Allen & Overy LLP
Allen & Overy has transformed its IP practice with the recent hire of several eminent practitioners – including patent and trademark specialists – from Simmons & Simmons. From a branding perspective, the arrival of David Stone
has been something of a coup: outstanding on trademarks and “without a shadow of doubt the thought leader on designs in Europe”, he is a “brilliant strategist who takes an aggressive but measured approach”. His soft skills are some of the best in the business, too; commentators call his client service “top drawer” and describe him as “incredibly personable”. He will fit right in, given the firm’s track record on complex IP disputes and transactions. The team that he joins is already stacked with talent. Accomplished litigator Neville Cordell
has been a partner here since 2009 and has taken the lead on much of its meatiest trademark-related work. “He is someone who you can rely on to know the answer to anything” and his practice is very diverse. He recently advised Virgin Media and Virgin Enterprises on a high-stakes trademark and comparative advertising dispute with British Telecommunications, and prepared a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority on behalf of SC Johnson against cleaning product supplier Challs. Jim Ford
and Nigel Parker
anchor a standout transactions practice. Ford’s management of large-scale rights transfers is flawless;he recently safeguarded the passage of approximately 38,000 IP rights from TE Connectivity to CommScope, which purchased TE’s broadband network services business. Parker has a talent for helping brand owners to expand in their respective markets; a recent demonstration of this came when he acted for Philippines brandy maker Emperador Group on its acquisition of various assets from Beam Suntory, paving the way for a lucrative European business.
Baker McKenzie LLP
“While giving clients a single relationship point, Baker McKenzie has an established capacity to provide multi-jurisdictional solutions and thinking. Its London IP department is, in the trademark area, a market leader for its expertise and innovation. It is very user friendly and shows a willingness to adapt to how you want your external counsel relationship to be.” A dynamic team of over 30 fee earners is headed by Michael Hart
, the trusted confidant of many an industry leader. Alongside Jessica Le Gros
and Michelle Blunt
, he manages the global portfolio of HSBC. Nothing escapes the attention of Le Gros, who heads the trademark group and is a key contact within the context of the firm’s unique global managed services model. She also counts British American Tobacco, Unilever and Dreamworks Animation as clients. Commercial IP specialist Blunt leads the transactional practice and has a sixth sense for keeping track of the intellectual property in orbit around transformative deals; brand disposals and acquisitions for Unilever have been keeping her busy. All five partners on the team make it into the WTR 1000
, reflecting the group’s strength in depth. Paul Rawlinson
has been integral in turning Baker McKenzie into the global trademark powerhouse that it is today. “He brings long-term strategic insight and a keen feel for what is commercially important to your company.” He has “brilliant negotiation skills” and is “always calm and pragmatic”. Life sciences don Hiroshi Sheraton
combines exceptional patent and trademark expertise in his international contentious practice; he also provides invaluable insight at the intersection of IP and competition law.
Bear & Wolf
Bear & Wolf flies under the radar, but its trademark offering is unique and certainly worth a look for brand owners in search of a fresh perspective. “The team has an unconventional way of thinking and performing, which is informal and very business oriented.” Its unstinting commitment to the brand protection cause also wins it many fans. A compact boutique, it nonetheless deftly manages large portfolios – rapid response times instil clients with confidence that their prized intangible assets are in safe hands. Beyond legal work, it can also help to launch, distinguish and protect brands. Simon Tracey
and Mark Heritage
act for a diverse client roster that includes Agatha Christie Limited, ASSOS and Monster Energy – as well as iconic artists including Lady Gaga, Beyoncé and Kanye West. Tracey makes for a staunch ally who likes to be there in the trenches with clients. His expertise is global and encompasses prosecution, exploitation, litigation and anti-counterfeiting. Heritage gives “solid advice” and has “unbeatable charisma”.
Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP
“Berwin Leighton Paisner isn’t a boring, dusty City firm – it lives in today’s world and is right on top of everything in a way that is so refreshing.” It is a pioneer among commercial law firms for its integration of the talents of solicitors and trademark attorneys, and adroitly handles both prosecution and litigation. For further proof of its innovative credentials and willingness to do things a little differently, just look at its new Lawyers On Demand service, which offers in-house professionals a comprehensive menu of choices, allowing them to overcome burdensome costing issues and find the right fit in terms of expertise. The group’s trademark work is cutting edge, too; in one of its biggest recent cases, it successfully defended Frazer-Nash Research and Ecotive against claims that they had infringed the trademark for LTC’s London taxi design by launching a new eco-friendly black cab. In the spotlight on this one, Simon Clark
gets a great deal of credit. “Simon has always been a very entrepreneurial thinker and someone unafraid to break new ground – for example, in terms of pricing solutions.” “He is exceptionally bright – you can talk to him about any legal matter, not just intellectual property. Very approachable and easy to deal with, he gets back to you within minutes, even though he is enormously busy. He is a key figure in terms of what is happening in the City.” Clark heads the IP group, while Ian Gruselle
takes the reins of the brand management and trademark group. Gruselle makes the task of managing large international portfolios look easy and is thoroughly invested in clients’ worldwide success. He has landed some big fish recently; Danone instructed him to represent it before the UK Intellectual Property Office and the EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) in oppositions. Key figures within the data and IP practices Tamara Quinn
and Ian De Freitas
add further senior-level depth. Quinn inks lucrative IP deals on the daily, while De Freitas effortlessly dispatches data and reputational issues.
