Allen & Overy LLP
The recent developments at Allen & Overy are a hot topic – the firm is building something special in London and around the world. Unique within the UK Magic Circle as a one-stop shop for brands – having launched its trademark filing practice – it also continues to move rapidly towards its goal of becoming the number one IP litigation player in Europe. The fulcrum around which the practice turns is soft IP mastermind and global head of brands David Stone
, “one of the world’s most legally gifted lawyers in intellectual property”. “A solicitor with the mind of a judge, he leads large litigation teams with great skill and tactical nous. A true pleasure to deal with, he sets himself apart by being keen to receive input from, and take seriously, all members of the team, regardless of status.” A top brand owner confides: “If I could clone him in every jurisdiction, I would. He is responsive, smart and practical and, crucially, understands business.” Of course, he is also “unparalleled in the field of designs”. He handles all UK trademark and design work for The Coca-Cola Company and has lately been doing great things in the context of a complex battle to protect the brand’s famous Spensarian script; the case has thrown up numerous challenges but nothing has fazed him. Fox Entertainment Group, Metro-Goldwyn Mayer Studios and guitar maker Gibson Brands are some of the other global leaders he diligently protects. Neville Cordell
does not lack for followers among top brands either, and has been providing on-the-money advice and representation to, among others McDonald’s and Virgin Media and Enterprises. For McDonald’s, he has been flexing his world-class copyright expertise and trademark acumen in a High Court copyright infringement and trademark invalidation case in which 1990s indie band The Soup Dragons are trying to prevent McDonald’s from using its famous ‘I’m Lovin’ It’ jingle. “Neville has excellent strategic vision” and although he is described as being “very tenacious”, “he has a lovely, understated manner and never gets riled”. “He’s a versatile IP litigator who really gets into the details of his cases – he enjoys the technical side as well as the finer points of legal argumentation.” As one of the best business law firms in the world, Allen & Overy demonstrates great flair for IP-driven transactions. In view of the size, complexity and value of deals overseen by Jim Ford
and Nigel Parker
, they deserve to be recognised as top commercial IP lawyers. Ford, who heads the practice in London, as well as co-chairing the global life sciences group, dazzles with the assured way he handles the most valuable brands. Parker has seen just about every kind of deal, but he gets it right first time on new structures and transactions.
Baker McKenzie LLP
With its main facilities in Manila and Belfast, not to mention its worldwide network of offices, Baker McKenzie is in pole position to service global portfolios. These resources have enabled the substantial crew in the UK capital to dedicate themselves to more complex tasks, often contentious in nature, and focus on providing trenchant strategic solutions for big brands. London trademark registration practice head Jessica Le Gros
played a key role in implementing this unique offshoring set-up. Sources describe her as “just marvellous” and “a very stable and reliable point person who plays a hugely important role in Baker McKenzie and in intellectual property broadly”. “She has always done good work and is someone you can really count on.” Flanking her is rising star Rachel Wilkinson-Duffy
, who enters the WTR 1000
for the first time this year on the back of favourable client referrals and a number of spontaneously offered positive peer recommendations. “Rachel immediately spots the most relevant issues at hand and, involving all the right people and resources within the firm’s network, provides well-rounded solutions in a timely fashion. Time and time again she, like the company in general, demonstrates a willingness to adapt and think outside the box to cater to your specific needs.” Over on the litigation side, things have also been going swimmingly, with a real diversity of instructions and clients keeping the sizeable team on their toes. Both Le Gros and Wilkinson-Duffy can be called on with confidence for contentious matters, but there are dyed-in-the-wool litigators at Baker McKenzie who deserve special mention, too. One of them is Michael Hart
, who captains the London IP department. No stranger to high-profile litigation, Hart is a heavy-hitter who also lobbies on a broad range of IP topics. Another is Hiroshi Sheraton
, who has lately been representing L’Oréal on several key UK disputes in a broader multi-jurisdictional strategic advisory role. Sheraton is a veritable polyglot; he possesses an inside-out knowledge of pharmaceutical and biotechnological IP issues, as well as expertise at the intersection of IP and unfair competition law. Brand owners looking to cut deals should consult with Michelle Blunt
, who anchors the commercial IP practice. She and her team are fantastic at cross-border work, have superior tax credentials and know how to capitalise on the firm’s various trademark capabilities to ensure that brands are cared for throughout the course of a transaction. Among her clients is HSBC, whose external and intra-group trademark licensing activities she oversees. Remaining plugged into the team as a whole – and still close to key IP clients as a strategic sounding board – is Paul Rawlinson
, who was appointed global chair in October 2016.
Bear & Wolf
The practitioners at Bear & Wolf know trademark law back to front. They created the firm five years ago to render a more holistic brands service than the market was delivering; the team provides fundamental business support to rights holders and can advise on absolutely anything brand related. Judging by the fantastic diversity of famous companies and individuals who rely on the team, the Simon Tracey
and Mark Heritage
-led project has been a great success. “Sharp, quick, efficient, ultra-responsive and easy to deal with, they pitch themselves as consultants around brands and are super impressive on brand strategy.” These global thinkers continue to oversee the trademark and design portfolio of ASSOS of Switzerland and have been showcasing their versatility by advising the premium cycle wear purveyor during the revamp of its UK wholesale and retail distribution set-up. Working hand in hand with their increasingly prominent Frankfurt-based colleagues, they are also assisting Abercrombie & Fitch with substantial anti-counterfeiting matters in the United Kingdom and Germany.
Bird & Bird LLP
“When it comes to intellectual property, Bird & Bird is right at the top of the totem pole. It has a remarkable breadth of expertise and, leveraging its long geographical reach, takes a joined-up approach on international matters.” “The group clearly has a highly sophisticated knowledge of the law and excellent technical skills, but also manifests a rare understanding of its clients’ business strategy and appetite for risk.” This brings to mind Mark Holah
, whose “keen commercial sense” sets him apart as a “top IP professional”. Flexing his “extensive knowledge of EU trademark law and jurisprudence” and razor-sharp skills on important and extensive re-branding initiatives, he is one of the main attractions within a buzzing brand protection practice. This has been built from the ground up by Allan Poulter
, another star of the trademark world. Alongside all the great things he has done for his clients, one of his main accomplishments has been to successfully nurture up-and-coming talent within the firm; Patricia Collis
is one such example. She is making a name for herself as “an exceptional professional” and as a result, she takes her bow in the WTR 1000
this year. Clients find her to be “a reassuringly smart and practical lawyer”. The senior trademark attorney has a wealth of expertise on designs, as does fellow first-time entrant Ewan Grist
; a partner as of May 2017, he has been producing sterling work in the context of multi-jurisdictional design and patent enforcement programmes and has helped to cross-pollinate the firm’s broad expertise through the establishment of a new inter-departmental product compliance team. Sources call him “a responsive partner who is very pragmatic when it comes to infringement assessments”. Grist’s promotion, and that of Nick Aries
the previous year, signals that Bird & Bird’s litigation and enforcement practice is flourishing. With brand value increasing and businesses re-examining old coexistence agreements to look for underlying rights they can enforce, Aries is well placed with his combination of courtroom dexterity and finely honed transactional skills. He and gold-tier litigator Peter Brownlow
like to immerse themselves in their cases, which inspires confidence. Peers call Brownlow “a top-quality litigator and smooth operator who is good to tussle with”. He builds “an excellent rapport with clients” by aligning his legal advice and representation with their commercial aims. Bird & Bird can cater to any brand owner’s need and has specialists for every occasion; for franchising and licensing, look no further than Mark Abell
, a “technically bright, erudite lawyer who is well versed in franchise law internationally”. “He is quite provocative, in a good way, and always has interesting points to bring to a discussion. He loves intellectual property and has been going from strength to strength since he joined Bird & Bird in 2013.”
Regional commercial player Blake Morgan stands out for the strength and depth of its IP offering and its distinctive focus on brands. The team sustains an excellent reputation in the retail sector and advises Wiggle – alongside many others – on worldwide trademark protection. The side strikes the right tone in its representation, possesses a well-rounded skill set and has carved out a niche for itself in the charities sector. Acting for food bank operator The Trussell Trust, up-and-coming associate Ben Evans
has showcased a deft touch on complex trademark registry proceedings. “Ben knows his stuff in the world of trademarks and provides excellent commercial advice. He comes up with creative solutions and is prompt, efficient and proactive.” His growth as a trademark professional has been facilitated and nurtured by the mentorship of IP head Jill Bainbridge
. One source calls Bainbridge “the most knowledgeable and professional of all foreign associates we know”, while praising her dexterous handling of sophisticated UK and EU trademark issues. As one barrister comments: “Jill is quietly spoken but strong minded. She is sensible, commercially aware, efficient and a delight to work with. She understands how to handle charitable institutions and gives realistic advice when faced with any type of client that wants to bring ill-conceived claims.” Evans, Bainbridge and the rest of the Blake Morgan team represent “excellent value for money”.
