United Kingdom: Scotland

Firms: solicitors

1
Brodies LLP
Burness Paull LLP
2
Dentons LLP
3
Pinsent Masons
Shepherd and Wedderburn LLP

Firms: trademark attorneys

1
Marks & Clerk
Murgitroyd & Company
2
Ancient Hume Ltd
Creation IP Ltd
Lawrie IP
lincoln ip limited
3
jtTM Consultancy Limited
Brodies LLP
Widely regarded as a go-to for IP support in Scotland, Brodies is increasingly sought after to coordinate trademark litigation in multiple jurisdictions. As an independent firm it can pick and choose the best foreign associates to work with, and the team certainly has excellent taste in this regard. Although always ready to go the distance, the set is guided by the desire to protect clients in the most cost-effective and commercial way and excels at facilitating early wins. Gill Grassie and Robert Buchan are two of the very best that Scotland has to offer when it comes to contentious intellectual property. “Both are exceptionally strong in terms of technical knowledge and the practical application of the law, and they present their advice in a way which is client friendly and easy to understand. Their focus is on resolving disputes, not just fighting, and they avoid escalation where it makes sense to do so. They work well as a team and individually.” “Gill is the most experienced contentious IP expert in Scotland and is great at providing strategic advice on complex issues. She is incredibly responsive and turns work around quickly.” “Robert gets straight to the heart of a case. He presents commercially focused advice, and his dedication to clients is amazing.” For those looking to commercialise their intangible assets, Grant Campbell is the man. Brokering bespoke deals in which intellectual property and technology interface is what he does best.
Burness Paull LLP
Running the busiest IP litigation practice in Scotland, commercial outfit Burness Paull ascends to the WTR 1000 gold tier for 2018. In this firm’s vocabulary, the definition of a ‘win’ is determined by the client; hence, the team will not unleash its litigation capabilities if doing so serves no commercial purpose – its modus operandi is to go in hard early in order to obtain a strong negotiating position, then look for the business resolution. Colin Hulme is the firm’s IP talisman and an elite IP litigator, considered by many to be “second to none in Scotland”. “He’s been there and done that, and is a very level-headed lawyer who provides sensible, practical and clear commercial advice.” At Hulme’s right hand is Neeraj Thomas, who makes his debut in the publication this year. Together, the pair have been handling enforcement for the Harris Tweed Authority. Anchoring a robust transactional practice is David Goodbrand, a technology buff who is a director of the Scottish Society for Computers and Law and an active participant in Scottish Financial Enterprise’s financial technology strategy group. His work is invariably high profile; over several years, he has advised Standard Life Investments on its sponsorship and global partnering of the Ryder Cup, and he recently handled the renewal of its agreements for the 2018 tournament to be held in Paris.
Dentons LLP
In a move which looks to significantly enhance its UK capabilities, global outfit Dentons has announced its merger with Maclay Murray & Spens, one of the largest law firms in Scotland. It is getting a highly sophisticated Scottish IP practice in the process, and a team which is well accustomed to advising household names on brand protection strategy. This is a subject that department head Alison Bryce knows a great deal about, thanks to nearly two decades in the IP game. An accredited IP specialist, she keeps portfolios in the best of health, while employing an impressive IP commercialisation skill set. Fellow partner Ross Nicol thrives in the cut and thrust of deal negotiation. A life sciences expert with a diverse client base, he gets signatures on the dotted line with a minimum of fuss. Litigation is overseen by Susan Snedden, who never fails to impress. “Susan has an ability to quickly assimilate lots of information from different sources, and identify the key issues relevant to a dispute. Her knowledge of the law is comprehensive, but it is her ability to apply the law commercially which sets her apart. She is great at helping non-experts understand dispute resolution tactics.”
Pinsent Masons
International law firm Pinsent Masons is a great choice for commercially significant IP litigation and in James Cormack the firm has a lawyer who can “go toe to toe with anyone”. “He isn’t a pure IP expert, but he is a very talented litigator with plenty of experience in IP disputes.” The savvy solicitor advocate has compiled his learnings from many different types of litigation into an awesome body of knowledge, making him “an intimidating opponent”.
Shepherd and Wedderburn LLP
“Shepherd and Wedderburn has a well-respected IP team which shines on the non-contentious side of the practice.” An ace on the commercialisation of intangible rights and technology, Joanna Boag-Thomson is familiar with all transaction archetypes and has negotiated a multitude of cutting-edge deals in her time. Sources consider her to be “extremely knowledgeable and pragmatic, and a thoroughly pleasant person to cooperate with”. Boag-Thomson is a key cog within the media and technology team captained by Paul Carlyle, a broad-based IP expert who can carve out elegantly simple solutions in the face of complexity.
Ancient Hume Ltd
A small firm which numbers many famous brand owners among its clients, Ancient Hume is the brainchild of outstanding trademark attorney Alasdair Hume, “a legend in the Scottish IP community”. “Client oriented, calm and meticulous, he comes up with brilliant arguments and has mountains of experience dealing with complicated UK and EU trademark disputes.”
Creation IP Ltd