Bird & Bird LLP
Bird & Bird has “probably the strongest IP brand in the UK legal services market”. A major storyline has been the striking growth of its prosecution practice, which complements its formidable contentious capabilities superbly. Brand owners large and small, domestic and foreign, find all their routine matters handled efficiently on an international basis, while also taking comfort from the team’s insight on exam-type questions and shrewd strategic guidance. Allan Poulter
has been the key to unlocking so much prosecution potential. “He is one of the top counsellors in the United Kingdom in terms of practicality and ability to see the big picture.” “A commercial, no-nonsense guy”, he is “a real expert on European trademark registration”. Together with the “client-focused and practical” Katherine Stephens
, he advises Philip Morris International on a variety of branding, regulatory and design issues. Mark Holah
added serious firepower to the practice when he joined in 2015. “Among the best trademark lawyers in London, Mark has a great handle on international law – it makes him efficient and cost effective, as he often cuts out your need to go to local lawyers in other countries.” His refined strategies go down a storm with the likes of Fabergé, whose global portfolio he manages, together with complex multi-jurisdictional disputes. Meanwhile, the contentious section keeps humming. Hard-hitting High Court litigation is par for the course for Peter Brownlow
and his crew. He and Nick Aries
– a new addition to this year’s WTR 1000
– acted for ASSOS in its much-publicised pan-European infringement dispute with ASOS. The two also joined up to secure a win for German pharmaceutical giant Merck in a spat with Merck Sharp & Dohme. “Where there’s big-ticket litigation in the United Kingdom, you’ll find Peter Brownlow.” “Vastly experienced” and an “utter gentleman”, he is a “first-class litigator” and “simply the best trademark solicitor in the business”. Newly minted partner Aries “understands your business” and is “willing to roll up his sleeves and work incredibly hard”. “He is a real team player and great at interacting with barristers and other lawyers outside his firm, as well as his own colleagues. He asks all the right questions and is legally brilliant, too.” Transactional work is yet another forte for the firm, which has franchising virtuoso Mark Abell
based in its London office.
Blake Morgan’s in-depth understanding of the charities sector sets it apart on the highly competitive UK trademark scene. It strikes a fine balance, representing non-profits in a commercially astute way, but without being heavy handed – a feat that it repeats for its many public sector and higher-education patrons. It acts for a slew of heavyweight corporates too, including the likes of leading online sports retailer Wiggle and cosmetics e-business feelunique. Operating flawlessly across the contentious/non-contentious divide, it has cultivated a well-balanced practice, making it a cost-effective out-of-London destination for one-stop shopping. Jill Bainbridge
garners rave reviews for her astute management of the IP group and trademark prosecution unit. Barristers comment that “she has a great feel for litigation” and “knows how it all works”, and praise her “sensible” advice and sweeping IP know-how. “She also has good juniors backing her up” – one of whom is rising star Ben Evans
. The dual-qualified solicitor and trademark attorney is “practical, business minded and timely, and represents good value for money”.
“You see people’s true colours in highly charged contentious scenarios and Bristows covers itself in glory.” “There is no question about it being the best when it comes to trademark litigation.” In Paul Walsh
, the group has a masterful litigator with abundant experience in high-stakes suits and a devoted client following. “His straightforward and plain-speaking style is great – nothing is ever over-engineered or over-complicated – and he presents his advice in a very clear and commercial manner. He is top class in the world of contentious trademark work.” In recent years, he has acted for Cadbury at UK and EU levels to prevent Nestlé’s registration of the shape of the Kit Kat bar; things came to a head in 2016 when the High Court ruled in his client’s favour. By his side on this one was Jeremy Blum
, “an excellent up-and-coming partner who applies a business lens to his advice and who really invests in the client relationship”. Disputes group head Theo Savvides
has also been battling away on bet-the-farm litigation lately, most notably representing Marks & Spencer in its clash with Interflora. An inspiring leader, “he is particularly good at getting the very best out of his team”. Bristows is “a first-class firm from start to finish” and runs a tight prosecution ship to boot. Paul Jordan
brings a hawk’s eye for quality to the development of large UK and international trademark portfolios. Notable recent projects include a global portfolio review for Royal Mail, including its Parcelforce brand. At the same time, he has continued to do great things for McDonald’s and the InterContinental Hotels Group, among many others. “He is very good at creating personal relationships and has a practical way of looking at things – he won’t let you travel in a direction that won’t be beneficial to your business.” Also on hand is transactions guru Laura Anderson
, “an extremely proficient licensing practitioner with an excellent understanding of brand commercialisation”.