When Berwin Leighton Paisner pulled out of the trademark game, Bristows capitalised, hiring Simon Clark
and Ian Gruselle
to build on what was already one of the UK’s most compelling trademark practices. “An incredibly bright and intelligent lawyer who is good at thinking outside the box”, Clark is one of the top design rights experts on the market and a crackerjack soft IP litigator. Gruselle, who heads the trademark prosecution practice – the first member of the partnership to do so – “provides fast, pragmatic and useful advice on the management of worldwide portfolios”. Their arrival underscores that Bristows is all about overseeing the full lifecycle of a brand; better than just about anyone, the firm can get products on the shelf and prevent anybody from infringing on them. There are many contributors to this effort, each of whom brings a different set of skills. Paul Jordan
, for example, has copious advertising, marketing and promotions expertise for brand owners to take advantage of. He has “amazing interpersonal skills and, as well as being strong on the technical aspects of intellectual property, thinks commercially about everything”. Patrons “thoroughly enjoy working with him” and call him an “exceptionally responsive, amiable and excellent lawyer who is eminently fair and reasonable with respect to invoices”. Supplying cutting-edge IP commercialisation knowledge is Laura Anderson
, “a stand-out member of the licensing community”. “Quietly confident, she has an excellent understanding of brand commercialisation.” She has lately been advising Diageo on a deal with Piers Adam to develop a new whisky brand, Copper Dog. Jeremy Blum
is on the frontlines of an auspicious litigation practice and brings a level head to hotly contested disputes, particularly within the digital realm; he is a thought leader on topics such as AdWords, intermediary liability and copyright. He frequently links with statesman of the IP bar Paul Walsh
, “a leading light with a stellar client base”, which includes the BBC and Mondelez International. On behalf of the latter, Blum and Walsh have been on point in a conflict with Nestlé over its application for protection of the shape of its four-finger Kit Kat chocolate bar. Tribute must be paid to Theo Savvides, who passed away in July 2017; he was a much-loved member of the profession, who will be remembered for his kindness, enthusiasm and commitment.
Browne Jacobson LLP
Undertaking a slew of headline-making work covering all aspects of trademark protection, enforcement and commercialisation and judiciously recruiting high-level talent, Browne Jacobson is rapidly expanding in the trademark world and ascends to the WTR 1000
silver tier for 2018. The side also garners great reviews from the clients who know it best: “The firm’s response times are extremely fast, it has a depth of industry knowledge and possesses a high degree of commercial acumen. The team lays out its advice in a way that non-lawyers can easily understand and the value proposition is good, too.” Speaking of high-profile matters, litigators Cerryg Jones
and Bonita Trimmer
have been successfully representing Comic Enterprises against Twentieth Century Fox in the ‘Glee’ dispute – the first registered trademark case to reach the Supreme Court for many years. Trimmer has also been representing the London Taxi Corporation against Frazer Nash Research in a cutting-edge piece of three-dimensional trademark litigation; leveraging a unique relationship – dubbed ‘More Together’ – with brilliant trademark attorney outfit Barker Brettell, the team is also advising London Taxi on its merchandising programme. “Jones has excellent judgement, always thinks outside the box – not along tramlines – and inspires great loyalty in his team.” A top barrister also notes: “He seems to win more of his cases than anyone else.” Browne Jacobson certainly made a smart move when it recruited him from Gowling WLG in February 2017. Trimmer, who makes a well-deserved debut in the listings this year, is “an extremely thorough professional with excellent attention to detail and great client-management skills”. One source comments: “She has the best legal knowledge of any senior associate I have ever met – partly because she used to be a professional support lawyer before moving into litigation.” Also pushing boundaries on the London Taxi matter, patent litigation head and trademark ace Mark Daniels
garners enthusiastic praise. “Extremely bright and unflappable, he is a great partner for a wide range of big-name clients.” Although not yet listed in the guide, young associate Giles Parsons also merits a mention for his litigation dexterity: “He is diligent, shows patience when under fire from the enemy and produces excellent quality written work.” Top brands are attracted to Browne Jacobson not only by the litigation offering, but also by its sterling brand strategy and advisory capabilities, which are cultivated by head of intellectual property Declan Cushley
. “He is a skilled IP lawyer with a good view on how intellectual property functions in the real world. He has an eye for commercial solutions and is a good communicator who keeps you updated about new rules and case law that might affect your position.” Anchoring the transactional practice, meanwhile, is London partner Alex Watt
, a brand promotion, advertising and marketing maestro. He can make his advice resonate with different audiences, be it the numerous street artists he represents – whose work he protects from being illegally used by advertising agencies and brands – or iconic brands such as Triumph Motorcycle, whose advertising and marketing needs he takes care of.
Burges Salmon LLP
Rising to the WTR 1000
silver tier this year, Burges Salmon keeps a burgeoning roster of household names happy with its commercially attuned and pragmatic trademark counsel. The side builds relationships, rather than providing a one-and-done transactional service, and goes the extra mile to get a full picture of a brand and what it wants to achieve in its marketplace. In line with this, the firm dispenses a comprehensive suite of services covering trademark prosecution, litigation and monetisation. The team has been building an excellent reputation for protecting and enforcing legally challenging brands, such as Jack Wolfskin’s paw print mark, and has a variety of attack plans up its sleeve to throw off those who want to compete with its clients. At the head of the practice is “no-nonsense partner” Jeremy Dickerson
, “an experienced IP litigator with a pragmatic approach” and “a credible advocate who never makes a spurious argument”. “Jeremy handles more sensitive, high-profile matters and has the ability and toughness that this task requires, but he is also a great leader who has done a top job building up his bench. Members of his prosecution team, such as Chris Morris, are extremely astute, respond on time and provide well-reasoned, pragmatic advice.” Dickerson – together with Morris and other rising stars Emily Roberts and Georgina Shaw – provides UK and EU trademark infringement advice and clearance services for new brands, slogans and logos. Being appointed to the legal panel of Waitrose and John Lewis is a recent highlight in terms of new business. Dickerson secured this deal alongside Helen Scott-Lawler
, a transactional IP miracle maker with a rigorously commercial mindset.
Charles Russell Speechlys
Charles Russell Speechlys may not have the largest trademark team, but it maintains a highly sophisticated practice that encompasses every facet of brand-related activity, while close integration within the wider organisation ensures that the group has access to heaps of digital media, reputation management and unfair competition expertise. In the area of non-traditional marks, the firm has become a go-to thanks to the thought leadership demonstrated by head of intellectual property and hugely respected Mary Bagnall
. Seeing the big picture, taking a commercial view and getting clients quickly to their desired destination are all things she does terrifically well, as one respondent avers: “Sound and sensible – and incredibly easy to work with – she is someone you can trust with a high-profile case.” Mandates do not come much more high-profile than Cadbury’s battle with Nestlé to protect its purple colour as a trademark; Bagnall has been working wonders in this knotty dispute. Charles Russell Speechlys is also a prime choice for rights holders with concerns surrounding Brexit. As president of the UK Chartered Institute of Trademark Attorneys (CITMA), senior counsel Kate O’Rourke
has been at the very forefront of the IP discussion around Brexit and sources have high praise for her performance in this role: “She is doing an amazing job at a difficult time – she is really engaged and enthusiastic and has a great vision for the future. She gets things done efficiently and in a business-like manner and is a great ambassador. Balanced and measured, she is excellent at public speaking and is proficient at managing large groups of people.” O’Rourke captains the prosecution and portfolio strategy group at the firm and has proven to be a dedicated leader, despite the responsibilities of her CITMA engagement. Showcasing her specialist charities expertise, O’Rourke has recently been representing the Dogs Trust in the successful registration of the slogan ‘A dog is for life, not just for Christmas’. Clients describe her as being “very pragmatic” and praise the way she “manages expectations clearly, realistically and with confidence”. “She is highly professional and results oriented and a leading expert in her field.” A robust transactional practice is another string to the firm’s bow; Jennifer Pierce
anchors this side of the business. Whether running a worldwide licensing programme for a household name or creating a new licensing portfolio for a company that is starting on the path to monetising its intellectual property, Pierce has it all covered. The razor-sharp skills of this closely knit expert panel of lawyers elevate Charles Russell Speechlys into the silver tier in this year’s WTR 1000
Clyde & Co LLP
Unusually for a major City firm – and particularly for such a prominent leader in commercial litigation – Clyde & Co lacked an IP litigation capability until as recently as 2015. However, it has since addressed this emphatically, having hired David Wilkinson
, whose mix of rain-making expertise, team-building proficiency and trial skill makes him a rare breed. While there are plenty of people with the solicitor-advocate qualification, few use it regularly and, even among those who do, few are as effective as Wilkinson, who has personally taken the lead on several full trials. He garners outstanding feedback across the board and moves into the gold tier this year: “He is clearly a leading expert in the trademark field and gives clear, direct commercial advice backed by expert legal knowledge and the practical skills he has developed through such a busy practice. Since joining Clyde & Co, he has built a strong team from a standing start, which speaks volumes about his ability and reputation – he is someone who can attract high-calibre individuals.” One of those is Rebecca Costen
, who debuts in the WTR 1000
for 2018 with style. “She is definitely a star of the future – a very matter-of-fact, solutions-focused lawyer who is technically excellent, unstuffy and easy to work with.” “She provides an outstanding level of service and incredibly detailed advice and is always finding ways to add value. She puts clients in the best protection and risk-mitigation positions and is courteous, cordial, accessible and utterly responsive, even on short notice.”
CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang LLP
The bold three-way merger between CMS Cameron McKenna, Nabarro and Olswang certainly got people talking. While many practitioners are waiting to see how successful the new arrangement is, what is not in doubt is that it has created one of the largest teams of top-class trademark experts in the country; no other firm has seven individuals recognised in the UK section of the WTR 1000
. Heading up the IP team is Tom Scourfield
, a “thorough, dependable and sensible litigator and a tough opponent for anyone”. Coming from the Nabarro side are all-rounder Guy Heath
, contentious IP ace David Parrish
and prosecution and portfolio management expert Louise Gellman
, each of whom garner excellent references. “Guy is an outstanding negotiator who demonstrates insightful and creative thinking, expert draftsmanship and end-to-end prosecution to enforcement expertise. He and his team bring great legal dexterity to bear while never losing sight of the practical objective.” “David knows every detail of EU trademark law”; “Louise is down to earth and provides practical solutions to prosecution issues with the minimum of fuss.” The crew from Olswang includes Joel Barry
, Helen Newman
and Sarah Wright
, a redoubtable triumvirate of experts who cover all aspects of trademark protection, enforcement and commercialisation. “Bright, pragmatic and user friendly”, Barry is a media aficionado with a broad brands practice, while Newman is a transactional and strategic mastermind whose niche lies in the fashion and luxury goods sector. As head of the CMS trademarks practice, Wright is a business-minded portfolio manager known for her efficiency.
Collyer Bristow LLP
Collyer Bristow has been dispensing top-drawer IP services for decades. Of late it has gained increased visibility as a result of shrewd lateral hiring and thought and practice leadership in trademark litigation at the IP Enterprise Court (IPEC) and as a result it makes its debut in the WTR 1000
this year. The arrival of Tim Bamford
in 2014 was a turning point for the team. A contentious expert with an international practice, he shines as “an extremely experienced and effective High Court litigator”. “Tim is a highly skilled tactician and is excellent with clients. He explains complex issues in straightforward terms and inspires confidence with his incisive analysis. He manages multi-forum disputes decisively.” Following Bamford’s arrival, in late 2015 ex-Rouse managing partner and head of disputes Karen Fong
joined the crew. A global IP thinker, she has significantly enhanced Collyer Bristow’s cross-border capabilities and taken the firm to the forefront of trademark issues in the fashion sector. In terms of IPEC litigation, head of intellectual property and data protection Patrick Wheeler
is the real deal. “He has been very active in leading cases” and developed cutting-edge expertise on, for example, civil restraint orders and costs issues. “The advice given by the firm’s litigators is succinct, confident and clear. They give a good read on costs and likelihood of success and recommend the right barristers to take cases. They’re really easy to deal with and prompt and they have bags of experience but don’t charge City rates.”
US import Cooley is creating a buzz in Europe and, in representing some of the world’s most valuable and famous brands, has become one of the top law firm filers of European trademarks. Its London team is helmed by Nicholas Bolter
, a lawyer at the top of his game and the trademark profession, whom clients can ring any time of the day or night and get immediate advice on anything. One blue-chip client comments: “Nick has a keen sense of who we are as a company – what our risk tolerance is and what our needs are. He is extremely practical in his legal advice and business minded, too. He has a solid team of top-notch professionals around him who provide invaluable support and he is an integral part of my work each and every day.” His peers and competitors are also forthcoming in their praise: “Nick acts for much of Silicon Valley, which demonstrates the level of his skill. He gives straight answers and is highly responsive; he enjoys what he does and always has a smile on his face.” His trademark and designs expertise is all-encompassing, so brand owners can use him as a one-stop shop for any protection and enforcement task in Europe – an arrangement which means that Bolter offers an incredibly efficient and cost-effective service.
Global outfit Dentons might not be one of London’s marquee names in the field of trademark law, but it is without doubt an assured performer when it comes to contentious matters. This is thanks to “extremely good litigator” John Linneker
, a “clear-sighted, efficient and unflappable guy who is great with clients”. “Tactically smart, he knows what buttons to push to get the right reactions and can get to a satisfactory settlement quickly.”
DLA Piper UK LLP
DLA Piper has a growing trademark prosecution practice in the United Kingdom, and is also good at giving strategic advice in the context of litigation and representing parties in the High Court. When the side’s global capabilities are factored in, the firm is a compelling option for those who want to capitalise on the advantages of an international one-stop shop for brand-related services. Ruth Hoy
, who captains the UK IP practice, has an instinctive feel for the scale of the problems her clients face, is sensitive to the budgets they have for tackling them and comes up with appropriate, commercially driven solutions. Lately she has been advising Papa John’s on UK, EU and global trademark strategy and anchored a major rebranding project for VimpelCom, which required the effective use of the firm’s wider resources. Accompanying her on the latter was Désirée Fields
, the team’s chief prosecution expert. “She gives great clearance advice and her calls on key issues feel well thought through and commercial.” When things get spicy, experienced IP and media litigator John Wilks
comes to the rescue; he has recently handled important oppositions for watchmaker Eone and Edible Arrangements, among others. Wilks brings a lot to the team and his expertise in areas such as data protection and advertising gives comfort to troubled brand owners; he is also a font of wisdom on domain name issues. “He really makes the effort to understand his clients’ business needs.”
An early adopter of the prosecution-plus-litigation model among commercial law firms, Fieldfisher offers holistic trademark solutions founded on extensive experience protecting, enforcing and commercialising rights. It has a large IP team which includes lawyers, trademark attorneys, skilled paralegals and formalities specialists and, by choosing just the right tool for the job, can take on sizeable projects at a very competitive price point. As a result, it has lately been winning competitive tenders left, right and centre, adding the likes of Dixons Carphone and Astellas to an already impressive roster of clients. Head of the IP protection team Leighton Cassidy
is the go-to for many: “He has superb attention to detail and astutely manages large portfolios for worldwide brands.” Although most of his work revolves around trademark disputes, solicitor and trademark attorney Hastings Guise
also has a flair for coordinating sweeping international filing programmes and is a clear-sighted adviser for companies bringing new brands to the market. Whatever the task, by all accounts he does a fantastic job: “He provides clear, concise advice and concrete guidance, taking into account the state of the market in which you operate. Importantly, he also trains younger associates well.” He has risen up through the ranks under the stewardship of Nick Rose
, who heads the IP and technology litigation group. “Both Hastings and Nick are extremely knowledgeable and practical when it comes to enforcement. They put clients’ business interests first and are committed to providing an excellent client service.” Rose also links up well with Cassidy and their work for Google is a case in point; in seamless fashion, the team takes care of all of the tech behemoth’s UK trademark work, a key element of which is the enforcement of its Android trademark. With David Bond
at the helm, Fieldfisher also runs one of the top franchising and licensing operations in the country. In addition, Bond brings a lot to the brand management practice in the form of up-to-the-minute advertising and marketing expertise.
Fox Williams LLP
Fox Williams takes a commercial approach to intellectual property and provides virtually any trademark service that supports the business development of its clients. It has a versatile and popular lawyer in Simon Bennett
, an experienced enforcement and dispute resolution whizz who also provides worldly wise advice on brand strategy. The “pragmatic professional” is also “extremely knowledgeable on transactional IP matters”. Foreign associates highlight Bennet’s “deep expertise on the protection of IP rights in the fashion industry”, which is a subject that Stephen Sidkin
also knows all about. A founding partner of the firm, Sidkin heads the commerce and technology department and is known to be an authority on agency, distribution, franchising and licensing agreements.
When it comes to brands, Gowling WLG is so much more than a litigation team; it provides perceptive strategic solutions to trademark problems whichever form they take. Moreover, it does so internationally, thanks to the close integration of its teams in North America, Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Adjacent expertise in areas such as advertising and designs – particularly the work done by Dan Smith and John Coldham – only enhances its comprehensive offering. Providing dynamic leadership to the UK brands and designs group is Kate Swaine
, who has played a central role in synthesising the international team following mergers and expansions. Clients look to her for global guidance and certainty on international costs and she delivers time and time again. Swaine advises Weetabix on portfolio management and development worldwide, ensuring a consistent service and approach across borders. When it comes to enforcement, “Kate is incredibly smart, creative and energetic, and full of bright ideas – someone you want in your corner in litigation”. Another experienced litigator is Alexandra Brodie
, who fights on all IP fronts, but is particularly effective on cases involving technology and household brands. Gordon Harris
is also versatile; the co-head of intellectual property is best known for his patent and industrial designs know-how, but has also been on the frontlines of cases that have helped to shape trademark law. Respondents consider him to be an international visionary who knows where the law is heading and a lawyer with a terrific network of contacts around the world.
Herbert Smith Freehills LLP
For Herbert Smith Freehills, hard-hitting contentious work is very much its metier; it has a redoubtable commercial litigation group and abundant expertise on brands, as well as marketing, advertising and regulatory law. “The firm is a heavyweight – when you have it on your side, people know that you mean business. Its lawyers are incredibly good, they write the punchiest letters and just deliver a seriously high-quality product.” However, the side is no one-trick pony and excels on IP risk management, strategy and transactions and adopts a broad view when it comes to the business of brands. This is something clients such as British American Tobacco capitalise on; the company has tasked Joel Smith
to advise it on plain packaging measures and represent it in judicial review proceedings. Smith – who heads the UK IP group – is hailed as a hands-on, “commercially astute, user-friendly, thoroughly accessible lawyer who delivers clear and robust advice”. A “first-class litigator”, he has lately been acting for Love Productions – the company behind television mega-hit The Great British Bake Off
– in a trademark infringement and passing-off dispute and representing Geox against Gola, acting in conjunction with the firm’s Paris office. Another connoisseur of brands is Mark Shillito
, who heads the Herbert Smith Freehills global IP group.
