United Kingdom: Scotland

Firms: solicitors

  • Brodies LLP
  • Burness Paull LLP
  • Dentons LLP
  • Shepherd and Wedderburn LLP
  • MacRoberts LLP
  • Pinsent Masons LLP

Firms: trademark attorneys

  • Marks & Clerk
  • Murgitroyd & Company
  • Ancient Hume Ltd
  • Creation IP Ltd
  • HGF Ltd 
  • Lawrie IP
  • Lincoln IP Ltd

Ancient Hume Ltd

Edinburgh crew Ancient Hume may be compact, but it works around the world to keep the trademark rights of its illustrious clients in fine fettle. Running the show is Alasdair Hume, a clever brand strategist with an excellent network of contacts.

Brodies LLP

“You’ll never hear a bad word said about Brodies and rightly so – it’s a longstanding leader in the Scottish IP market and a safe pair of hands for routine and complex matters.” Grant Campbell, Gill Grassie and Robert Buchan form a “vastly experienced IP team”. Campbell, who heads up the IP practice, delivers commercially on-point strategic brand advice to clients such as Powerleague and the Rewards 4 Group; he is also a master when it comes to IP contracts. Grassie is “a true leader in IP litigation and dispute resolution”; the same can be said for Buchan, with whom she regularly links up for added firepower. Scotland’s largest law firm continues to grow and invest in its IP practice; it has added two new solicitors to its IP disputes line up recently and recruited another lawyer out of Bristows who brings abundant IP-plus-regulatory expertise to the practice.

Burness Paull LLP

The IP contingent at Burness Paull is feeling pretty good about itself having emerged victorious in one of the most important trademark litigations in Scotland in recent years; Colin Hulme and co successfully invalidated the VAPORIZED trademark registered by CCHG for client Vapouriz Limited in the first appeal to the Court of Session from a decision of the Intellectual Property Office’s hearing officer. Hulme is “a brilliant litigator and an all-round IP guru” who gives “high-quality, practical and commercial advice”. He is well supported by Neeraj Thomas, a senior associate who is cultivating an excellent reputation within the sports industry. He exhibits fantastic attention to detail and tenacity. Hulme and Thomas form the busiest IP litigation team in the country. Burness Paull has high-end commercial IP work on lock too, with David Goodbrand on deck. He is great at standing in his clients’ shoes and understanding what they need to achieve from a business perspective, and he is hugely experienced at realising key objectives.

Creation IP Ltd

“Creation IP is one to watch – it is doing really well and taking market share.” The patent and trademark attorney outfit partners closely with clients from the early stages of brand ideation and as a result, it has a more meaningful and deeper understanding of the intangible assets it then goes on to protect and manage. Bryn Williams is the ensemble’s “charismatic leader”, but the key points of contact regarding trademark matters are Catriona Good and Douglas Thomson. Good has in-house experience matched by a commercial outlook, while Thomson has an edge in prosecution as a former examiner at the UK Intellectual Property Office.

Dentons LLP

Dentons combined with Scottish outfit Maclay Murray & Spens in November 2017; the integration process was well orchestrated and the Dentons team north and south of the border is now seamlessly integrated. In 2018 Alison Bryce and Ross Nicol have had plenty of opportunities to capitalise on the global reach they now have at their disposal; for example, Bryce is helping Quiz plc in connection with licensing and franchising its brand internationally. Bryce heads the Scottish IP practice and specialises in non-contentious and strategic IP matters; she lives and breathes trademark law and knows relevant legislation and case law inside out. Nicol is another IP devotee; his instant powers of recall when it comes to black-letter law free up his time to engage in pragmatic and commercial thinking. Transactional work is the mainstay of his practice; lately he has been advising The Restaurant Group in connection with rail station concession franchise agreements and acted for Stagecoach Group in connection with its partnership with South Gloucestershire Bus and Coach Company.