Browne Jacobson LLP
The future looks bright for Browne Jacobson: it recently recorded one of the highest (non-merger) growth percentages of all UK law firms and bagged the Best Managed National Firm award from the Managing Partners’ Forum. Intellectual property – particularly trademarks – is a central plank of its full-service offering and the young, ambitious and dedicated team has been buzzing this past year. On the contentious front, it acted for the London Taxi Corporation in its spat with Frazer-Nash Research Limited and Ecotive – a multi-layered dispute of significant legal and public interest. On the frontlines was Mark Daniels
, an all-round IP litigator who “delivers high-quality work with exceptional cost effectiveness”. Litigation is by no means the only game in town for the dynamic ensemble, which also boasts thriving brand consultation and monetisation practices. Head honcho Declan Cushley
is “a real authority in respect of any trademark matter, contentious or non-contentious”. “He has tailored the group to deliver an excellent service, while charging considerably less than many of its competitors.” Peers praise his “commercially focused approach” and “ability to advise on how companies can significantly improve their internal systems”. Artfully blending his advertising, marketing, brand strategy, sponsorship and contracts expertise into the practice, Alex Watt
brings an extra dimension to the set. He gets to work on myriad novel briefs; for example, he advises iconic British motorcycle maker Triumph on unique brand activations. Peers think highly of his “excellent management skills”.
Burges Salmon LLP
Burges Salmon garners extensive acclaim from those who know it best. “The entire team is incredibly reliable, works hard and responds quickly and clearly – and has rates that are favourable when compared with their London peers.” “Very user friendly, it doesn’t overcomplicate things, but thinks about the world in the same way as you do.” Contentious and transactional maven Jeremy Dickerson
“cuts to the heart of issues and is really commercial” – an approach that he has instilled in the group he manages. Starbucks is one of his many A-list patrons; he handles its trademark portfolio and provides all of its UK clearance guidance, as well as advising it on many a trademark infringement issue arising domestically. The Bristol-based lawyer regularly attracts instructions that might otherwise go to one of London’s top names and recently rolled up his sleeves for Victoria’s Secret to appeal a High Court ruling that it had infringed Thomas Pink’s trademarks. “He keeps himself up to date in more than just a pedestrian way on all breaking cases, which is very helpful indeed.” When it comes to IP transactions of any description, you can always trust the advice and judgement of Helen Scott-Lawler
. Most lately, she masterminded a cutting-edge joint venture agreement between the University of Bristol and Bristol City Council to develop an open programmable city. She also continues to represent the RAC on large IP development projects.
Charles Russell Speechlys LLP
With its full-bore trademark service and penetrating insight in ancillary areas such as reputation management, Charles Russell Speechlys is an enticing one-stop shop; it lets nothing slip through the cracks when it comes to protecting brand owners and augmenting their competitive advantage. Intimately familiar with what it takes to make brands tick, it is a go-to for portfolio clean-up and management briefs. At the same time, it can bring serious heat in the courtroom and attracts glowing reviews from top-level barristers in the process. One QC calls Mary Bagnall
“absolutely exceptional”, adding: “She is more knowledgeable about trademark law than any other solicitor I know, particularly when it comes to non-traditional marks, and she is extremely careful in the way that she goes through all the documentation. A lot of what she does never hits the court, but that speaks highly of her skills.” On the prosecution end, Institute of Trademark Attorneys president Kate O’Rourke
is “firing on all cylinders”. “She gives no-nonsense advice and takes a commercial approach,” and is “incredibly sharp and up to speed on all developments in the law and practice”. Interviewees note that “she always has a smile on her face” and describe her as a delight to work with. The sharp licensing and merchandising savvy of transactional IP lawyer Jennifer Pierce
adds another string to the firm’s bow. Pierce has a fine-grained understanding of the key issues at play in the fashion, design and education sectors.
The cross-border capabilities of CMS are a boon for brand owners looking to safeguard and enforce rights globally. Its Central and Eastern European network is especially robust and a mark of distinction from other international players based in the United Kingdom. The ace up its sleeve in London is head of intellectual property Tom Scourfield
. Adept at just about everything surrounding the protection, enforcement and commercialisation of brands, the solicitor advocate is nevertheless best known for his contentious nous and ability to pursue infringers through both civil and criminal channels. Foreign associates describe him as “reliable and consistent, quality focused, diligent and committed”, as well as “friendly and down to earth”.
Cooley takes a bow in the WTR 1000
UK listings for the first time this year. Nick Bolter
has built something special in the form of an integrated prosecution and litigation practice which is perfectly geared up to cater to the European needs of US patrons. Leading from the front, Bolter has drilled his team to be super-responsive and step inside the shoes of clients in order to understand their business. One blue-chip calls him “an elite member of our outside counsel ‘inner circle’” and a “creative problem solver who provides timely, commercial and practical advice”. For foreign associates, he is “a true leader within the UK trademark bar” who “commands the respect of some of the world’s most sophisticated brands”. He is always on the grind for Amazon and its affiliates – including Amazon Studios, which he recently advised on title selection for television shows. He has also been busy with Timberland of late, assisting it with a three-dimensional and colour EU trademark application for the shape of its wheat-yellow six-inch boot. An avid car enthusiast, he is in his element acting for Tesla Motors.