Hogan Lovells is a truly global one-stop shop for trademark protection and enforcement, which makes it a magnet for some of the world’s best-loved brands. It does not operate a franchise model and there is not a weak office in its network; the London crew in particular maintains the highest standards of quality and ascends to the WTR 1000
silver tier this year as a result. UK head of brands Sahira Khwaja
has been leading the line on major pieces of litigation of late and is acting for Merck Sharp and Dohme in an international dispute against Merck KGaA. Alongside Charlie Winckworth
, she is also representing Jack Daniels, Mattel, adidas, Toshiba and Caterpillar in anti-counterfeiting matters. Khwaja has a gift for understanding what makes her clients tick on a commercial level and then tailoring her strategies and approach to achieve business aims – if that means staying out of court or going the distance, she is always ready. Pragmatism and business aptitude also characterise Winckworth’s style, whether in a litigious or transactional context. He is regularly involved in market-altering deals and has been advising SABMiller on the splitting of IP assets in connection with the takeover by AB InBev.
Among solicitor firms with combined trademark litigation and prosecution offerings, Lewis Silkin turns heads; it has done a brilliant job integrating its attorney team and consequently renders some of the most holistic support to brand owners on the market. Proof of its quality has come in the form of consistent year-on-year growth and the group’s trajectory has remained unchanged of late. On the non-contentious front, Dominic Farnsworth
and Steven Jennings
have been busy on a global level for the likes of Monsoon, Omnicom and Walker Books, among many others. These two are so much more than just portfolio managers, though – they operate at the bleeding edge of brand creation. Farnsworth earns plaudits from US foreign associates, who call him “responsive and meticulous” and “someone you can trust to do an excellent job on UK and EU filings, as well as provide superb assistance on advertising issues”. Jennings is distinguished even among the United Kingdom’s elite trademark attorneys, thanks to his remarkable in-house experience. With business-critical wins coming thick and fast, nothing seems to have changed on the contentious side of the practice. Litigator in chief Simon Chapman
, who has recently been advising Lush on all its contentious UK and EU IP matters, “provides sound and creative counsel, and does a terrific job defining the pros and cons of different actions”. “When you follow his advice, you can achieve great results in litigation, opposition and cancellation proceedings – he can be recommended unconditionally.” Another dispute resolution ace who receives phenomenal feedback is Giles Crown
, who manages the ‘creators, makers and innovators’ division. “Giles is highly responsive and very commercially focused. His tone is always perfectly pitched and he resolves matters quickly and effortlessly.” He is an expert on areas adjacent to trademarks, including advertising, marketing and regulatory law and, “because of his breadth of experience, he is often able to add value when advising on trademark matters”.
Locke Lord LLP
Locke Lord is one of the few firms in London that can provide all-encompassing support to brand owners for all their US and European trademark needs. Its Bishopsgate office is best known as the base of operations for John Olsen
, a long-serving member of the global trademark nobility. “A real scholar who knows the law backwards and forwards”, he also “takes the time to understand his clients’ business objectives and then tailors his advice to further those aims”. “He really loves his clients, is so passionate about trademarks and is a top-notch service provider with vast experience.” Also starting to garner recognition is counsel Ben Hitchens, a “pragmatic, concise and commercial” lawyer who is “not afraid to advise against a course of action if it increases costs without a tangible benefit”.
Marks & Clerk Solicitors LLP
Marks & Clerk Solicitors is completely at home when tackling trademark litigation at the IPEC and the High Court – not to mention administrative proceedings in the UK and EU IP offices – but a key to its success has been keeping clients out of court in the first place. Critical in this regard is the group’s close integration with the Marks & Clerk trademark attorneys, thanks to which the solicitor team has “excellent prosecution insights that can easily be utilised to resolve disputes”. Equally crucial to the firm’s success is the perspicacious strategic and big-picture thinking of partner Kirsten Gilbert
. As a top barrister confirms: “Kirsten has considerable experience and is tactically astute, easy to deal with and unflappable.” Another source describes her as being “prompt and precise, and able to explain strategy in ways that are easy to comprehend”. She enforces the rights of Jägermeister in the United Kingdom, dexterously coordinating sweeping campaigns against myriad infringers.
Mishcon de Reya LLP
Undertaking high-end trademark work for an amazing assortment of clients in a multitude of sectors, Mishcon de Reya is cooking on gas right now. Running a dedicated brand management function alongside a redoubtable litigation and transactional offering, the sizeable IP group covers all the bases for discerning brand owners with an eye for quality. While the side has had a ridiculously busy year on all fronts, the team has kept all the plates spinning under the leadership of enforcement ace Jeremy Hertzog
. A gold-tier litigator and long-time confidant of huge brands such as Sky, David Rose
has been instrumental in elevating the team’s market profile lately. Peers refer to Rose as “a seasoned strategist” who takes a “balanced, measured and reasonable” approach to litigation and respect him as “a challenging opponent who works incredibly hard”. He and Sally Britton
act for News UK and ensured that, after a rigorous selection process, Mishcon de Reya was appointed as the company’s first sole trademark counsel. The lynchpin of the prosecution practice, Britton calls on her extensive in-house experience to offer holistic trademark protection advice that aligns precisely with the commercial requirements of her clients, which include Fiorucci, Temperley, Charlotte Olympia and Badoo. “A thoughtful counsellor who delivers practical UK and EU-level advice quickly, she maintains a vibrant practice.” Another option for those in need of percipient portfolio management insight is Ray Black
, whose practice is flourishing since he joined the firm two years ago. New to the WTR 1000
this year, Lewis Cohen
’s speciality lies in complex IP-rich transactions. A master at maximising the value companies get from their intangible assets, the dynamic commercial partner has negotiated countless agreements; his workload is broad and diverse and he stays sharp and ready for anything as a result. The practice was bolstered in September 2017 by the arrival of Emmy Hunt, formerly of Redd Solicitors. “Emmy’s work is precise in every respect, and she is brilliant at evaluating the pros and cons of any given situation or course of action nationally and internationally”.
Norton Rose Fulbright LLP
Norton Rose Fulbright has had one of the biggest brands practices in the United States for a long time, but it has become a trademark force in the United Kingdom and Europe only in recent years. The team in London is a cogent choice for those who seek wraparound solutions to international brand conundrums, as it combines a hard-hitting litigation and enforcement offering with a substantial brand management and prosecution practice. The latter was added in 2014, and has built up a serious head of steam under the direction of Clare Jackman
, who debuts in the WTR 1000
this year on the back of emphatic endorsements from clients. “At all times, Clare’s advice is practical and accurate. She achieves every goal you set her in exemplary fashion, on time and within budget, and can be recommended unhesitatingly for anyone seeking high-quality IP advice.” Huw Evans
has been instrumental in transforming what was a small IP practice typical of a big international corporate firm into a standalone brands practice; he oversees patent and trademark litigation efforts with equanimity.
With its sprawling European network, Osborne Clarke is a safe bet for companies who want continuity of service post-Brexit. It has impressed of late with its activities in the lateral market; most notably, it hired Arty Rajendra
and Mark Foreman
from Rouse at the start of 2017 – a move which bolstered its brand capabilities considerably. Rajendra has a “superb trademark litigation pedigree and cut her teeth on parallel import litigation”; she continues to be an authority in that area, but delivers top-class results on anything contentious and IP-related at a domestic and European level. She was appointed head of IP disputes in May 2017, while Foreman takes on the mantle of director of trademarks. Before he arrived, Osborne Clarke UK did not file trademarks directly, but now it manages 6,000 marks on behalf of prestigious clients. From his time at Rouse, Foreman has developed top-drawer expertise in the protection of trademarks in emerging markets; he understands the finer points of international trademark strategy and is extremely well connected. The pair link up with Robert Guthrie
, a “thoughtful, insightful litigator” with especially impressive domain expertise in the fashion, media and entertainment industries.
Pinsent Masons is in fine fettle when it comes to high-profile trademark litigation in the UK courts and the European Court of Justice. Iain Connor
, who captains the contentious IP practice, provides reassurance when trouble brews, having performed with distinction in a number of leading cases. He devises attack plans for any eventuality and has a gift for picking the right one for the dispute at hand; while devoting the necessary resources to secure the right result, he takes a highly calculated and strategic approach.
Powell Gilbert LLP
“The best patent firm in London”, Powell Gilbert also puts in performances with éclat
in domestic and multi-jurisdictional trademark infringement litigation. Simon Ayrton
oversees a thriving soft IP practice and has had an extremely busy year asserting a range of famous marks on behalf of Procter & Gamble; he has also been handling multiple counterfeiting and parallel import cases for the consumer goods giant. His tailor-made contentious strategies have also gone down well for furniture makers, including Vitra, Casina, Fritz Hansen and Knoll, which have instructed him to tackle problems arising from the unauthorised replication of famous designs. One of Ayrton’s fortes is mentoring up-and-coming talent; one of his protégés is of counsel Alex Borthwick, who has played a key role in all of the undertakings for Procter & Gamble.
Reed Smith LLP
When under the spotlight in heavy-duty IP litigation, international outfit Reed Smith performs exceptionally. The set’s trademark partners are not satisfied doing business development work – they love rolling up their sleeves and getting their hands dirty with legal projects; in a similar vein, they gain inspiration from really getting to know the business drivers and sector-specific issues of their clients. Michael Skrein
, Carolyn Pepper
and Emma Lenthall
form a close-knit group and are recognised as “commercially focused IP experts and leaders who you need on the shortlist for big-ticket cases”. “In a challenging dispute throwing up novel issues, Skrein is a safe pair of hands.” Sources call him “the ultimate strategist”, particularly on the international stage. “Carolyn is really fantastic – she has great vision and knows where you need to get to and how to get you there.” Having handled a broad array of commercial and IP cases, she has sharpened her litigation skills to a fine point. The same is true of Lenthall, who is often called in to strategise on contentious issues when new brands are launched into the market; she is well suited to this, given her all-encompassing trademark, advertising, marketing and media expertise.