Reflecting the qualities demonstrated by its clients, Creation IP is an innovative and entrepreneurial IP boutique. Well equipped to tackle the full range of issues arising across the lifecycle of a brand, the firm stands out for the highly personalised service it gives. The November 2016 recruitment of Douglas Thomson, a former examiner at the UK Intellectual Property Office, has bolstered its trademark practice considerably. Forming a dynamic team, he and Catriona Good both make their debuts in the WTR 1000 this year. HGF runs a huge brands practice – one of the biggest in the United Kingdom – and while much of the work is driven by professionals south of the border, the firm has certainly been building its trademark presence in Scotland. The driving force behind this is Neil McKechnie, a patent and trademark practitioner with decades’ experience in the game. “Neil is an efficient and skilled operator who enables you to make well-informed business decisions.” One client comments: “He has been immensely helpful ensuring we have the right level of trademark protection and geographic coverage, and is a diligent professional who knows when you need to take a stand. He is highly efficient and focused, has a good network abroad and keeps control of costs.” He recently represented M & Co, one of the largest private fashion retailers in the United Kingdom, on a challenge against Max Mara; after mounting a successful defence of an opposition before the EU Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), he sealed the victory after Max Mara appealed to the European Court of Justice, thus enabling his client to continue its European expansion.
jtTM Consultancy Limited
This specialist trademark consultancy cultivates close relationships with brand owners, allowing it to tailor its service to fit their exact needs. An “experienced trademark attorney” who sees the big picture, founding partner Jude Tonner is someone you can count on. “She won’t advise on a course of action unless there is commercial value in pursuing it. She is great for high-growth companies because not only is she very strategic, she won’t send them a huge bill for initial consultations.”
Lawrie IP
“A fast growing group of attorneys”, Lawrie IP makes its debut in the WTR 1000 for 2018. Quality and efficiency are the key narratives for this firm, which utilises advanced internal systems to deliver the right result quickly to its clients. Testament to this, it has achieved ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 27001:2013 certifications (the latter a reflection of its excellent security management and data protection credentials). The firm engenders significant client loyalty through a get-to-know-you culture that is fostered by section leader Sharon Mackison. Praised for her “flexible approach and communicative style”, she “runs a really good team”.
lincoln ip limited
“lincoln ip provides an experienced team of professionals to manage all your IP requirements”. With four qualified trademark attorneys on deck, it has a more robust group than many of its competitors; at the same time, it has worked hard to stay flexible and earns commendations for its “truly bespoke service”. Praise abounds for head of trademarks Karen Veitch, a “commercially focused and highly organised attorney who is very effective on international projects”. “Karen is great to deal with and always gets to the right answer with a methodical yet pragmatic and efficient approach.” She has recently put in strong performances at the EUIPO for clients such as Manduka and Matchless Candle Co.
Marks & Clerk
It has been on a full-on year at Marks & Clerk in Scotland; the UK and international IP powerhouse has handled new trademark filing programmes, seen hot demand for its search, clearance and opinion work, and rolled up its sleeves on more IP due diligence projects than ever. Unfazed by it all, main man Campbell Newell has continued to perform flawlessly on every brief that lands on his desk. The following client reference tells you all you need to know about this market leader: “Campbell has a refreshingly open and approachable manner, though he’s thoroughly professional and delivers excellent results. His advice is robust, clear and pragmatic, and his wise counsel and insight is an incredibly valuable thing to have. As well as taking care of our trademark portfolio, and extending our IP coverage as our business develops, he adroitly steers paths through contentious matters as soon as they arise.” Newell enjoys longstanding relationships with many clients, such as the Harris Tweed Authority, which he has represented since the early 1990s. Much of his work is international in scope; as an example, he has filed trademark applications across multiple jurisdictions for Wood Group, which he has recently been advising on a major rebranding initiative. Also garnering plaudits is Aidan Clarke, who is “a pleasure to deal with when things get stressful – maintaining a sense of humour and keeping calm, he gets the best job done on tight timescales”.
Murgitroyd & Company
“Murgitroyd has moved with – or even ahead of – the times; for example, if you pick up the phone for a quick bit of advice, it is more than likely the case that you won’t be charged – that’s the culture there.” “A big firm with huge institutional experience, it understands what makes good customer service.” Jacqueline McKay is a key contact for interested parties. “She isn’t someone who just paraphrases search reports – she thinks commercially and advises accordingly. When it comes to trademark prosecution, she is extremely thorough and practical.” She makes her debut in the guide this year while fellow Glasgow-based trademarks director Christian Finn makes his sophomore appearance. Finn is a safe pair of hands who can get any size of portfolio into fine shape.