The very definition of a global firm, Dentons is always making shrewd new moves; in 2016 it made its first incursion into Latin America through a merger with Colombia’s Cárdenas & Cárdenas. Intellectual property figures prominently in its expansion plans – its new Colombian partner, for example, is gold ranked in this year’s WTR 1000
. Back in London, John Linneker
anchors “an excellent group of talented individuals”. He can be counted on for “very insightful and intelligent advice”. Contentious work in any form is his forte, but he also wins plaudits for his domain name and cybersquatting expertise.
DLA Piper UK LLP
A centrepiece of DLA Piper’s global IP group, the copper-bottomed UK trademark team is a pivot for many a key client with intercontinental branding needs. It recently further bolstered its outstanding portfolio of patrons in the food and beverage sector, landing a household name brewery. It is also an astute recruiter, – most notably hiring WTR 1000
debutant Désirée Fields
just under two years ago. The “approachable and efficient” brand protection specialist earns commendations for coordinating global clearance searches and filings “with a commercial and pragmatic approach”, and has augmented a growing UK and EU prosecution team. On the contentious front, the team continues to do great things. Ruth Hoy
has been enforcing the rights of Hermes International; John Wilks
has been charting a steady course for Callaway Golf through various tricky opposition proceedings; while Chris Tulley
– together with Hoy and Wilks – has acted for Avon on oppositions. “Ruth and her team recognise what your business needs are and adapt their approach accordingly. She demonstrates exceptional knowledge and is efficient, and she really looks after junior lawyers.” “John Wilks is extremely thorough and gives clear and sensible advice. He is a pleasure to work with.” Leeds-based Tulley employs a deft touch on brand protection, exploitation and enforcement briefs; he is a Swiss Army knife of a trademark lawyer who can get you through any scrape. Embodying the firm’s commitment to intellectual property, media and IP authority Simon Levine
holds the title of global co-cheif executive officer.
Fieldfisher has the size, resources and multi-jurisdictional expertise to safeguard prestigious brands, which is why it continues to bring heavyweights on board; it recently won a competitive tender to advise Dixons Carphone, for example. It also has the full-scope prosecution, litigation and transactional capabilities that marquee brand owners are looking for. One client enthuses: “The firm can bring structure to your IP portfolio and direct overall strategy at an international level, while dealing with any infringement actions. It really understands business and what is – and isn’t – important from that perspective.” “One of the most professional people you could hope to work with”, Leighton Cassidy
“understands all the issues surrounding trademark law in an international complex, as well as the complexities of dealing with multinationals and their specific needs”. He heads up a “deep, proactive and responsive team” which is “incredibly dialled in on the key issues, such that not even the smallest detail gets past it”. One member making a name for himself is Hastings Guise
, who “brings to the table a very detailed analysis of any situation” and “an ability to frame his strategic advice around a business understanding”. Dual qualified as a solicitor and trademark attorney, he maintains a broad practice, although most of his work involves disputes of one kind or another. Captaining the IP and technology dispute resolution group, Nick Rose
is a smart choice on any high-stakes spat, given his “wonderfully nimble mind”. “He puts clients at ease and is comfortable imparting difficult advice.” He has lately been acting for Karen Millen Fashions in a widely covered international case against individual Karen Denise Millen concerning the rights in the KAREN MILLEN marks outside Europe. Transactional matters are overseen by franchising and licensing guru David Bond
– a man you can trust to successfully handle any strategically significant expansion.
Fox Williams LLP
The compact size of the Fox Williams trademark unit works to its advantage in terms of leanness, flexibility and cost effectiveness, while wide-ranging expertise ensures that it punches significantly above its weight. An intuitive understanding of branding in the fashion industry sets it apart from the pack; founding partner and WTR 1000
newcomer Stephen Sidkin
heads the commercial and technology department and is the key contact point for clients in the sector, particularly when it comes to agency, supply, franchising and licensing agreements. IP group leader Simon Bennett
likewise caters ably to the brand protection and enforcement needs of fashion companies. “The support and level of service that Simon and his team offer are outstanding. He provides sound, practical advice and is highly dependable. His sense of urgency and comprehensive approach make him a great fit, and having him on side gives you peace of mind.” With a reputation for telling it like it is, he is widely appreciated for being straight with clients.
Wragge Lawrence Graham’s merger with Gowlings brings a new international IP titan to the UK market; the former supplied the European and Asian firepower, while the latter brought dominance of the Canadian and Russian markets. The combined entity has also since made strategic inroads in the Middle East, hiring gifted trademark lawyer Jon Parker to spearhead expansion in Dubai. It does no trademark filing in Europe, leaving it free to throw its full weight into must-win litigation in the region. Its crack contentious squad includes “fantastic” Gordon Harris
and Alexandra Brodie
, as well as Kate Swaine
and Cerryg Jones
. They work well as a team, but each garners excellent individual feedback. London’s Gordon Harris “has brilliant ideas on strategy”, which he executes smartly in hotly contested disputes. “Extremely sensible and constructive” technology sector group chair Brodie has proved her mettle in crucial patent and trademark disputes. Swaine “gives you a straight answer to your questions and is highly knowledgeable, effective, proactive, practical and commercial”. Keeping clients out of court is a badge of honour for the UK trademark team leader, who has the magic touch coordinating global enforcement programmes. “Cerryg Jones puts his heart and soul into his work and is a consummate expert who really cares for his clients.” Like Swaine, he is a master of risk management.
