United Kingdom: Scotland

The WTR 1000 2017 follows last year’s edition in terms of format for the Scotland listings, with law firms and agencies featured on separate tables. Given that this is a relatively small market in which everyone knows everyone, it is unsurprising that players have not been aggressive in encroaching on each other’s traditional territories. In the run-up to the 2014 Scottish independence referendum, IP activity slowed, but it picked up once again when the ‘No’ camp carried the day; since then Brexit has inevitably reintroduced considerable uncertainty into the market.

Firms

1
Brodies LLP
2
Burness Paull LLP
Maclay Murray & Spens LLP
3
CMS UK
Pinsent Masons
Shepherd and Wedderburn LLP
Brodies LLP
This regular award winner runs “the leading Scottish IP practice”. “Brodies will never let you down – you feel safe and secure in its hands, and nothing is too much trouble. The team has a can-do attitude and works extremely quickly on time-sensitive matters.” Resolving disputes sooner rather than later is a forte of Gill Grassie and the “commercially savvy” Robert Buchan. “With them, it is about responsiveness and flexibility – and they can turn their hands to any IP issue.” The pre-emptive strategic advice of “fantastic”, “technically excellent” lawyer Grassie is like gold dust for those keen to avoid courtroom combat; her exceptional experience will carry the day when cases do go the distance, however. Heading the IP section – as well as the technology and outsourcing practices – Grant Campbell is an invaluable asset for those seeking to monetise their intellectual property.
Burness Paull LLP
Burness Paull is in the thick of the action when it comes to IP litigation, appearing on one side or the other in the vast majority of high-profile disputes playing out on Scottish soil. Its horizons are not purely domestic, though – it also does a great job leading on international cases. Colin Hulme provides strong leadership to the dispute resolution department and is a top litigator all round. He specialises in intellectual property and technology – areas in which he provides “practical, clear and commercial advice”. The driving force behind the firm’s transactional practice, David Goodbrand is a whizz with all kinds of commercial contracts and IP licensing deals.
CMS UK
CMS opened a new chapter in 2014 when it combined with Dundas & Wilson, one of Scotland’s longest-established legal practices. The firm appears in the WTR 1000 Scotland section in recognition of its finely honed local IP expertise and the international resources it can bring to bear for Scottish and global clients. The senior partner here is Laurence Ward; best known for his technology transactions prowess, he is also in tune with trademarks and other aspects of intellectual property.
Maclay Murray & Spens LLP
Maclay Murray & Spens has a well-rounded A-to-Z trademark practice and “good strength in depth in the area”. Clients appreciate the team’s continuity: “It’s not a case of, one day you’ll be speaking to one person and the next day with another – you don’t have to constantly reinvent the relationship, which is very helpful.” “It is also great at international relations and giving joined-up legal advice across multiple jurisdictions.” Alison Bryce, Ross Nicol and Susan Snedden form a triumvirate of experienced professionals who understand all sides of the business of brands. Bryce heads the group and is much appreciated for her astute portfolio management and development; “commercial and responsive” transactions ace Nicol is “good at providing advice that non-IP specialists can understand and digest, and at giving headline thoughts that enable you to better decide what to drill down on”; while the “technically and legally extremely sound” Snedden is one of the few IP litigators and accredited IP specialists in the country.
Pinsent Masons
“Pinsent Masons has a quality IP practice in Scotland” and, in James Cormack, “one of the country’s top litigators”. The solicitor-advocate knows how to present in court and does so regularly, which makes his background preparation tighter and more thorough than those who aren’t on their feet in front of a judge. The accredited mediator knows how to put a case to bed without ruffling too many feathers, but “he can be a tough guy when the situation demands”. He dines on a varied diet of IP and commercial work.
Shepherd and Wedderburn LLP
Shepherd and Wedderburn is best known for its real estate, energy and financial practices but, recognising the importance of a distinctive brand in the business world, it has built up significant IP capabilities, too. In Scotland, these are vested in Paul Carlyle and Joanna Boag-Thomson. A perspicacious all-round counsellor, Carlyle heads the media and technology team and divides his time between London and Edinburgh. He overlays his knowledge of IP law with a fine-grained understanding of the commercial drivers of clients’ industries. Boag-Thomson focuses on transactions and brand exploitation in the media and technology fields.