RPC is well equipped to support trademark owners in the most meaningful way at every stage of the brand lifecycle. The results-oriented crew makes it its mission to step into clients’ shoes and find out what matters to them most in their industry, particularly in the retail, media, food and drink and technology realms. “The team is highly commercial and really understands business priorities and it tailors its service accordingly. It doesn’t give dry advice or leave decisions entirely up to the client; it identifies practical solutions which you can take back to the C-suite. It also represents excellent value for money.” RPC is one of the most active commercial litigation firms and has an outstanding pedigree when it comes to IP contentions. “First-rate litigator” Jeremy Drew
recently showcased his skills acting for Champagne Louis Roederer in a successful trademark infringement and passing-off claim against J Garcia Carrion, following on from which Drew secured recovery of an uncommonly high percentage (93%) of his client’s costs. Meanwhile, Paul Joseph
represented the BBC in a dispute with Take-Two Interactive – owner of Grand Theft Auto
publisher Rockstar Games – over the BBC’s broadcast of drama The Gamechangers
starring Daniel Radcliffe. “Paul provides sound and accessible advice that meets business objectives.” “An excellent tactical lawyer”, David Cran
performs at a high level in critical spats with international components, but is also highly sought after as a vigilant portfolio manager; lately he has been counselling SSP Group – owner of Millie’s Cookies, Café Ritazza and Upper Crust – Selfridges and Dunlop International on trademark strategy. All three lawyers know how to seal IP-driven deals, but the leading RPC commercial contracts expert is big brands, digital media, advertising and marketing aficionado Oliver Bray
Simmons & Simmons LLP
Cutting a dash as an international trademark prosecution, litigation and transactions powerhouse, Simmons & Simmons serves up first-class IP advice to a plethora of famous brands. A notable recent development for the side has been the promotion of highly innovative lawyer Darren Meale
to partner. The feedback he received secures his first appearance in the WTR 1000
: “Darren is always available, quick to respond and willing to go an extra mile or two. Beyond his exceptional level of trademark expertise, he impresses with a strong desire and ability to help his clients succeed in business.” One patron recounts: “In a dispute in which the odds seemed to be stacked against us, Darren managed to achieve a very satisfactory settlement at a fraction of the cost we were initially looking at. He is extremely professional at all times and his advice instils confidence.” Among his blue-chip clients are Warner Bros Entertainment, whose DC Comics trademark portfolio he has been protecting and enforcing in Europe, and Virgin Media, whose brand strategy he oversees. When working his way through the ranks, Meale drew inspiration from Adrian Smith
, “a lawyer who you can always count on to provide solid, pragmatic advice in the most difficult and significant trademark cases”. The “true all-rounder” has recently advised Imperial Brands company Fontem Ventures on strategic design filing, handled global prosecution matters and contentious proceedings for Theravance Biopharma and acted for the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children on protection and enforcement issues. Simmons & Simmons has a freestanding IP transactions team, which has been undergoing a period of significant growth lately. On the frontlines of this is Michael Gavey
, who has negotiated every type of IP agreement under the sun – experience which comes in handy when facilitating collaborations between disparate parties.
Squire Patton Boggs
The modest London IP team at Squire Patton Boggs punches well above its weight to protect the rights of worldwide brands such as Deutsche Bank, Clarks, Hobbs and Cath Kidston. For all of these clients and many more besides, it is active internationally and links up in seamless fashion with teams in Germany, the United States, Hong Kong and China; few groups can deliver a global service so effectively. Leading the UK trademark contingent is Florian Traub
, who “knows how to get a great result” whatever the weather. The UK and German lawyer is a savvy all-rounder who provides gilt-edged brand management advice and resolute representation in litigation. With trademark attorneys in his squad, he is primed to take on complex court cases with associated UK and European registry proceedings.
Stephenson Harwood LLP
A lightning rod for praise, “dynamic and efficient firm” Stephenson Harwood impresses every client it serves, the associates it works with around the world and even the opponents it faces. Its “fantastic trademark litigation team” burns brightly in multi-jurisdictional disputes – particularly in the chief coordination role – and is “absolutely outstanding in difficult cases”. Dynamic duo Eifion Morris
and Rob Jacob
have been lighting up the international stage recently, particularly following their performance on behalf of GlaxoSmithKline in a 30-plus country dispute against Sandoz concerning the colour purple on asthma inhalers. “Eifion is a genius at managing cross-border cases and is a crafty lawyer with a perfect balance of trademark knowledge and business acumen. He goes above and beyond the brief to provide the best solutions possible, and his service is unmatched.” “In terms of his ability to explain complex issues clearly and concisely, he is first class.” “Rob is a highly motivated lawyer with an exceptional gift for contentious work. He is unbelievably consistent, incredibly diligent and thorough and exceptionally good value for money. He’s cool, calm and collected, and very good at focusing on the essential elements of a case and identifying a position’s strengths and weaknesses. He is someone you can have absolute trust in.” Not to be outdone, IP deal broker and disputes maven Alexandra Pygall
is also widely applauded. “She has an easygoing and approachable manner, behind which is a brilliant mind. She is superb in the luxury and fashion field and, able to see the wood for the trees, is particularly effective on IP questions which are complicated by adjacent issues.” In recognition of her versatility, Pygall is listed in the WTR 1000
litigation, transactions and anti-counterfeiting tables. Recently, she has been busy with online enforcement and other tasks for Lego alongside anti-counterfeiting engagements for Swarovski.
Stevens & Bolton LLP
“Stevens & Bolton has a great name in intellectual property, and practises with a lot of verve and energy, which is great to see.” Its main unique selling point is that it is “an out-of-London firm charging out-of-London rates”, but one which “offers Herbert Smith-levels of expertise and quality”. Qualified solicitor-advocate and head of the trademark group Tom Lingard
, who spent seven years as an associate at Herbert Smith, has been ensuring that the practice is firing on all cylinders. A “highly knowledgeable and commercial lawyer with huge experience”, he has earned the trust of marquee names in the automotive and fashion and luxury goods sectors. Staying sharp as a result of the diversity of instructions he fields, he is building a great reputation as a renaissance man. “Responsive, timely and diligent, Tom provides detailed and thorough opinions on questions of strategy and brand management and is also excellent in trademark litigation.” Another name for the address book is Nicola Broadhurst
, one of the top franchising experts in the country and a go-to name for companies expanding overseas through franchising.
Taylor Wessing operates a well-oiled international IP machine; not only are its teams across Europe and in Asia seamlessly integrated, but so are its brand management, litigation and transactional practices. Across all practice areas and jurisdictions, the prestigious firm stands out for its “pragmatic and commercial advice” and “ability to create efficiencies and cost savings for clients”. “It clearly puts a lot of effort into developing its staff and its client relationships and in reviewing different ways of working in order to provide flexible services.” “Trademark law isn’t something Taylor Wessing merely dabbles in” – it has a deep bench of “extremely experienced partners” who are utterly committed to the practice. Mark Owen
, who recently took over the IP and media group leadership from Charles Lloyd
, is “especially good at advising Silicon Valley clients on strategic UK and EU copyright and trademark matters. He is brilliant at understanding the business models and risk tolerances of leaders in the technology economy and is near the top of the list when mission-critical IP matters arise”. Lloyd, who is also tech savvy, “understands his clients’ culture and expectations and gives clear-cut advice”. “He has outstanding knowledge regarding the procedural aspects of UK IP litigation and is uniquely skilled at communicating dense legal concepts in ways that are easy to understand. He is always available and is fun to be around and work with.” The best-known Taylor Wessing brands expert is Roland Mallinson
, a “tactically smart, solutions-focused” polymath who “studies cases in great detail before providing long-term global strategies”. He manages the portfolio of Orange, which encompasses some 4,500 marks in over 190 jurisdictions, together with France Delord
, another partner with “excellent strategic vision regarding international brand protection”. Leading the way in the fashion and luxury goods realm is Jason Rawkins
, a perspicacious counsellor and an “experienced and level-headed litigator”. One of the group’s senior counsel, Christopher Benson
earns plaudits from foreign associates as far away as New Zealand: “He’s a superb prosecution lawyer with a wealth of knowledge and experience.”
Wiggin merged with Redd in October 2017 and, with the latter having unequivocally received the most enthusiastic client feedback of any firm in the United Kingdom – and virtually any in the entire WTR 1000 – it certainly chose its partner well. “The Redd team has the skill and brainpower to rival any other, but is much more creative and offers greater flexibility. Flagging potential issues in ample time, it is highly proactive and incredibly responsive and pragmatic. It is extremely easy to cooperate with, and its fees are very reasonable when compared with other London firms.” Its team – one of the most cohesive and collaborative around – focuses on client-defined wins, and “doesn’t look for battles just for the sake of it”; leveraging its instinctive commercial understanding, it does a fantastic job keeping clients out of court. Talismanic leader Anna Carboni particularly excels in this regard, as do all members of the team. “Anna is one of the absolute best when it comes to brands – she has a global vision and the clarity of her thought on the subject of trademarks is just amazing. Her depth of knowledge and ability to think outside the box really make her stand out.” “She is like a business partner, more than just a lawyer.” Sara Ashby is another senior figure who demonstrates a “profound knowledge of design law to complement her trademark and patent expertise”. “Sara presents fast, accurate, concise and commercially oriented advice and is a brilliant litigator who gets results.” As a sign of the team’s evolution, it made two significant promotions prior to the Wiggin merger: Michael Browne became a partner and John Colbourn was made associate director, and both debut in the WTR 1000 this year. Browne, who has lately been working with Carboni on trademark protection, strategy and enforcement for 3M, is “an excellent IP and competition lawyer with a talent for litigation; he has also developed significant expertise in negotiating IP transactions”. “John is very organised and detailed in terms of the information and options he provides. His customer service is exceptional and he is highly responsive and efficient.” While many of these lawyers engage in IP deal negotiation, Simon Chalkley operates at the transactional cutting edge. The “top commercial lawyer” is “level-headed and concise and excellent at defining contractual relationships with speed and clarity”.