Herbert Smith Freehills LLP
While Herbert Smith handles prosecution through its Australian offices, its UK IP team is nonetheless in the thick of things when it comes to strategic counselling. Always at the cutting edge in the branding space, it is currently advising British American Tobacco on the proposed UK and EU plain packaging measures. However, the practice is disputes driven and “a go-to for high-profile litigation”. Referring trademark attorneys call it “head and shoulders above others in terms of litigation expertise and reliability”, adding: “If you want the job done well with the minimum of fuss, don’t hesitate to go there.” Trademarks head Joel Smith
is a repository of trust for marquee brand owners, thanks to his suave handling of fraught High Court and Court of Appeal cases and all-encompassing brand management expertise. Mark Shillito
is another respected senior figure; he leads the global IP group and the UK and US dispute resolution practices.
Hogan Lovells International LLP
The London IP team is a vital cog in Hogan Lovells’ slick global trademark machine. The firm plays in the major leagues and handles multi-jurisdictional disputes for household names with utmost poise, as its track record attests. Prosecution needs are also well served; in particular, its Alicante office keeps it at the vanguard of trademark protection practice at the EUIPO. Charlie Winckworth
and Sahira Khwaja
are leading lights in the UK capital. “Charlie has strong business acumen and responds quickly. Of particular value is his practicality and willingness to be creative in finding solutions to advance a matter.” He advises eBay and PayPal on contentious and prosecution matters, working in conjunction with the Silicon Valley team which has primary responsibility for running the client’s global portfolio. He also assists “die weltmarke mit den 3 streifen
” with brand enforcement. Khwaja is “a highly experienced counsellor in relation to the non-contentious aspects of brands, including licensing and franchising”. She takes care of a range of UK protection matters for Mars and Wrigley.
Contrasting sharply with most City set-ups, Lewis Silkin has a sophisticated trademark prosecution operation to complement its high-flying litigation practice. It also boasts a vibrant commercial and transactional IP service, making it a reliable one-stop shop. On all fronts, it has been going gangbusters this year. The prosecution unit delivers the crispest search results around and runs immaculate worldwide filing programmes – at all times it is alive to risk and wins plaudits for its crystal-clear, on-point assessments of exposure. Finely tuned designs expertise gives the group another edge. Dominic Farnsworth
brings exemplary leadership to the trademark group and is the complete package in terms of his designs, trademarks, media, advertising and sports know-how. Formerly Gillette’s in-house counsel, Steven Jennings
has “enormous industry experience” and “a great feel for what big clients require and how they work”. “He is very effective at what he does.” On the contentious front, Simon Chapman
is a regular fixture in signature cases. The dispute resolution group leader recently defended House of Fraser in its tussle with Jack Wills; although Jack Wills won on liability for trademark infringement, Chapman got a favourable judgment in respect of accounts of profits which will sound a note of caution for claimants in terms of what is recoverable in such cases. “Pragmatic and highly organised”, he is “a hard opponent to fight on a sophisticated litigation team”. Management board member Giles Crown
is an all-round trademark, media, marketing and advertising maven. He has a passion for IP work – particularly brand-related instructions – and has played a leading role in a number of benchmark battles.
Locke Lord LLP
Locke Lord debuts in the UK listings this year as a compelling offering for clients seeking transatlantic trademark capabilities. The London team is captained by “trademark law senior statesman” John Olsen
, a “practical and highly efficient lawyer” with “unmatched legal knowledge”. Clients love him for his diverse expertise, but also because “he takes the work personally, almost as if he owns the marks he is protecting”. “He is such a positive person to work with and is approachable and easy to get on the phone to.” Also, “like any great litigator, he can be a bulldog when you need him to be”. He acts for many blue-chips – including MasterCard, whose famous circles logo he tirelessly enforces in Europe.
The trademark enforcers at Marks & Clerk Solicitors swing hard and connect, scoring great results for a prominent domestic and international client base. Working in close association with Marks & Clerk Attorneys, the team is well positioned to advise on intellectual property in a broad strategic way and, as a result, can often help companies to avoid costly litigation. Close proximity and day-to-day contact characterise the relationships that Kirsten Gilbert forges with clients. The seasoned High Court litigator and trademark team head is much appreciated for her creative enforcement strategies and team-oriented approach.
Mishcon de Reya LLP
Mishcon de Reya stands out as one of the key movers and shakers in intellectual property right now; in Spring 2016 it brought on David Rose
from King & Wood Mallesons, having also recruited Ray Black
from the same firm just under a year before. While Rose brings world-class life sciences and patent expertise to the set, he also offers plenty of trademark know-how: he is top of the class among those crossing the divide between the two practice areas. One source calls him “the best technical lawyer I know”; it is clear that Mishcon de Reya chose well. Black is also outstanding – “just so smart, commercial and sensible”. “He always focuses on the goal and not simply the procedure, and it’s a joy to have him look after you.” They join a platform that was already thriving under the stewardship of anti-counterfeiting and enforcement doyen Jeremy Hertzog
and IP protection and exploitation maven Sally Britton
. Hertzog acts for BMW and Daimler, alongside other car manufacturers, to crack down on shady operations selling replica wheels and abusing their trademarks. He is no stranger to more classic competitor-based infringement litigation, though, and acted for Jack Wills in its scrap with House of Fraser. Britton is the brains behind a growing non-contentious practice. Maintaining this within the environment of a large full-service firm is challenging, but she has set it up the right way; it isn’t a mere filing factory, but rather focuses on demanding, high-value strategic work. She has lately been advising Tottenham Hotspur on the management of its international IP portfolio and safeguarding award-winning fashion brand Charlotte Olympia.