Agencies

Agencies

1
Murgitroyd & Company
2
Ancient Hume Ltd
Creation IP Ltd
jtTM Consultancy Limited
Lincoln ip Ltd
Ancient Hume Ltd
Compact Edinburgh team Ancient Hume is a popular choice for conflict of interest referrals; it is trusted by the best in Scotland to devise and deliver quality brand protection. The company was founded by Alasdair Hume, an experienced trademark attorney who “knows more about trademark law than anyone else in Scotland”. He is a “gentleman who looks after clients with a great bedside manner”.
Creation IP Ltd
The attorneys at Creation IP are not just steady legal and administrative hand holders; they are dynamic consultants who can add value for brand and technology innovators at every stage of the trademark lifecycle. Where competitors get in on the action only once a product has been created, this group often gets brought in on the ground floor to assist with idea capture. Catriona Good is the person to call.
jtTM Consultancy Limited
jtTM’s mission is to make life as easy as possible for clients when it comes to everything trademark related and founding partner Jude Tonner always fulfils this promise. “Jude is great at explaining the law surrounding trademarks and how it all works in different jurisdictions – everything is easy to understand, which removes a lot of the pain and hassle when you’re launching a new business.” Those seeking a close, one-to-one relationship with a “pragmatic, experienced, commercial solutions-focused professional” should seek her out without hesitation.
Lincoln ip Ltd
Big new clients and substantial growth have been the prevailing narratives at Lincoln ip over the past 12 months. Able to be more flexible on costs and deliver more personalised services than some of the larger players, but better resourced than many of its fellow agencies, it occupies a unique position on the market. Glasgow-based Karen Veitch “has a lot of experience and knows all the tricks of the trade. She is very responsive and direct, and her guidance is always clear.” Marks & Clerk is the United Kingdom’s largest patent and trademark attorney firm and has strength in depth north and south of the border. The head of its Scottish practice is Campbell Newell, a “savvy, practical, global thinker – the best in Scotland”. “He has a lot of amazing clients”, including Tomatin; he advises the Highland single malt Scotch whisky distillery on portfolio management and development, as well as on product design and repackaging. Aidan Clarke is another go-to for food and drink clients, as well as those in other areas such as energy and finance. Having worked in Alicante, he has a thorough understanding of the procurement of EU trademarks.
Murgitroyd & Company
Murgitroyd has one of the most extensive geographical footprints of any European IP agency – particularly given its presence in the United States – and is a good fit for companies seeking consistently watertight protection across borders. Glasgow-based trademark director Christian Finn has unique experience safeguarding trademarks in Africa, having worked in Zimbabwe at the outset of his career. He has been in Europe for over 20 years, though, and a leader at Murgitroyd since the turn of the century. He specialises in trademark portfolio management, but blends expertise on designs, domain names and copyright into his practice.

Individuals: enforcement and litigation

Gill Grassie - Brodies LLP
Colin Hulme - Burness Paull LLP
Robert Buchan - Brodies LLP
James Cormack - Pinsent Masons
Susan Snedden - Maclay Murray & Spens LLP

Individuals: prosecution and strategy

Aidan Clarke - Marks & Clerk
Christian Finn - Murgitroyd & Company
Alasdair Hume - Ancient Hume Ltd
Campbell Newell - Marks & Clerk
Jude Tonner - jtTM Consultancy Limited
Karen Veitch - Lincoln ip Ltd

Individuals: transactions

Joanna Boag-Thomson - Shepherd and Wedderburn LLP
Helena Brown - HBJ Gateley
Alison Bryce - Maclay Murray & Spens
Grant S Campbell - Brodies LLP
Paul Carlyle - Shepherd and Wedderburn LLP
David Goodbrand - Burness Paull LLP
Ross Nicol - Maclay Murray & Spens
Laurence Ward - CMS UK

United Kingdom: Scotland: The Bar

Senior counsel

Heriot W Currie QC - Axiom Advocates
Roisin Higgins QC - Axiom Advocates
Jonathan Lake QC - Axiom Advocates
Craig Sandison QC - Ampersand Advocates

Junior counsel

Paul O'Brien - Axiom Advocates

Senior counsel

Heriot Currie QC has a great ability to quickly get to the heart of a matter. He has great courtroom skills and is particularly good at cross-examination.” “Roisin Higgins QC provides clear, pragmatic and commercial advice.” “Excellent on both general commercial disputes and intellectual property”, Jonathan Lake QC “displays a good eye for detail and provides excellent strategic advice, taking into account the commercial realities facing the client”. All work out of Axiom Advocates. Over at Ampersand is Craig Sandison QC, who advocates persuasively at all levels and in all areas of commercial law.

Junior counsel

Intellectual property and commercial law are the twin pillars of Paul O’Brien’s practice at Axiom. As well as acting with senior counsel, he leads on many of his cases and showcases his acute attention to detail.

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Issue 69