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United Kingdom > Scotland > TMT (technology, media and telecoms) > Intellectual property > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

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  1. Intellectual property
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals

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Who Represents Who

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Brodies LLP’s team houses ‘among the best and most experienced contentious IP practitioners’, in addition to having a thriving non-contentious practice. Its work covers copyright, trade mark and patent law in a variety of sectors, such as luxury brands, oil and gas, renewables, life sciences and financial services. The ‘knowledgeable and personable’ Gill Grassie leads the IP dispute resolution practice, and has a strong track record representing clients in patent infringement and validity cases as well as brand and trade mark protection cases. ‘Hardworking and very able’ litigator Robert Buchan is ‘commercially minded and a joy to work with’; he has particular experience in cross-border patent and copyright infringement, entitlement and validity cases, often involving co-ordinating actions in national courts and IP offices. He is defending a major engineering company against a court action including allegations of copyright and database right infringements and the theft of confidential information. Non-contentious IP head Grant Campbell handles a wide spectrum of transactional and advisory work. Associate Shona Tennant is recommended for providing ‘good support’ as well as ‘a clear knowledge of IP law’. Clients include the University of Edinburgh, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Performing Rights Society for Music and the University of Edinburgh.

Burness Paull LLP’s ‘first-class’ contentious IP practice stands out for its substantial expertise in the pharmaceutical and life sciences sector, where it has handled a number of major trade mark and patent disputes. It also acts for high-profile clients in the fashion and TMT industries. Colin Hulme (the ‘oracle of Scottish IP’) leads on IP litigation and is representing AstraZeneca Group in four patent litigation cases at the Court of Session, concerning three of the client’s patents and an action for declaratory non-infringement in relation to one of the patents, brought by a supplier of generic medicines to the NHS, securing an interim interdict for all three patents in November 2017. Hulme continues to manage Sky’s copyright enforcement programme across Scotland, in addition to acting as general counsel to Harris Tweed Authority in relation to the registration and enforcement of its global trade mark portfolio. Callum Sinclair leads on non-contentious matters, notably supporting Renfrewshire Council on its IP strategy in connection with the Paisley 2021 UK City of Culture bid. The ‘business-focused’ David Goodbrand advised Standard Life Aberdeen on IP matters arising from its acquisition of Jones Sheridan Holdings. Neeraj Thomas is noted for his ‘expert knowledge and tenacity’ in the contentious IP space.

Pinsent Masons LLP handles the full range of contentious and non-contentious IP work for national and international clients. The group’s expertise covers a variety of key Scottish industries, including energy, food and drink, life sciences, technology and financial services. ‘Star lawyer’ Chris Martin gives ‘consistently good advice’ and specialises in advising HE institutions on IP matters. He is currently assisting Edinburgh Business School with a range of issues, including historic IP arrangements with academic staff, the preparation and implementation of a new IP policy and a new IP model for commissioning course content from third-party providers. Jim Cormack is defending the Falkland Islands government against a claim brought in the Supreme Court by Geophysical Service in relation to an allegation of copyright infringement in seismic data. He is also representing Teva UK in a dispute with AstraZeneca in relation to the validity of three of the defendant’s patents. Legal director David Woods advises RSA on strategic and clearance matters in relation to proposed new brands, domain name dispute recovery and trade mark infringement issues. Legal director George Campbell heads the non-contentious IP practice.

Providing ‘an excellent level of service’, the team at CMS is noted for handling contentious and non-contentious IP mandates in the life sciences and healthcare, higher education, entertainment and energy sectors. Practice leader Laurence Ward continues to assist the Scottish Event Campus with a range of matters in relation to SSE Hydro, including drafting, negotiating and advising on sponsorship agreements with A.G. Barr, Cadbury’s and Clydesdale Bank, in addition to image rights agreements with Royal Mail for the use of the Armadillo building on a stamp. Carina Healy is advising cell and gene therapy company, Sympromics, on deals with multiple US partners, including development agreements to endure the protection of proprietary technology. She is also advising MacRebur on the implications of various supply agreements for the client’s pending patents. Senior associate Jennifer Barr is recommended for ‘an outstanding ability to turn commercial aspirations into contracts’.

