Intellectual Property

We seek to manage and mitigate risk and to maximise the return from intellectual property (IP) assets for the benefit of our clients. We advise on all aspects of the creation, exploitation and enforcement of IP rights.

Our clients operate in a wide range of industry sectors including pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and healthcare, financial institutions, technology, telecoms, media, sport, consumer goods and retail.

We handle:

  • disputes covering the full spectrum of intellectual property rights - these range from complex patent actions to all forms of dispute relating to trade marks, passing off, copyright, database rights, design rights and breach of confidence claims. Our experience encompasses multi-jurisdictional and domestic disputes at every level including proceedings in the High Court, Court of Appeal and the registries including the European Patent Office and the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO). We regularly advise on cross-border litigation strategy. We also advise on competition litigation, working with lawyers from our Competition group (Competition Litigation) and we have played an innovative role in developing competition law defences to patent infringement actions in the UK Courts
  • IP related agreements - these include trademark licensing, distribution agreements, sponsorship agreements and franchising deals. Our specialist Pharmaceuticals, Biotechnology and Healthcare team deals with licensing, collaboration and research and development agreements. We also provide strategic advice in managing and commercialising patent and trade mark portfolios
  • transactional work - which includes advising on mergers and acquisitions, disposals and joint ventures where technology or brands are integral to the transaction, structure or value. This may involve establishing sophisticated licensing structures, conducting complex due diligence exercises on very substantial portfolios of patents, trade marks and copyright works and advising on the creation and enforcement of security interests over IP assets

Partner Contacts

We were very impressed with their IP capabilities and personnel and think they did an outstanding job Chambers UK, 2016

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Our key experience includes advising:

Vestas-Celtic Wind Technology, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of wind turbines, in its successful defence against allegations of patent infringement brought by Aloys Wobben in the High Court and the invalidation of a number of patents.

GlaxoSmithKline on its agreement with Pfizer to create a new world-leading HIV company with a broad product portfolio of 11 marketed products and an industry-leading pipeline of 6 innovative and targeted medicines.

Unilever on the sale of its olive oil business including the worldwide licensing of the Bertolli brand and other local brands. Also advising Unilever on its acquisition of the worldwide Body Care and European Detergents business of Sara Lee Corporation, which included a number of brands such as Brylcreem, Radox and Sanex.

Marks and Spencer on an ongoing basis on their global franchising arrangements.

Arsenal Football Club on the 15 year stadium naming rights and eight year shirt sponsorship agreements with Emirates, the biggest single sponsorship arrangement in the history of English football. We further advised Arsenal in relation to the negotiation of a long-term kit sponsorship and supply agreement with NIKE and the development of an international enforcement strategy enabling Arsenal to manage routine IP enforcement.

Cadbury on its £58 million disposal of its Monkhill sugar confectionery business (brands including Barratt, Lion, Sharps and Butterkist) to Tangerine Confectionery Limited. The transaction also involved the cross-licensing of brands and manufacturing and distribution arrangements.

The International Trademark Association ("INTA") (through acting as Chair of INTA’s Europe Amicus subcommittee) in an innovative intervention in the Court of Appeal proceedings in Special Effects v L’Oréal.

Unilever on the IP aspects of its disposal of the majority of its European Frozen Foods Business to Permira Funds for EUR 1.725 billion, involving the sale of the Birds Eye brand and the cross-licensing of rights in Europe.

England and Wales Cricket Board on its major Sponsorship and Kit Supply Agreement with Adidas (UK) Limited.

Accsys Technologies and its subsidiary Titan Wood Limited on the worldwide exploitation of its patented technology for wood acetylation which is being licensed in various jurisdictions including with licensees in China, the UK and the Republic of Ireland. Accys is an environmental science and technology company.