HGF Ltd 

Top European trademark set HGF recently reinforced its team in Glasgow, with Rachel Denholm relocating there from the London office. She has nearly 20 years of experience caring for global brands and, to give just a sample, currently represents AT&T in connection with its global trademark filing programme; handles oppositions for G-Star Raw; undertakes UK and EU clearance, prosecution and opposition tasks for Ford; and conducts worldwide searches for Boots UK. Her presence really amps up the practice in Scotland, which is cultivated by Neil McKechnie, who continues to impress: “Neil is incredibly diligent and has the ability to explain in lay terms the workings and nuances of the world of trademarks. He’s unstuffy, approachable and an outstanding communicator – and he really understands his clients’ business.” He acts for M & Co, one of the largest privately owned fashion retailers in the United Kingdom, managing a large portfolio, giving strategic advice and handling contentious administrative actions in China.

Lawrie IP

Portfolio management is the metier of Lawrie IP. The ISO 9001-certified firm has excellent professional records, docketing and workflow systems to ensure a secure, seamless, efficient and cost-effective service. With the back office functioning like a well-oiled machine, practitioners such as Shirley Collins and Sharon Mackison can focus on building close relationships with their clients. This is something they do extremely well, as many positive references attest: “Having an effective commercial IP strategy in place which protects your brand and your budget is essential – Shirley really delivers on this. She is highly efficient, always mindful of costs and very responsive.” “Sharon stands out as being particularly user-friendly, no-nonsense and commercial. She has an in-depth knowledge of trademark law but really impresses in terms of her practical application of it. She gives a personal and professional service from start to finish.”

Lincoln IP Ltd

“Lincoln IP is a small firm, but it does excellent work and is super commercial.” The patent and trademark attorney outfit offers a comprehensive suite of brand protection services and has a top practitioner in Karen Veitch, who is one of just three individuals in the WTR 1000 highly recommended tier for prosecution in Scotland. “Karen is responsive and gives clear advice. She is also reasonably priced.”

MacRoberts LLP

Excellent commercial firm MacRoberts makes its debut in the WTR 1000 this year; the side’s practitioners are au fait with brand issues and handle them in an effective inter-disciplinary way, leveraging broad expertise in IP, IT, competition and regulatory law. The names to note are Julie Hamilton and Euan Duncan. Hamilton heads the commercial dispute resolution team and is an experienced IP litigator. Meanwhile, Duncan is a commercial contracts expert with a well-rounded knowledge of the food and drink industry.

Marks & Clerk

Marks & Clerk needs no introduction as the largest UK patent and trademark attorney firm; it has an army of trademark attorneys and is a top filer in the United Kingdom and the European Union; it also has a far-reaching international network, which gives it an edge when it comes to cross-border brand protection. One of its top experts, Campbell Newell, is based in Scotland. “He is right on top of everything – a really senior practitioner with outstanding knowledge, experience and wisdom.” He has broad sector knowledge but is particularly proficient in alcoholic beverage issues; he supports the Glenallachie Distillers Co, Pickering’s Gin Summerhall Distillery and the Tomatin Distillery. His colleague Aidan Clarke is an authority on EU trademark law.

Murgitroyd & Company

“Murgitroyd has the size and resources to take on truly global portfolios and, in Scotland, if you have an opposition, it is more than likely to be the firm you have on the other side.” Jacqueline McKay garners exceptionally warm praise from the market: “She is very thorough and pragmatic, and one of the most technically skilled prosecutors out there.” Fellow trademarks director Christian Finn is another safe pair of hands on rights management and development. Among Scottish practitioners he stands out for his domain name expertise.

Pinsent Masons LLP

Full-service international player Pinsent Masons supports brand owners globally on all aspects of the protection, enforcement and commercialisation of trademarks. Putting it on the map in Scotland is “talented litigator” James Cormack, who became a QC in 2018. In England or Scotland, you would be very hard pressed to find a more experienced advocate in a solicitors’ firm.