AA Thornton & Co
Foreign associates really value their relationship with AA Thornton, calling it “a fantastic resource which you can rely on totally for trademark matters in Europe”. Peers are also impressed, noting that “it does a top job defending its clients’ positions”. The long-established – but forward-thinking – outfit can render any trademark service, and has a wealth of enforcement and commercialisation know-how to complement its unassailable prosecution and portfolio management credentials. Trademark and design pro Ian Gill has technical and tactical acumen in abundance and can set large international portfolios in good stead. In his role as partnership chair, he has set high standards of efficiency – and cultivated a vibrant atmosphere within the firm. Vanessa Lawrence is another accomplished partner with a deft touch on global portfolios. Gaining an intimate familiarity with her clients’ businesses and industries is part of her modus operandi and “she provides pragmatic and commercial solutions” as a result.
Recently Barker Brettell has been winning tenders left, right and centre; the team goes the extra mile to formulate its advice and produce management information that in-house trademark lawyers can easily digest and take to the C-suite. Crucial to this effort are clear costings and, most importantly, excellent strategic counsel. It is no wonder that sources call Barker Brettell “extremely easy to work with”. “You can just pick up the phone to them and get an answer – it sounds obvious, but it isn’t the case with a lot of others. It also takes a really commercial approach to brand protection.” The size of the team – there are 25 trademark professionals and support staff – means that it can absorb unwieldy instructions and deliver results, even on the tightest timeframes. Never one to stand still, the side recently extended its European reach by opening an office in Germany and launched a new start-up initiative to support emerging businesses and entrepreneurs with fixed-price options. Wearing the captain’s armband, Sarah Lait
has been cultivating the firm’s reputation for expertise on non-traditional marks; digging into material going back nearly 100 years and proving a highly effective sleuth, she secured a registration for the three-dimensional shape of the AGA cooker. Catherine Wiseman
has also enjoyed many notable successes over the last year. Following a highly competitive tender process, she won the trademark work for the entire IMI business (having previously produced sterling results for the plc part of the organisation); since then, she has bent over backwards to create customised reporting strategies to suit the different divisions of the company. “Catherine is knowledgeable and pragmatic and explains IP concepts clearly to lay-people. She knows her clients’ business objectives and is excellent at assessing risk – you can completely trust her evaluations. On top of it all, she is highly responsive and very budget conscious.” Equally impressive traits are displayed by Tracy Arch
, a “practical and cost-effective” counsellor. An ace on anything food and drink related, she has a refined knowledge of commercial trends in a variety of sectors. New to the WTR 1000
this year is Lucy Walker
, a creative attorney with a growing book of business. “Lucy is fabulous – she works so hard and is always on top of everything. If she isn’t one now, she’ll be a star in the near future.” Foreign associates call her a “concise and trustworthy adviser for EU and UK clearance and oppositions”. Her knack for identifying new IP monetisation opportunities for clients is also particularly striking.
Boult Wade Tennant
“As margins get squeezed in the trademark prosecution world, some firms are relying too much on automation; Boult Wade Tennant isn’t more expensive than others, yet manages to be more thoughtful about the work. It never sacrifices quality and places the emphasis on providing a personal service.” “It is traditional in the best sense and a well-run professional organisation that won’t bleed all cases dry, like some commercial firms do.” “It manages expectations effectively and gives realistic and pragmatic advice” and, as a result, “cultivates long-term relationships with its clients”, which include top multinationals in the media, telecommunications, cosmetics and pharmaceutical sectors, among many others. Notably, the firm has not hired litigators and clients suggest that “this is a wise move – its specialisation is something to value”. Another of the firm’s attractions is its deep bench, which includes some of the biggest names in the profession – Catherine Wolfe
, for example. “Intellectually brilliant”, Wolfe “has a brain the size of Texas” and is “great at giving an opinion on where things might be going”. Not only that, “she is very hands-on, practical and solutions oriented”, “user-friendly and great fun to be around”. Tony Pluckrose
is another star of the WTR 1000
gold tier who has accumulated infinite wisdom over the years. “Tony is wonderful for strategic advice and is first-rate with clients – an excellent listener.” “He and Emma Pitcher
aren’t just senior managers, they roll up their sleeves and get stuck into the work, too.” Pitcher’s “enormous energy, enthusiasm and drive” give a great deal of momentum to the firm’s internationally oriented practice. She is a great choice for cases in far-flung locations such as Brazil and India, but “wherever she is in the world, she is always available. Her thoroughness and eye for detail are so impressive”. Also highly recommended are Felicity Hide
and Charlotte Duly
, both of whom manage key accounts and like Pitcher, bring dynamism to the practice. Hide is well versed across the whole of the trademark spectrum, but has niche expertise in areas such as coexistence agreements, domain name registration and dispute resolution. Duly manages international portfolios with finesse and leverages her contentious experience in prosecution to sew up protection which is designed to stand the test of time. Managing this sizeable set of high-calibre professionals is John Wallace
. An abundant source of insight on registry hearings and a rare trademark attorney with anti-counterfeiting expertise, he is a versatile operator who can be counted on in contentious circumstances.
“Carpmaels is a top-class outfit which is tremendously easy to deal with. Given the outstanding quality of the work it performs, its rates are highly competitive, too.” Unlike other attorney groups, the firm gets into the thick of the action when it comes to trademark litigation; it sits on the frontlines of meaty English High Court litigation and regularly plays a key coordination role on complex multi-jurisdictional disputes, particularly those that have strong trademark registry elements. The side has moved past the point where it needs to say to clients, ‘we have a litigation team now’; it is now more a case of ‘we can handle that – leave it with us’. Unfamiliar with the split IP profession, US brand owners draw particular comfort from this and rely on Carpmaels to help them figure out the European market. Leading the four-solicitor dispute resolution team, Ian Kirby
summarises problems easily and delivers succinct commercial advice; he has been taking work away from competitors, which tend to be more cautious and less efficient. While Kirby spends his time on patent and trademark cases, head of trademarks Jonathan Day
has a strong focus on brands. “Jonathan provides thorough and practical advice and is very responsive. He appreciates the complications that can arise when dealing with companies overseas and he knows which foreign attorneys will be the best resource. He is an outstanding counsellor who you can trust implicitly to lead you in the right direction.” As the litigation side of the practice grows, the firm has not lost its trademark protection and portfolio management skills by any stretch. A staunch ally for any brand owner – at any point in the trademark lifecycle – Roger Lush
continues to perform flawlessly when it comes to prosecution, IP commercialisation and enforcement. “Roger is an exemplary professional who provides legal and commercially pragmatic advice with great responsiveness. He makes strategic planning on a worldwide basis easy.” Lately, he has been acting for Belron, the world’s largest vehicle glass repair group, in connection with the global management of its trademark portfolio; one of his notable successes was registering the melody of its well-known ‘Autoglass repair, Autoglass replace’ jingle as an EU trademark.
Cleveland Scott York
Cleveland IP recently merged with Scott & York – a move which bolstered its patent and trademark offerings and prompted European expansion with the opening of a Brussels office as a part of post-Brexit planning. For many clients, it takes global responsibility for portfolios, which is testament to the level of trust it has earned. On the contentious side, the set is building momentum and cultivating a fine track record by pushing the boundaries in complex disputes. Whatever the matter at hand, the firm is great at putting together bespoke teams for clients by picking the most suitable pros at all levels; the depth and cohesiveness of its squad – the organisation’s talent retention rate is especially impressive – are a central part of its success in this regard. At the top of the practice is Jonathan Clegg
, an experienced and astute portfolio manager who handles administrative disputes across borders with distinction. Clients describe him as “responsive and knowledgeable” and “a delight to work with”, while peers confide that “when he is on the other side, you’re guaranteed to see an impressive performance – he is an extremely thorough practitioner who handles everything with the utmost professionalism”. There are many individuals who make this an “exceptional trademark team”. A big name in the industry, thought leader Imogen Wiseman
is attuned to trademark policy developments like few others; Lorna Hobbs
has over three decades of experience in the management of portfolios and has a gift for facilitating early wins in disputes, while senior associates Louise Westbury
and Joanna Larkey
demonstrate a high degree of strategic and commercial acumen. Newly minted partner Peter Houlihan
is the driving force behind Cleveland Scott York’s growing litigation practice. “Peter knows his cases extremely well and has contingency plans no matter what direction a matter takes. He offers sound legal advice without losing focus on the goals of your business. He is always available to discuss pending cases, which he manages meticulously while maintaining excellent response times.” “Cleveland Scott York’s overall level of service is continuously brilliant. The firm proactively provides high-quality solutions, is efficient and reasonably priced.”