Individuals: enforcement and litigation

Robert Buchan - Brodies LLP
James Cormack - Pinsent Masons
Gill Grassie - Brodies LLP
Colin Hulme - Burness Paull LLP
Phillip Hannay - Cloch Solicitors
Susan Snedden - Dentons
Neeraj Thomas - Burness Paull LLP

Individuals: prosecution and strategy

Highly recommended
Alasdair Hume - Ancient Hume Ltd
Campbell Newell - Marks & Clerk
Karen Veitch - lincoln ip limited
Recommended
Aidan Clarke - Marks & Clerk
Christian Finn - Murgitroyd & Company
Catriona Good - Creation IP Ltd
Sharon Mackison - Lawrie IP
Jacqueline McKay - Murgitroyd & Company
Neil McKechnie - HGF Ltd
Douglas Thomson - Creation IP Ltd
Jude Tonner - jtTM Consultancy Limited

Individuals: transactions

Joanna Boag-Thomson - Shepherd and Wedderburn LLP
Helena Brown - Addleshaw Goddard LLP
Alison Bryce - Dentons
Grant S Campbell - Brodies LLP
Paul Carlyle - Shepherd and Wedderburn LLP
David Goodbrand - Burness Paull LLP
Ross Nicol - Dentons

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
Kathryn Pickard - Axiom Advocates
Usman Tariq - Ampersand Advocates

Senior counsel

Heriot Currie QC has huge experience and is simply excellent. He is especially effective in the courtroom on complex, high-stakes cases.” “Practical and sensible, Roisin Higgins QC is great in court as well as with clients.” “Jonathan Lake QC is super switched on commercially.” All three of these big hitters operate out of commercial and public law chambers Axiom Advocates. Another name to watch out for is Craig Sandison QC of Ampersand Advocates, a brilliant legal thinker across many fields of law, not least intellectual property. When it comes to trademark infringement disputes, he gets right to the nub of the issue quickly and efficiently and advocates in pragmatic fashion.

Junior counsel

Practising solicitors find it easy to instruct Paul O’Brien of Axiom Advocates, a former solicitor himself and now a junior with excellent client relationship skills. The experienced barrister tackles a range of commercial, IP and professional negligence cases with poise. New to the WTR 1000 this year are Kathryn Pickard, also of Axiom, and Usman Tariq of Ampersand. Pickard is distinguished by her years of experience at the English Bar, while Tariq undertakes more IP activities than any other junior; solicitors profess themselves to be dazzled by his opinion work.

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Issue 71