Shepherd and Wedderburn LLP

Shepherd and Wedderburn is committed to excellence in intellectual property and deploys dedicated media and technology and IP litigation teams to protect intangible assets to the max. The practitioners here overlay their advice on trademarks with incisive strategic insight borne of an excellent understanding of the elements that drive the sports, food and drink, energy, entertainment, financial services and life sciences sectors. Joanna Boag-Thomson has specialised in intellectual property for over two decades; brand activation and licensing are her fortes. Paul Carlyle is another repository of trust for rights holders and heads the media and technology division. He has had a busy year managing the National Trust for Scotland’s trademark portfolio and acting for prestigious golf club the R&A in connection with the re-brand of the Open, golf’s oldest major competition.

Other recommended experts

Addleshaw Goddard partner Helena Brown has very broad horizons, which is great for companies with diverse IP interests. She is an expert on commercial, IP, IT and data protection law and has a well-rounded knowledge of a number of sectors, including financial services, life sciences and food and drink. Cloch Solicitors managing partner Phillip Hannay is rigorously commercial when it comes to intellectual property; this comes from his company boardroom experience and broad corporate law practice. Jude Tonner is known for her strategic acumen and for the personal and cost-effective trademark protection and portfolio development service she provides out of jtTM.

Individuals: enforcement and litigation

  • Robert Buchan - Brodies LLP
  • James Cormack - Pinsent Masons LLP
  • Gill Grassie - Brodies LLP
  • Colin Hulme - Burness Paull LLP
  • Julie Hamilton - MacRoberts LLP
  • Phillip Hannay - Cloch Solicitors
  • Susan Snedden - Maclay Murray & Spens LLP
  • Neeraj Thomas - Burness Paull LLP

Individuals: prosecution and strategy

  • Alasdair Hume - Ancient Hume Ltd
  • Campbell Newell - Marks & Clerk
  • Karen Veitch - Lincoln IP Ltd
  • Aidan Clarke - Marks & Clerk
  • Shirley Collins - Lawrie IP
  • Rachel Denholm - HGF Ltd
  • Christian Finn - Murgitroyd & Company
  • Catriona Good - Creation IP Ltd
  • Sharon Mackison - Lawrie IP
  • Jacqueline McKay - Murgitroyd & Company
  • Neil McKechnie - HGF Ltd
  • Douglas Thomson - Creation IP Ltd
  • Jude Tonner - jtTM Consultancy Limited

Individuals: transactions

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

United Kingdom: Scotland: The Bar

Other recommended experts

Senior counsel

Heriot Currie QC took silk in 1992, which makes him by far the most experienced barrister in the Scottish section of the WTR 1000. At Axiom he practices in myriad areas of law but is particularly recommended for his commercial and IP litigation expertise. His colleague Roisin Higgins QC specialises in intellectual property and has proven her exemplary advocacy skills in numerous patent, trademark, design and copyright cases. Jonathan Lake QC is also at Axiom. He is a dexterous barrister who can handle any piece of complex commercial litigation with confidence and poise. Craig Sandison QC operates out of Ampersand Advocates. Known for his polished presentation skills and astute behind the scenes strategising, he is a repository of trust for solicitors’ firms litigating in the areas of insolvency, professional negligence and intellectual property.

Junior counsel

Paul O’Brien has a diverse practice encompassing commercial, IP and professional negligence cases. The former solicitor is also a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators. He can be found at Axiom, which is also the base for Kathryn Pickard. She has extensive experience practising in England as well as Scotland and profound knowledge when it comes to IP law. Leveraging her background in science, she excels in patent cases and technically challenging trademark matters are another forte. Usman Tariq of Ampersand is also steeped in intellectual property. He is a shrewd and agile performer in the courtroom and is well-equipped to tackle cases raising novel issues.

Junior counsel

  • Paul O'Brien - Axiom Advocates
  • Kathryn Pickard - Axiom Advocates
  • Usman Tariq - Ampersand Advocates

Senior counsel

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