers is a name to note.
Other key lawyers:
Lynsey Mallon; Richard Armstrong; Erin Carruthers
‘Always available and supporting our needs no matter what the query is. From the senior management down we get excellent attention and service.’
‘Alan Taylor – exceptional legal advice, but on top of this relates it all to our business challenges/opportunities and makes us think about the decisions we are making in a different way before we make the final decision.’
‘Erin Carruthers – strong attention to detail on the work we have undertaken together and turns requests around quickly without needing significant guidance.’
‘The people are good at working with the client to understand what we need and explaining the risks.’
‘Their ability to find alternatives ways to doing things when required, rather than just going with the standard approach.’
Tiger Global Internet Fund VII Pte Ltd
The Mount Charles Group Limited
Musgrave Retail Partners NI Limited
Department of Finance (LPS)
Peleton Interactive, Inc.
Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute
Flutter Entertainment plc
- Acted for the Hastings Hotels Group on the sale of the world renowned Slieve Donard Hotel Resort and Spa to an international US-based purchaser.
- Advise Americold Group on an ongoing basis in relation to its intellectual property matters and branding.
- Advised Tiger Global Internet Fund VII Pte Ltd, a US investment firm with global reach, on its recent investment and purchase of shares in Cloudsmith Ltd, a Northern Irish software company.
Carson McDowell is active on a wide range of high-value contentious and non-contentious matters, covering multiple sectors such as manufacturing, education, pharmaceuticals and sport. The firm is particularly active in the technology sector, with clients including software, agri-tech and fin-tech companies. Declan Magee and Dawn McKnight form the head duo, with Magee acting on a broad range of IP disputes, particularly patent litigation, while McKnight, who is described as an ‘outstanding professional‘, covers non-contentious matters within the department. Peter Guzhar is another key name thanks to his wealth of experience in the prosecution and defence of trade mark and patent infringement cases.
Declan Magee; Dawn McKnight
Other key lawyers:
‘The practice contains laywers that know their information on the top of their head.’
‘I would highly recommend this company to anyone, especially the smaller businesses as the value returned surpasses the costs.’
‘Dawn is approachable, on time and highly organisdd and motivated. She understands our business and IP even though it is not necessarily tangible.’
‘For such a large company, I get a boutique service. They have a can do attitude and are very accommodating with their time. Throughout the pandemic their service levels remained very high.’
‘Dawn McKnight is an outstanding professional, always “free” with her experience, prompt with her turnaround and knowledgeable about the specific nuances.’
‘One of the few genuinely expert firms in IP in NI.’
‘Peter Guzhar is one of the top litigation solicitors in NI.’
University of Ulster
Innovation Ulster Limited
Royal Portrush Golf Club
AquaQ Analytics Limited
- Advising Arc Regulatory on the IP-related aspects of its arrangements with AstraZeneca, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Bristol-Myer Squibb and Roche Molecular.
- Advising MOF Technologies on protection of its IP when contracting with the likes of BASF Se in Germany.
- Advising Ulster University on the commercialisation of its IP portfolio whether via academic/commercial collaborations, technology transfers and spin-out companies.
Millar McCall Wylie LLP
Millar McCall Wylie LLP is developing a strong IP practice in film and television, in addition to its existing specialisms in manufacturing, technology, and software. Corporate partner Damian McParland advises on intellectual property rights relating to investments and acquisitions across multiple sectors. Abbie Long is another name to note.
Other key lawyers:
Damian McParland; Abbie Long
‘Excellent capability in the firm for IP.’
‘Knowledgeable and professional in this area, which gives confidence to the client.’
‘They look to develop a partnership with their clients, and really understand the business they are advising on.’
Learning Pool Limited
Cirdan Imaging Limited
Causeway Sensors Limited
Northern Ireland Screen
Mills Selig is active on IP issues relating to a broad range of sectors, with a special focus on patent litigation. Their aptitude for contentious work has been bolstered this year with the promotion of commercial litigator Kirsten Magee to practice co-head alongside Emma Hunt and Glenn Watterson. Hunt brings experience in copyright, patent and trade mark disputes, while Watterson is mostly active in an advisory role for corporate IP matters.