D Young & Co is a well-established player in an incredibly competitive market, which makes its consistent year-on-year growth all the more impressive. Intractable trademark problems are rare these days, but few firms are as well equipped as this one to handle complex and multifaceted brand-related issues; the outfit’s team of experts is substantial and they artfully cross the prosecution-litigation divide. It is now seven years since D Young & Co established its litigation practice and given its fabulous list of clients, it is not surprising that it has been a successful endeavour thus far. The architects of the practice are Ian Starr and Tamsin Holman, who have recently been acting together on behalf of Skechers in a range of significant trademark and design litigations in the United Kingdom, Germany and Spain. Holman was the subject of emphatic praise during the 2017 WTR 1000 research: “She is an exceptional IP lawyer of the highest calibre and delivers top-quality legal advice at a very reasonable price point. She is practical, knows her clients’ businesses well and is extremely responsive. Together with her team, she is a cut above the rest and is someone who never disappoints.” An attorney with trademark and design litigation qualifications, Jeremy Pennant also maintains a thriving enforcement practice. He is one of the biggest names in the profession, and is “a reasonable, business-focused practitioner with a top-quality international practice, vast experience and a great touch with clients”. As head of the trademark division, he also oversees a lot of the set’s prosecution activities. For example, alongside Matthew Dick, he is a touchpoint for PepsiCo, which he has recently been assisting on packaging design registrations. Dick safeguards many household names and is perspicacious when it comes to protection and enforcement strategy. High-flyers in the profession call him “an incredibly bright guy with the law at his fingertips”, “a problem solver who never gets bogged down in legal minutiae” and importantly, “a really nice, personable guy”. Recently joining Dick in the team of partners is Gemma Kirkland, whose rapid rise in private practice is testament to the quality of training D Young & Co provides. Perhaps as a result of her in-house experience, she has “a great sense of her clients’ risk tolerance” and a knack for “coming up with creative, practical solutions that achieve clients’ goals without a huge bill coming at the end”. She is based in Southampton together with Pennant and Helen Cawley, who also has extensive in-house experience to draw on. Cawley works wonders in administrative contentious proceedings and registers trademarks around the world with poise and precision. London’s Jackie Johnson also operates on the international stage; of late, she has been visiting US associates and brand owners, getting to know what makes them tick before formulating the most effective protections for them.
Dehns has nearly 100 fee earners across six domestic offices, a Munich branch and an excellent network of associates abroad; therefore, it is well positioned to provide meaningful, full-scope trademark advice on an international level now and when the United Kingdom leaves the European Union. A leader in its robust brands practice is London partner Elaine Deyes
, a “skilled and efficient attorney who is a pleasure to work with”. Also recommended is Brighton-based Clare Mann
, “a really pragmatic adviser with strong experience across the board and a great roster of clients”.
In hot demand for its cross-border UK, EU and US trademark expertise, “cutting-edge IP and technology outfit” EIP is in excellent shape right now; in particular, the firm has been handling an increasing volume of IP litigations and doing a fantastic job of it, too. Qualified as a barrister and solicitor, Robert Lundie Smith
has been coming into his own on the contentious side. Foreign associates call him “a star of the future” and recommend his “clear and concise advice and accurate risk assessments”. He makes his debut in the WTR 1000
listings this year. Garnering glowing reviews for her blended contentious and non-contentious expertise is Paula Flutter
. “Paula is just incredibly knowledgeable and she thinks of everything. She is always available, delivers information quickly – almost instantly – is incredibly reliable and thorough and frames her advice in language that is easy to understand. She shows creativity and pragmatism and thinks positively about how clients can achieve their goals, and resolves matters quickly and favourably, demonstrating attention to detail and logical thinking.” She oversees the practice and, is an experienced trademark attorney who, being fluent in German, has an ardent following among Teutonic companies; she is also an expert on registered designs.
Gill Jennings & Every LLP
Identifying and implementing the best business solution is what motivates the experts at Gill Jennings & Every, which stands out from the trademark attorney crowd thanks to its rigorous commercial approach to intellectual property. In recent years, it has been fielding an increasing volume of contentious instructions and, while it does not litigate in the courts, it can look at conflicts practically and keep companies out of trouble. In recent developments, it has been crafting bespoke consultancy products for high-growth businesses thirsty for innovative, forward-looking brand strategies. In terms of client care, the team sets industry standards; when dealing with the likes of Rowena Price
or Alasdair MacQuarrie
, clients do not get dry emails, they get phone calls or face-to-face advice tailored precisely to address the situation. Price is, without a shadow of doubt, among the most popular trademark experts in the land and commentators line up to sing her praises. “She’s first-class technically and academically and, in what can be a stuffy profession, she has a fantastic personality; if you put her in a room full of people, she will charm everyone in no time and have them sending her instructions – and she never fails to deliver on the work. Enthusiastic, highly commercial and competitively priced, she stands out for the depth of her analysis and strategic thinking and she really knows the US market well.” “Entrepreneurially minded” pro MacQuarrie is also “top-notch for trademarks, extremely responsive and practical and a true pleasure to deal with”.
HGF has been on a rollercoaster ride over the past two years: it has established its European presence, opening offices in The Hague in 2015, Basel in 2016 and Amsterdam in 2017; it has also expanded its offering in London and significantly ramped up its contentious activities. In recognition of its growth, the WTR 1000
2018 features six HGF UK-based experts, up from three in the previous iteration of the guide. The newcomers are Antony Gold
, Stephanie Loeffler-Reading
and Marie McMorrow
, each of whom receive glowing references. Manchester-based IP solicitor Gold – who has been spearheading the set’s litigation activities – is “calm and analytical, takes a constructive, non-combative tone in dealing with opponents and brings about swift resolutions that achieve client aims”. London’s Loeffler-Reading, a trademark protection and enforcement virtuoso, is “incredibly sharp and an inspiration to work with on contentious matters”. Managing European litigation deftly from her office in Birmingham, McMorrow “gives frank, to-the-point advice with options laid out clearly in language that is easy for businesspeople to get to grips with”. Maintaining their places in the listings this year are David Potter
, Jonathan Thurgood
and Geoffrey Smith
. As head of the trademark team, Leeds attorney Potter has been busy recruiting and bringing in fresh talent; Thurgood has continued to perform flawlessly on multi-jurisdictional disputes and Smith is a “practical, cost-effective, timely adviser” who blends deep design law expertise into his broad-scope trademark prosecution and strategy practice.
The J A Kemp trademark practice has grown exponentially in recent years; its “extremely bright and likeable professionals” have earned the market’s trust by being responsive to the last and by demonstrating a genuine concern for the health of its clients’ portfolios and businesses. “Quality runs throughout” and each of the J A Kemp trademark partners garner excellent reviews from those who know them best; James Fish
, who heads the practice, “provides the highest level of service”. One source notes: “We will never be his biggest client, but he treats us as such – he is super responsive and he delivers timely advice which is easily understood. He is also proactive in steering us away from problems and into territory where success is more likely.” “Ben Mooneapillay
is a go-to for anything trademark related – there is nothing he doesn’t know about the subject. Taking a legally rigorous and commercially aware approach, he can deal efficiently with anything you throw at him – he will not drop the ball, and he is really second to none.” “Tom Albertini
is one of the best professionals you could hope to come across. He puts forward the most cunning strategies to allow his clients to succeed while maintaining a high degree of efficiency and cost effectiveness. He is truly a pleasure to deal with.” “The advice rendered by Charlotte Stirling
is crystal clear and her work is top-notch” as is the case with all of her colleagues, she is “immediately responsive”.
Spontaneously offered market feedback is where Keltie excels: “It provides user-friendly, pragmatic and business-oriented advice and is highly commercial – it is not a stuffy, traditional trademark attorney set-up. The team is very measured in terms of the tasks it takes on, allowing it to maintain its total focus on the client, and to be truly invested in the work. Its approach is highly collaborative and, as a result, you get the same overall level of service whoever you deal with, which is very reassuring. It turns things around fast – even on huge projects – and has an extensive international network, so you can instruct it for just about any matter anywhere in the world.” All of the four-partner team retain their WTR 1000
laurels this year. First among equals is Alistair Gay
, an international portfolio handler par excellence
. “He is a commercial thinker who can wrap up complex jobs quickly and efficiently. There’s nobody who knows more about European trademark practice – and he even knows more about US trademark law than your average US attorney. He is upfront and frank with his advice, which is really appreciated.” Manuela Macchi
continues to impress all of those who cross her path. She gets to know her clients inside and out, often travelling far to meet with them. “She shares Alistair’s love of trademark law and is a keen strategist who you can rely on to do a top job.” When you need “meticulous attention to detail and a business-sensitive approach”, Rosemary Cardas
is the person to call; the trademark, copyright and design law ace is a repository of trust for marquee international brands. Ben Britter
has been building a great reputation for contentious work, thanks to his ability to facilitate early wins.