Nabarro is “a trusted partner which is committed to solving your legal – and business – problems. It brings all the lawyerly expertise you need to bear, but never loses sight of the practical objective”. “Strong litigation and negotiation skills” and an “ability to partner effectively with clients on IP management strategy” give it a holistic perspective on branding matters, which is further enhanced by seamless teamwork among its close-knit partners and associates. The practice has cultivated a roster of highly sophisticated patrons; household names – particularly those from the United States – frequently rely on it for European issues that arise. Hawk-eyed trouble-shooter Guy Heath
is often the individual they seek out. The versatile lawyer is gold rated on strategy and recommended for enforcement and litigation, and comes in for considerable praise from a diverse range of sources. “He is superb at developing meaningful, impactful enforcement strategies for marks that are difficult to police.” “Brilliant technically”, he is a “straightforward and sensible lawyer who is easy to deal with”. Examples of his work include overseeing infringement matters for Oracle in Europe and handling disputes for Levi Strauss. David Parrish
, who debuts in the WTR 1000
this year, often works in tandem with Heath, but also takes the lead on weighty cases. “David is very switched on and intelligent, and is a personable guy with a great sense of humour who can build rapport. He delivers advice that is neatly packaged and easily implementable.” The resident non-contentious specialist is Louise Gellman
, a savvy prosecutor with a busy opposition practice at home and abroad. “She is a tenacious lawyer who serves well with her commercial and pragmatic approach. She is an excellent communicator regarding client tasks, deadlines and strategy.” All members of the group gain a great deal of support from Ian Lowe
, a consultant with nearly four decades of IP experience on his résumé.
Combining closely integrated prosecution and contentious offerings, Olswang fields a go-to team for any trademark matter under the sun. It is telling that three of the four partners listed in the guide appear on more than one table – with two of them featuring on all three. The group’s knowledge of business and branding concerns in the telecommunications, media, technology, fashion and retail sectors is comprehensive, enabling it to provide a bespoke service. Joel Barry
is one of the market’s big dogs, “but he doesn’t let ego get in the way anything – he is committed to doing a fabulous job for clients”. “Bright, pragmatic, user friendly and sensible”, he is a vital asset to any brand owner. So too is Helen Newman
, a touchstone for those in the business of luxury: “She knows what drives the industry like nobody else.” Joining them in the WTR 1000
this year is head of trademarks Sarah Wright
, a shrewd filing strategist and international portfolio developer par excellence
. Though busy as the firm’s chief executive officer, Paul Stevens
is an influential figure who operates at the confluence of technology, media and intellectual property.
Intellectual property is a practice that Pinsent Masons takes seriously – the dedicated team is no mere icing on the cake, but is instead driving business to other departments. When rights holders are litigating to push the status quo and really change markets, they engage this group on the frontlines. It has a tried-and-tested ability to negotiate companies out of the tightest corners – on either side of the ‘v’ – and secure results that make business sense. Iain Connor
“thrives in the cut and thrust of litigation and is a determined guy – he sticks to his guns and has been proven right in key situations. A down-to-earth and genuine guy who never fronts, he is great with clients and really knows his stuff”.
Powell Gilbert LLP
“London’s leading IP boutique”, Powell Gilbert is “the ultimate in patent litigation” – one of only three firms to be gold rated in sister publication the IAM Patent 1000
– but it also presents a compelling trademark offering which, following new hires and promotions, has only gotten stronger this past year. It typically acts for large companies that put brands at the centre of their universe, including Procter & Gamble. The consumer products multinational has instructed it on a host of important matters, including actions against counterfeiters and parallel traders. Simon Ayrton
and his crew also went out to bat for the company in a precedent-setting case concerning third-party interference with the packaging of goods. Clients rave: “Simon is the perfect trademark lawyer. He provides outstanding legal advice and finds the best routes to take in complicated situations. He has a firm grasp of the commercial angle of his cases and is also committed to getting results on a cost-effective basis.” Foreign associates call him a “shrewd trademark litigator who is fast, excellent with the details and impeccable in his analysis”.