Emma Hunt; Kirsten Magee; Glenn Watterson
‘Mills Selig were recommended to us and in our initial discussions demonstrated an extensive knowledge of the particular technology problem we had encountered.’
‘The representative listened to our problem and devised a number of potential solutions. Outlined the potential costs for us and came in within the agreed budget in a timely manner.’
Valsoft Corporation, Inc
FD Technologies PLC
- Instructed by the intended defendant in proceedings threatened by their competitor in which it is alleged that a particular machine manufactured by our client uses technology which is protected by their patent.
- Acting on behalf of the plaintiff company that claims infringement of its patent by an NI-based manufacturer of circuit boards, with similar proceedings ongoing in the USA.
- Instructed to act on behalf of Valsoft Corporation Inc. (Valsoft), a Canadian-based company specialising in the acquisition and development of vertical market software businesses, on the acquisition of Fluent Technology.
Tughans fields an IP practice with a focus on technology, which primarily covers licensing and IP contracts. The firm receives instructions from global and domestic clients, including NI start-ups, and has been the lead IP advisor for the Randox Group in the UK. Team head Adrian O’Connell is active in multiple technology-adjacent sectors, including healthcare and retail. He is supported by Andrew Kirke, who brings experience in trade mark matters and licensing agreements.
Other key lawyers:
‘Knowledgeable and trusted people.’
‘Friendly and approachable manner.’
Fusion Antibodies PLC
Overwatch Research Limited
Tobermore Concrete Products
Fourds t/a BLOC
RMS t/a Pivotal
- Acted for MOF Technologies Limited on several bespoke IP-related contracts, including assisting with the drafting of template materials transfer and testing agreements, collaboration agreements and supply contracts.
- Advised Fourds Limited on its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and on its recent acquisition of FAST Technologies, an IP-heavy industrial-focused company.
- Assisting new client SSE Airtricity as one of five Northern Irish utilities and taking part in a joint procurement exercise for a high value multi-lot framework agreement.
Cleaver Fulton Rankin
Cleaver Fulton Rankin act on both contentious and non-contentious matters, and are particularly active in the technology and software sector. The team is co-led by litigator Michael King, who is experienced in contentious IP, and corporate partner Paul McBride, who joined the firm from Davidson McDonnell Solicitors in January 2022.
Michael King; Paul McBride
Other key lawyers:
National Museums Northern Ireland
Effidac Ltd t/a Truestock
Phion Therapeutics Limited
Grays Clip Limited
Photonic Measurements Limited
Klas Therapeutics Limited
Regen Robotics Limited
- Advised a local non-profit organisation in relation to a website design and development.
- Advised a local business specialising in consultancy work within the financial regulation sphere, in relation to an arrangement that it wished to put in place with a partner.
- Provided advice and assistance to Linen Hall Library in relation to the implementation of a major project to make content available to an online audience.
Lewis Silkin, which merged with local firm Forde Campbell LLC in early 2022, fields a multi-disciplinary team with significant experience in IP matters. Team lead Mathew Forde has a strong history of commercial litigation, and acts on trade secret, copyright, trade marks and other IP infringement cases. Forde is supported by Rory Campbell, who advises a diverse range of clients on non-contentious matters, and Katey Dixon, who specialises in the creative and design sector.
Other key lawyers:
Rory Campbell; Katey Dixon
Lynn’s Country Foods t/a Finnebrogue
Luke Irwin Rugs Limited
Glens of Antrim Potatoes Limited
Paper Owl Ltd
- Advises leading assistive learning software developer Texthelp on intellectual property strategy and on the management and protection of product brands.
- Advise Northern Irish food producer Finnebrogue on brand, reputation management, IP ownership and licensing issues intergroup.
- Provide advice to rug design company Luke Irwin on design and brand protection and licensing issues.