Dentons’ full-service IP practice has particular strength in matters pertaining to the food and drink industry, life sciences and branding, for which it is able to ‘quickly identify key issues in complex situations’. Practice head Alison Bryce advises UK and international clients on all non-contentious IP matters, such as licensing deals, portfolio acquisitions, investments and joint ventures. She recently assisted Kings Landing with its acquisition of the IP portfolio of Jaeger and QUIZ on all IP and commercial contract aspects of its £200m Alternative Investment Market (AIM) listing. The ‘approachable’ Ross Nicol advised Stagecoach Group on branding issues arising from its partnership with South Gloucestershire Bus and Coach Company. Alongside Corinne Ward and the ‘knowledgeable’ Susan Snedden, he advised STV Productions on various matters, including content-related IP and data protection issues and matters concerning a proposed appointment of a new distributor.

DLA Piper Scotland LLP is marked out by its transactional and advisory IP practice, but it also handles contentious matters for a variety of corporates. Highlights for practice head, John McKinlay, include advising Merlin Entertainments, which instructs the firm on all of its IP matters, on image rights for Madame Tussauds; licensing issues for CBeebies Hotel; IP licenses for theme park attractions such as Peppa Pig World; and multiple branding, advertising clearance and commercial IP issues. The firm is also sole legal adviser to Heineken UK and assisted it with a range of e-commerce deals and commercial contracts involving the use of IP rights, in addition to the management of its trade mark portfolio, including opposition and infringement claims. In another highlight, Alastair Drummond is representing the Football Association Premier League in interdictions against Scottish businesses showing the overseas broadcast of English Premier League matches on the basis of copyright infringement. Other clients include Skyscanner and Underbelly.

MacRoberts LLP’s ‘excellent’ team is noted for its ‘quick turnaround time’ and ability to ‘deal with complex issues in an efficient manner’. The group advises a mixture of corporations and government agencies on the range of IP issues, including licensing, protection, disputes, technology transfers, insolvencies and portfolio commercialisation, in addition to IP issues arising out of major procurement and implementation projects. Highlights for David Gourlay included advising the Scottish government’s Digital Directorate on the second phase of its CivTech project, which included contractual documentation, brand protection and international licensing arrangements. He also defended Brownings the Bakers in trade mark opposition proceedings brought by KFC concerning an application for its Killie pie mark. Euan Duncan is advising CCGH on licensing issues relating to its Vaporized brand, which operates a franchise model.

Shepherd and Wedderburn is noted for ‘sensible, efficient advice’, which is provided by individuals who demonstrate that they ‘know the practical realities of business as well as the legal necessities’. Joanna Boag-Thomson, who leads on patent and technology licensing, media and brand activation, is advising the Pernod Ricard group subsidiary, Chivas Brothers, on a number of matters, including the development of the La Distillerie Generale brand in France, which required distribution and co-branding agreements. She is also assisting Winduna on licensing agreements with Oxford University Press in relation to its production of an animated series based on the Winnie the Witch books. Paul Carlyle leads the media and technology team and assists the National Trust for Scotland with the protection of its trade mark portfolio. John MacKenzie is representing RSVP Design in trade mark infringement proceedings that the client raised against Future Factory, in the Court of Session, relating to its colourblind trade mark. ‘Extremely professional’ associate Ashley McLean is also recommended.

Thorntons Law LLP always ‘offers valuable advice’, and draws on ‘a wide breadth of knowledge’ of IP law. The team is led by Lesley Larg, who handles IP matters for a range of research institutions and universities, including the University of St Andrews, which she advised on international brand strategy and other aspects of its trade mark portfolio. She also assisted Glasgow Caledonian University with an IP assignation and revenue sharing agreement with a US spin-out company related to an app developed by academics at the university, relation to a US spin-out company for an app developed by academics at the university. In another highlight, Larg is representing Design Dundee in a complex a tri-partite agreement in connection with the opening exhibition at the V&A museum in Dundee. ‘Thorough and pragmatic’ commercial lawyer Liam McMonagle successfully secured a UK registered word mark for the People’s Postcode Lottery. Associate Gemma Kelly, who focuses on contentious IP, is recommended for being able to provide ‘excellent advice and support’.