Redd Solicitors LLP
“Redd is doing great things and has carved a niche for itself as a top boutique in the trademark space, with a very vibrant practice.” Commentators admire its “holistic brand expertise”; there is nothing that it cannot handle. The growth of its portfolio management service – launched in Spring 2014 – has been a developing plotline. Many brand owners are moving away from agencies to law firms for clearance advice and prosecution, and Redd has been a major beneficiary; knowing exactly what to do when companies get into hot water, it can mitigate contentious risk from the get-go very effectively. Fashion, technology and media expert Emmy Hunt
is a key contact for portfolio management and registry disputes. However, Redd remains best known for its contentious prowess. “Anna Carboni
brings advocacy experience from the Bar into private practice” and is a “super-smart” top talent who provides “to-the-point advice”. “She is extremely well recognised in the profession for her great expertise.” “Sensible, business-minded and a pleasure to deal with”, Sara Ashby
is another star litigator who “fights hard for her clients”. In Simon Chalkley
, the firm also has a “true commercial IP lawyer”; when it comes to brands, “there is no question that he is genuinely superb”. “He is immensely likeable and has a light touch, but his strongest point is his understanding of business.”
Reed Smith is a titan of the media world, which colours its trademark practice to a large (although by no means complete) degree. A big win for Rihanna in her headline-grabbing dispute with Arcadia put it in the limelight and the litigation-focused group has since built significantly on this success. Notable projects in the past year included acting for leading internet service providers in applications for website blocking on the basis of trademark infringement – work which is both topical and technically complex. At the helm of the group is “living legend” Michael Skrein
: “He will find a little nugget that nobody else will have found and exploit it to its fullest potential – he really gets under the skin of a case and that is how he often wins. He is a litigator who you bring out for a really high-profile, sensitive and difficult issue.” He and Carolyn Pepper
are “both brilliant”. “Carolyn is someone to keep on speed dial. She has a very commercial outlook and provides first-class advice and good out-of-the-box ideas. She gets the tone right – she knows the media industry and the people in it.” Emma Lenthall
is also enthusiastically endorsed. Barristers like working with her, because “she always remains calm and sensible”. She recently demonstrated her fleetness of foot responding to UK Border Force notifications regarding possible infringement of the trademarks of client Beauté Prestige International, bringing about a successful outcome for limited spend.
Rouse IP Ltd
Rouse is a “massive name in intellectual property”, particularly in Asia. Wherever you engage it, you can be sure that its team of “experienced and effective lawyers and investigators” will “get results”. The WTR 1000-
listed partners all wear different hats, but collectively provide one of the most well-rounded brand protection services on the market. In international enforcement – the firm’s strongest suit – there are few better than Jeremy Newman
and Stuart Adams
. Newman is a “positive, personable external partner with an acute awareness of clients’ business perspective”. “He is not just a commercial thinker – he understands the pressures that in-house counsel face and their need to influence and report upwards to senior management.” “His can-do attitude is refreshing and reassuring and, above all, he delivers the goods.” The head of Rouse Legal and UK country manager plays a key role in the global enforcement of Sony Mobile’s trademark and designs, and runs Reckitt Benckiser’s worldwide anti-counterfeiting programme. Adams is the head of global dispute resolution and guides the Russia office with a steady hand. Arty Rajendra
takes charge of litigation in the High Court and IP Enterprise Court and has had a busy year handling matters for the likes of Harley-Davidson and Ford Motor Company. She is a versatile IP litigator with eye-catching patent, trademark and copyright wins on her CV. Unlike most other contentious and enforcement heavyweights, Rouse provides an A-to-Z trademark management service and has been doing so for many years under the assured direction of Mark Foreman
. “Mark understands his clients and their priorities”, and ensures that the customer service is on point, too; “responses from the team are swift and work is undertaken at the appropriate level and price point.” He manages portfolios for Astellas Pharma Europe, Elizabeth Arden, Fred Perry and many others.
Full-service RPC draws on an enviable wealth of trademark expertise, to superb effect. Unlike some competitors, it has intentionally steered clear of prosecution – instead working in close harmony with trusted external agents – which frees it up to focus on what it does best: resolving disputes and providing strategic IP guidance. This year, the group continued shoring up support in its core areas of luxury, retail and media. Among other things, it successfully litigated for champagne house Louis Roederer regarding infringement of its prestigious Cristal brand; advised Selfridges on the management of its global trademark portfolio; and masterminded trademark infringement and passing-off actions for British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). Sources point out that there is talent here up and down the ranks, “which allows for cost effectiveness and efficiency”. However, this would not work without strong command, which is supplied in abundance by Jeremy Drew
. “He is a great leader who trusts in his team, while also making sure everything is done properly and on time. He manages budgets by assigning specific tasks to the right person. His approach to litigation is practical and effective, and he seeks results that work beyond the law.” International litigator and deal maker extraordinaire David Cran
is another lawyer who is always adding commercial value. Paul Joseph
has had a lot going on across both sides of the contentious/non-contentious divide, but through hard work and dedication, keeps everyone happy; in addition to the BBC brief, he has been managing the portfolio of Dreams and advising Japan Tobacco on the reorganisation of its multi-jurisdictional intra-group licensing arrangements. An open, collaborative approach sees the partners riff off each other to great effect, effectively giving clients a three-for-one deal.
Simmons & Simmons LLP
Simmons & Simmons has had a tough time of it lately, losing several IP partners to Allen & Overy – including leading trademark and designs expert David Stone. What moves it will make to bounce back remain to be seen; however, it still has real trademark talent in London in the form of Adrian Smith
and Michael Gavey
. Smith is “an extremely efficient lawyer with a no-nonsense attitude who gives clear, quick and to-the-point advice”. He focuses on contentious matters, but also adeptly shepherds IP transactions to successful close. Deal making is the bailiwick of Gavey, who heads the firm’s UK life sciences practice.