Because it gives clear, non-evasive advice, Kilburn & Strode has built a glowing reputation in the UK and international markets. “Pragmatic, commercial and team oriented”, it delivers a great service and one which has only been enhanced by the internal changes it has brought about within the past two years; new heads of IT, human resources and business development have been hired, steps towards becoming paperless have been made and occupancy of a new open-plan, single-floor office has been taken up. Overseeing an ever-burgeoning workload, Carrollanne Lindley
and Iain Stewart
are “people you can trust”. Lindley is “invaluably helpful, due to her thorough knowledge, concise explanations of the law and highly commercial and strategic thinking. She is very experienced acting for top brands on an international basis and is a delightful person, too”. Stewart is “an extremely effective lawyer who is always available. Charming and genuine as a person, he is practical, smart and cost effective and he takes his clients’ business concerns into account”. One US associate comments: “Iain is an integral part of my UK and EU strategy team and has become even more of a go-to person as Brexit has altered the landscape.” Also highly rated is Ryan Pixton
, a relationship partner for some of the set’s biggest clients, including easyGroup. He excels under intense time pressures and delivers with lightning speed on clearance and opinion instructions. Having dealt with him on multi-jurisdictional filings, retail loyalty programme creator TCC Global is one of many to have witnessed his talents first hand.
“When you talk about the most efficient trademark attorney ensembles, Lane IP comes immediately to mind. It has an ultra-commercial outlook and is always finding ways to add value; as an example, it has an in-house investigations wing that delivers results and information cost-effectively. It is agile and has grown very quickly and it maintains an impressive client base.” The architect of the side’s success is Steve Lane
, who wows clients and foreign associates with his commitment: “It’s like he doesn’t sleep; if you send him an email in the middle of his night, he will respond in minutes – it is really amazing. He is exceptionally practical and cost sensitive and teams closely with clients to get them the most bang for their buck.” Fellow director Natalie Salter
is also infinitely dedicated to her job; the former in-house ace is motivated by a singular desire to optimise the commercial value of her clients’ intellectual property.
Marks & Clerk
Marks & Clerk is a force to be reckoned with in the brands space; it maintains a large team of trademark partners and associates in the United Kingdom, is one of the most prolific filers at EU level, has a sprawling international office network spanning eight countries and, being closely integrated with Marks & Clerk Solicitors, provides panoramic solutions for any IP conundrum. In spite of its size, it can react quickly to instructions and turn work around in a flash – this is thanks to entrepreneurially spirited young partners such as Birmingham-based Esther Gottschalk and John Ferdinand. In October 2017 the firm unveiled its new head of trademarks – ex-Novagraaf man Tom Farrand
With its multiple European offices – in Basel, Freiburg and Munich – and plans for further continental expansion, Maucher Jenkins is well placed to soothe any Brexit-induced headache. In addition, with its deep bench of trademark experts, it can allay any trademark concern whatsoever, whether domestic or international, contentious or non-contentious. Dividing his time between the London and Farnham offices – and, uniquely within the organisation, between patent, trademark and design matters – partner Tim Pendered is a cogent choice for those with diverse IP portfolios. “Hugely experienced, Tim is a true gentleman and a pleasure to deal with. He also knows just about everyone and is extremely well connected.” Few London attorneys have had as international a career as Kana Enomoto, who has worked in France, Germany and Japan in private practice and in-house roles. She is a crucial port of call for brand owners with global horizons.
Mewburn Ellis LLP
Mewburn Ellis has been in the game for over 150 years, but is a dynamic ensemble which utilises state-of-the-art IT systems, developed by the dedicated in-house software team; as a result, “it is distinguished by its responsiveness and pragmatism”. “While the firm handles complex legal issues effectively, it excels at providing business-minded solutions; its analyses are as deep as they need to be, but the advice at the end is framed in terms that can be clearly understood by non-experts. The team also gets superb results.” Excellent feedback puts Roger Grimshaw
in the WTR 1000
for the first time this year and ensures the continued presence of Sofia Arenal
in the guide. Manchester-based Grimshaw has decades of experience creating and maintaining valuable international trademark portfolios. “He presents rock-solid, thorough advice, and isn’t fazed by multiple trademark challenges.” He understands the competitive industry landscapes his clients operate in and does a terrific job tailoring his advice accordingly. Working out of offices in Bristol and London, Arenal is an expert on the life sciences, retail and food and beverage sectors. “She provides an excellent service, takes action rapidly and keeps clients informed along the way. She is extremely diligent in monitoring trademarks, gives robust advice on examination rejections and oppositions and is proactive at ensuring that third parties and their attorneys are given appropriate and timely pressure for the benefit of her clients.”
Reddie & Grose LLP
In 2017 Reddie & Grose moved from four Georgian townhouses to the White Chapel building right in the heart of Aldgate; the market is changing, with far greater emphasis placed on efficiency, and the side is changing with it – without sacrificing on the quality it is famous for. In-house counsel like to have the team close to hand, because of the value of its strategic input: “It steers you forwards without being a heavy drain on your budget.” Garnering particular praise is Helen Wakerley
, a lodestar for many UK brands and automotive companies. “Her advice is timely, succinct and business focused. She is great at thinking outside the box and she keeps things efficient and cost effective.”
With its combination of solicitors and trademark attorneys, accessible Oxford outfit Sipara can proficiently and economically protect, enforce and monetise trademark rights. The group’s understanding of intellectual property as a business asset runs through all of its activities and no matter what, the Sipara practitioners focus on the creation of IP value. Viewed by clients on the revenue rather than cost side of the equation, Robert Furneaux
manages trademark and design portfolios in commercially advantageous ways. He founded the firm with Rebecca Kaye
, a retail buff who knows how to get – and then keep – products on the shop shelf. A source of “quick, practical and insightful advice”, Nick Baker
is a three-decade veteran in the brands space with an all-encompassing non-contentious and contentious practice.
Stobbs IP has a much wider brands offering than its rivals. The outfit manages portfolios with finesse and handles litigation efficiently with its growing solicitor team; however, it also does much more – for example, it has recently developed a highly effective arsenal of online enforcement tools. “It is extremely proficient and goes well beyond the more traditional role by providing broader, commercially focused brand support. It operates at the cutting edge of trademark law, both in the United Kingdom and abroad, and has a unique perspective on the business needs of its clients.” The firm was founded by “talismanic figure”, “brilliant strategist” and “first-class advocate” Julius Stobbs
. One of his long-term clients says: “I could go on and on about his charm, wit and lovely personality, but to sum him up as a professional, I can say there is nobody smarter or of more value than him when trademark matters are at issue.” He cares passionately about his team, and one of his greatest achievements has been to “hire and train only the highest-quality attorneys and staff members”. Indicative of the quality of the Stobbs IP team, there are no less than four new names from the firm in the WTR 1000
for 2018; these include senior trademark attorneys Louise Goodsell
, Claire (Jenkins) Breheny
and Harpreet Dhaliwal
, each of whom garner exceptional reviews: “In terms of communication, Louise Goodsell is fantastic – she can talk about legal matters without getting bogged down in legalese, which is refreshing. She gives clear explanations of the key issues at hand, which helps you make informed decisions in a timely manner and she always takes your business needs into account.” “Claire Breheny is creative and sharp when it comes to global strategy and knows what makes for a great customer service. She understands her clients’ brands and business objectives and provides support that aligns appropriately. Responsive, organised and proactive, she works extremely hard and goes the extra mile.” “An up-and-coming star, Dhaliwal is available in and out of office hours and provides accurate interpretations of the law but also a commercial perspective.” Also debuting in the guide is Chris Sleep
, who heads the solicitor team and has been charged with the task of growing the group’s litigation offering. Making her third straight appearance in the WTR 1000
this year, Emma Pettipher
continues to shine as “an expert on EUIPO matters”. “She is excellent – she takes a calm, ordered approach and is a really confident adviser.” The fact that other individuals than those ranked also attract favourable references speaks volumes for the depth of talent at this exciting organisation.
Swindell & Pearson
Swindell & Pearson has a relatively compact trademark team comprising seven-fee earners but, packed with experience, it knows what client care is all about and what it takes to create and drive IP value. Whilst the squad is active in the High Court and in IPEC, it also offers wide-ranging support and, as testament to its strategic nous, is often called in to guide clients on the origination of marks before prosecution steps are taken. A deft handler of complex trademark portfolios, Nicholas Womsley is a top-class leader of the team. Particular kudos also goes to Kieron Taylor, a “punctual, accurate, knowledgeable, reasonable and upfront trademark attorney who thinks outside the box”. “He works tirelessly for his clients and is utterly dedicated.”
Venner Shipley LLP
Venner Shipley understands how to get trademarks on the register, but having recently evolved into a full-service IP outfit, the firm now has a complete understanding of how to then enforce and commercialise those rights as well. More specifically, the introduction of a legal team – centred around Paul Harris
and James Tumbridge
– in 2016 has taken it into the thick of UK trademark litigation and IP transactions. Harris, who has the distinction of having successfully litigated the first case under the Trademarks Act 1994, has a wealth of contentious experience, which he leverages effectively in his supplementary licensing practice. Tumbridge is a barrister who has litigated important cases before the Supreme Court; he is also a qualified mediator and an authority on alternative dispute resolution. The duo settled in quickly alongside trademark attorney David Birchall
, who previously practised as a solicitor; his background has helped with the smooth integration of the contentious and non-contentious practices.
Withers & Rogers LLP
Withers & Rogers has more than 130 years of history, but has always kept up with the pace at which its clients innovate. Trademark prosecution is the bedrock of the firm’s brands practice, but in providing industry-relevant strategic and commercial advice, the team does so much more than just file. With Brexit concerns looming large, the firm’s presence in Munich brings comfort. CITMA vice president Tania Clark
is the side’s top trademark performer. There is little she does not know about international brand protection and she coordinates global prosecution programmes with aplomb; a qualified barrister, she also has a talent for putting disputes to bed.