Claire Smith > Bristows LLP > London, England > Lawyer Profile

Bristows LLP

Living Wage

Work Department

Commercial IP


Claire specialises in commercial and intellectual property transactions, most notably in the life sciences, technology, media and consumer product sectors.

Claire advises on a wide variety of commercial and IP transactions (the large majority of which are cross-border) and on corporate and investment deals where IP is an important asset.
Before becoming a lawyer, Claire spent a number of years working for Abbott Laboratories’ medical device business. Since being at Bristows, Claire has also spent time seconded to the in-house legal team of a leading global pharmaceutical company. She is also a member of the UK Bio Industry Association’s Intellectual Property Advisory Committee.

Examples of her recent experience include advising:

  • pharmaceutical, biotech, medical device and digital health companies on joint ventures, R&D collaborations, strategic partnerships and licensing deals (with commercial and academic partners) to bring novel treatments and devices to market
  • leading pharmaceutical companies on acquisitions and disposals of rights in medicinal products and the sale of manufacturing and packaging facilities
  • multinational companies on key COVID-19 projects, including collaborations relating to a multijurisdictional clinical trial for a COVID-19 vaccine, and setting up and operating a COVID-19 testing facility
  • SMEs and international organisations on development, services, manufacturing, supply and distribution agreements for a wide range of pharmaceutical, industrial and consumer products
  • a fast-growing start-up on the IP and commercial arrangements relating to the creation, protection and exploitation of a new children’s character.


Qualified 2003
Partner 2019




Claire is currently serving as a member of the BioIndustry Association’s Intellectual Property Advisory Committee (IPAC) and it’s Artificial Intelligence (AI) sub-committee.


University of Oxford (MA, Law)
Diploma in Intellectual Property Law and Practice, University of Bristol.


Adventure travel, movies, live music and flying helicopters

Lawyer Rankings

London > Corporate and commercial > Commercial contracts

With substantial expertise in the technology and healthcare sectors, Bristows LLP handles a broad range of commercial mandates, with particular experience in the commercial exploitation of IP rights, the competition and tax elements of technology deals, and regulatory mandates. The team’s healthcare knowledge has recently led to a raft of Covid-related work; the group advised the University of Oxford on a research collaboration and licence agreement with AstraZeneca for a vaccine. Matthew Warren leads the practice, which also includes recently promoted partner Claire Smith and Richard Dickinson, who joined from Arnold & Porter in 2020.

London > Industry focus > Life sciences and healthcare

(Next Generation Partners)

Claire SmithBristows LLP

The ‘exceptionally high quality’ life sciences practice at Bristows LLP offers a cohesive multi-disciplinary team advising on a broad range of complex regulatory and transactional work. The team is highly recommended for multi-jurisdictional M&A and investment. Liz Cohen has a strong record of coordinating cross-border patent litigation, and is known for handling cases involving sophisticated scientific concepts. She jointly heads the group with Richard Dickinson, who focuses on IP and commercial transactions, particularly licensing, distribution, manufacturing and supply agreements. Claire Smith is similarly noted for her commercial IP experience, while Robert Burrows‘ PhD in molecular genetics equips him to undertake technically challenging cases. Alex Denoon leads the firm’s stand-out regulatory practice, and is particularly sought after by clients specialising in disruptive technologies such as genomics, companion diagnostics, cell therapies and tissue and cells borderline products.

London > TMT (technology, media and telecoms) > Intellectual property: trade marks, copyright and design

The team at Bristows LLP has exceptional capabilities in trade mark litigation, with Jeremy Blum and co-head Simon Clark leading on high-profile passing off disputes for international entertainment, pharmaceuticals and retail companies. Clark also takes the lead on digital copyright, design and data disputes, including recent law-making litigation surrounding the use of website cookies. Paul Jordan specialises in brand protection work for creative and print media companies; co-head Ian Gruselle’s trade mark portfolio practice contributes to the 360-degree approach on this front. The extensive transactional IP bench consists of devoted partners Claire Smith, co-head Matthew Warren and Richard Dickinson. The firm advises leading global brands in luxury retail, consumer electronics, FMCG and hi-tech on licensing and collaboration agreements, R&D and brand exploitation exercises. Paul Walsh has retired from the partnership, but remains at the firm on a consultancy basis.

London > TMT (technology, media and telecoms) > Intellectual property: patents (contentious and non-contentious)

(Next Generation Partners)

Claire SmithBristows LLP

Bristows LLP fields one of the most extensive patent litigation benches in Europe, housing impressive names including co-heads Andrew Bowler and Myles Jelf (‘Absolutely exceptional. Hugely experienced in international patent litigation‘). Other key names include Dominic Adair, ‘brilliant tacticianBrian Cordery, Liz Cohen, Robert Burrows and Gemma Barrett. Life sciences is a focus, however the technical backgrounds of the ‘exceptionally smartJames Boon, Richard Pinckney, associate Naomi Hazenberg and others are also applied to disputes in the telecoms, aerospace and renewable energy sectors. The transactional offering led by Matthew Warren (who runs high-value licensing agreements in the life sciences and technology sectors) continues to expand: Richard Dickinson and numerous associates joined from Arnold & Porter, further strengthening the life sciences expertise. Also a highly regarded patent transactions lawyer, Claire Smith is a leader in the field of DNA-sequencing technology. The team advised on the University of Oxford’s landmark R&D agreement with AstraZeneca to manufacture and commercialise a Covid-19 vaccine.