Squire Patton Boggs (UK) LLP
Squire Patton Boggs has an international trademark platform like few others, which brings together groups spanning the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany and Asia. Close collaboration across offices means that clients such as Clarks have all the resources they need at their disposal; the international shoe maker and retailer has instructed the firm on the management of its large trademark portfolio and works with partners in London, Hong Kong and San Francisco in this regard. Hobbs is another patron that benefits from this transatlantic alliance. Florian Traub
is the main man in London: “His advice is pragmatic, business friendly and prompt, and he obviously has a strong foundation in all technical aspects of the law. His eye for detail is incredibly keen and he has a broad and deep understanding of trademarks in a retail environment. He knows how to get successful results quickly and works well with other consultants, both in and outside his firm.” His practice runs the gamut from pre-filing search and clearance to high-stakes trademark infringement actions – he acted for Europcar in its dispute with Enterprise Holdings.
Stephenson Harwood may make less noise on the market than others – at least within its peer group – but its three partners garner some of the warmest client feedback of any lawyers in the country. Newly minted partner Robert Jacob
– who debuts in the listings this year – is “a measured lawyer and, unusually for his young age, completely unflappable”; “he brings great strength and depth to the practice”. The Imperial College chemistry grad hammers out favourable results in trademark disputes for pharmaceutical and life sciences concerns; convincing the EUIPO of the distinctiveness of the shape of GlaxoSmithKline’s inhalers was just one recent success. “One of the best litigators around”, Alexandra Pygall
is “very tenacious and has a great ability to present complex issues in a simple, clear and concise way, which helps you to make informed business decisions”. “Her availability, responsiveness and calm, friendly demeanour make her very easy to work with and recommend to others.” She advises Moët Hennessy on counterfeiting issues for several of its key brands and sources observe that “she is quietly building a strong luxury practice”. However, “it is the leadership of Eifion Morris
that has made Stephenson Harwood a major player in the London IP market”. A foreign associate calls him “without doubt the top trademark litigator in the United Kingdom”; a colleague closer to home labels him an “outstanding strategist”; and a client hails him as “genuinely the best”. “Excellent at multi-tasking on complex cross-border litigation and a creative, business-oriented, precise lawyer, he is a formidable leader of a great group.”
Few firms outside the London bubble have the IP expertise of Guildford set-up Stevens & Bolton. The lawyers here have City training and sophistication, but work at much lower rates, making the group an attractive option for those seeking quality representation and bang for their buck. It doesn’t file trademarks, but does get stuck into tricky administrative disputes; in particular, it has had a busy year on the opposition front representing dynamic companies such as Vulpine Performance Limited. The high-end cycling brand falls under the purview of head of intellectual property Tom Lingard
, who appears in the guide for the first time this year. He keeps his cool when matters get heated, which is good news for clients such as Future Publishing; the leading UK media company has benefited from his shrewd advice in connection with a long-running dispute over the title of its award-winning video game magazine EDGE
. The firm also has a top franchising expert on deck in the form of Nicola Broadhurst
, a “focused, confident lawyer” who is considered a thought leader on transactional IP matters.
Taylor Wessing LLP
Taylor Wessing’s deep bench of brand experts in London, seasoned groups in Europe and extensive capabilities in Asia make it one of the most commercially sophisticated international players in the trademark arena. It operates dexterously across the contentious/non-contentious divide and, as well as managing over 45,000 live marks globally – and 5,000 designs – it regularly occupies frontline roles in landscape-altering litigation. Peers remark with admiration that “it has had a lot of new client wins recently – including some which are not easy to land”, but has also “done well to further develop its well-established relationships”. A magnet for complex instructions and effusive praise, Roland Mallinson
continues to stand tall on the international trademark stage. “He is very clever and clearly a deep thinker about trademark law. He isn’t someone who fights on every point or plays the man, not the ball, but has a refreshingly measured approach.” He is recommended for litigation and prosecution and strategy; as are others here, including Charles Lloyd
and Jason Rawkins
. Lloyd is a coast-to-coast adviser with deep expertise in counterfeiting and parallel imports. Rawkins is known for his “really nice, understated style”, which goes down particularly well among the fashion and luxury goods crowd. The eminently versatile practitioner can provide high-level strategic advice, manage a portfolio, negotiate a deal and litigate a case all in one go – and with exceptional perspicacity. Other practitioners with broad horizons include head of UK technology, media and telecommunications Mark Owen
, who provides “intelligent, timely and pragmatic contentious advice”; while senior counsel Christopher Benson
has “bags of experience and is always on top of everything”. Benson has “an instinctual feel for how things are going to go with the trademark registry”. Showcasing a high degree of specialisation in brand management, France Delord
is also recommended. The “bright and personable” solicitor, avocat
and French trademark attorney advises Godiva Chocolatier on brand protection strategy and is brought in on the ground floor to strategise on the adoption and development of new brands globally.