Anderson Strathern’s team is led by Douglas McLachlan, who acted alongside James Blair for Rangers Football Club on a range of IP matters, including the protection, commercialisation and enforcement of its copyright and trade mark portfolios, in addition to IP litigation, sponsorship and software matters. McLachlan is also assisting the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland with media and IP matters, including in relation to a contract with STV for documentary filming and live broadcasts in relation to the birth of polar bear cubs at the Highland Wildlife Park, which will be broadcast on Channel 4. Simon Brown advised MyWay Digital Health on its spin-out from the University of Dundee, with respect to a licence agreement with the university and on contractual matters relating to the platform’s roll-out across the UK. Katrina Lumsdaine is co-ordinating counsel for the defence of Deepak Nitrate, in a complex trade mark dispute with Archroma IP, which is currently in a High Court litigation in London, with further litigation in the Munich High Court. Bruce Farquhar is another name to note.

Bonaccord’s IP practice is headed by founding partner Patricia Barclay; she is a 'top-class' and ‘business-savvy’ lawyer with ‘great industry knowledge’. The team is ‘very strong in the life sciences arena’ and provides ‘clear, simple and practical solutions’. The group is currently advising ExScientia on a collaboration to design patented compounds to order for Sanofi. It is also representing stem cell technology company, Censo, in connection with all IP matters linked to a series of commercialisation templates for the acquisition of human tissue for use in developing cell lines, in addition to negotiations with suppliers regarding the client’s downstream activities.

DWF is noted for its expertise in jurisdictional patent, trade mark and copyright portfolio protection and management, with particular strength in the food and drink, pharmaceutical, transport and energy sectors. Its client base includes a number of HE and FE establishments, for which it handles the range of IP work. Practice head Colin Miller advised Whitbread and Morrisons on separate brand protection matters relating to procurement contracts for water and waste services. He also advised Angostura on the protection of its product recipes and proposed distribution agreements in China. Martin Gallaher is advising the Scottish Government on the identification and protection of underlying intellectual property rights created by contractors working on the R100 broadband project. Paul Mason assisted Monsoon Accessorize with trade mark and copyright registrations following the appointment of the client as a concessionaire in both Glasgow and Edinburgh airports.

Harper Macleod LLP’s ‘professional and efficient’ team has a particularly strong profile in trade mark work, including prosecution, portfolio management, application filings and protection. ‘Sharp, pragmatic and creative’ practice head Jamie Watt is advising Celtic Football Club on its international registered trade mark portfolio, in addition to providing anti-counterfeiting assistance which involves working closely with Northern Ireland’s Border Force. The team is assisting multiple companies with IP strategy and audit work, funded through the Scottish Enterprise and the UK Intellectual Property Office scheme. As part of the firm’s broader work with Glasgow City Council in relation to the Glasgow 2018 European Championships, Tom Thomas is advising the client on all associated IP rights, including its brand protection and trade mark registration strategy. Scott Kerr is also recommended for his expertise in food and drink sector-related IP.

Morton Fraser’s practice is geared to the needs of IP producers, particularly in relation to clients in the life sciences sector, which it advises on University spin-outs, protection and commercialisation. It also handles due diligence mandates for lenders and potential investors, in addition to taking security over IP assets. Practice head Austin Flynn is advising Mercia Technologies plc on assignations and ownership rights of IP, in relation to its equity investment in a start-up technology company. Richard McMeeken leads on contentious IP matters, and has extensive experience in IP enforcement actions before the Court of Session in Edinburgh and the Supreme Court in London. Associate Julie Nixon is another key practitioner and is a former life scientist.

BTO Solicitors LLP’s full-service team handles the range of IP matters, including licensing agreements, but is most noted for its IP litigation practice, where it is often instructed on trade mark and copyright infringement, database infringement, restrictive covenant breaches, domain disputes, website IP disputes and content take-downs. Practice head, Paul Motion successfully represented Milton Hotels in a dispute in which a competitor had used an trade mark infringing internet domain name; a matter that was resolved after a complaint was raised under the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) disputes procedure.

TLT draws on its UK-wide office network to advise a variety of blue-chip clients on brand and portfolio management issues, in addition to handling IP disputes. The group is led by litigator John Paul Sheridan , who has substantial experience in copyright claims, on which he is currently advising a major national sports broadcaster in relation to broadcasting rights.

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