United Kingdom: Scotland

Firms: solicitors

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

Firms: trademark attorneys

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

Ancient Hume Ltd

The “absolute experts” at Edinburgh-based boutique Ancient Hume are “a pleasure to work with” according to one top peer. Founder, owner and soft IP specialist Alasdair Hume has become an “elder statesman” of the Scottish trademark scene.

Brodies LLP

Brodies LLP is “the leading Scottish IP practice”. “Polite and friendly, the firm is first-class. The team is efficient, punctual and willing to chase clients when required to keep the momentum going on an instruction.” Brodies has 16 full-time, dedicated practitioners devoted to its joined-up, bean-to-cup trademark offering – the largest of its type in Scotland. Leading IP litigator Robert Buchan heads the contentious team. “Experienced and a pleasure to work with, he is very personable and always mindful of the business objectives which are driving each litigation. He is recommendable above any other solicitor in Scotland.” Another patron is equally effusive. “An exceptionally hard worker, he grasps and processes difficult contractual matters at an impressive speed. Extremely friendly and good fun, you can rely on him to do a top-quality job.” Associate Andrew McWhirter is cut from the same cloth as Buchan. “He has an excellent technical knowledge of trademark law, which he is able to explain well to non-lawyers. Deadline-oriented and quick to grasp issues, he is also very personable.” On the non-contentious brand management side of the practice, Grant Campbell’s cutting-edge regulatory knowledge gives the practice another dimension.

Burness Paull LLP

Burness Paull is home to the busiest contentious IP practice in Scotland, responsible for a staggering 70% of registered IP actions in the nation’s courts – and an elite non-contentious offering to boot. Combining outstanding strength across the patent, trademark and copyright spheres, “the leading Scottish firm for contentious IP work” enters the fray on behalf of trademark patrons including the Harris Tweed Authority and e-cigarette company Vapouriz Ltd. Colin Hulme is the group’s driving force in the courtroom. A noted source of “practical, clear and commercial advice”, he “always dispatches matters without a fuss – mindful of deadlines, he sees the bigger picture and thinks about the client’s ultimate interests”. On the transactional side, David Goodbrand is known as a deeply commercial adviser with a laser-sharp focus on harnessing technology to release the true value of trademarks.

Creation IP Ltd

The trademark attorneys at Creation IP walk rights holders along every step of the path towards 360-degree protection. Clients receive perceptive advice on early-stage innovation, ongoing growth strategy and established portfolio management; in short, counsel that covers the entire lifecycle of a trademark. Leading lights Douglas Thomson and Catriona Good are devoted to ensuring that patrons’ IP strategies match their brand aspirations. Thomson has been honing his filing skills in private practice since 1989, while Good has developed her commercial acumen by working in-house at a leading global vehicle manufacturer.

Dentons

The world’s largest law firm (by number of practitioners), Dentons maintains a lively Scottish IP practice, which it bolstered in 2017 through a merger with renowned outfit Maclay Murray & Spens. Dentons’ capability north of the border sits within its UK-wide IP and technology commercial team; so it is ideally placed to capitalise on expertise located throughout the United Kingdom. Ross Nicol and Alison Bryce are the twin engines of the firm’s Glasgow office, which focuses predominantly on transactional trademark matters. Nicol is an inspired choice for matters relating to technology creation exploitation. His stable of clients includes the Restaurant Group (who trust him with franchising matters) and the National Theatre of Scotland (which relied on him to clear the way for its 2018 production of My Left Right Foot). Bryce, meanwhile, was recently engaged by Edrington Distillers to assist with the sale of whisky brand Cutty Sark to a French spirits company. “She is good-natured, patient, knowledgeable and professional – able to form great working relationships, she maintains her sense of humour even at times of extreme stress.”

HGF Ltd 

Having already established a significant presence in the United Kingdom, HGF Ltd is now making strategic inroads into Europe. In the last 12 months alone, the patent and trademark firm has opened offices in Heidelberg, Munich and Salzburg – and there is more on the horizon. Clients have noticed this expansion, with Spanish multinational Telefonica SA, Thomson Reuters Global Resources, Ford Motors and Boots all entrusting the team with their filing and prosecution work. Consultant Neil McKechnie is “both personable and a great communicator”. “He is able to explain issues in a straightforward way, and provides level-headed, pragmatic advice at a transparent fee.” Global brand maven Rachel Denholm is a clear-sighted portfolio manager whose corporate transactional experience marks her out as a versatile practitioner. Morning Foods, Europe’s premier supplier of oat-based products, is a recent beneficiary of her services.

Lawrie IP

Lawrie IP is always looking to improve its already impressive trademark offering: whether streamlining its back-office processes, broadening its range of information security management accreditations or expanding its team, the firm never sits still. This allows its two outstanding practitioners to spend the maximum amount of time grappling with complex office actions and strategic puzzles. Sharon Mackison has “a wealth of knowledge of trademark protection across a wide range of territories”. “Responsive, diligent and proactive, she is a trusted adviser who does not merely take instructions without asking the right questions.” “Her approach to projects is logical and precise, she is swift to respond to queries, and explains everything in detail. She takes pride in delivering the very highest standards of work.” Fellow trademark attorney Shirley Collins “shows both professionalism and an appreciation for meticulous detail” in her portfolio management work. She is always acutely aware of patrons’ business circumstances and individual needs.

Lincoln IP Limited

“A top-quality Scottish IP attorney firm with a strong Aberdeen office, Lincoln IP is friendly and very good at assisting with international trademark portfolios, clearance work and disputes.” Chartered trademark attorney and head of practice Karen Veitch is the side’s star name. “An excellent attorney, she’s very good at building relationships and communicating complex concepts to laypeople.”

MacRoberts LLP

Building on its debut ranking in last year’s WTR 1000, MacRoberts is a firm that sees all aspects of its practice as being connected. With substantial experience of commercialising and defending trademarks of all kinds, the group’s practitioners are closely attuned to business realities and able to place each portfolio in its wider commercial context. The contentious arm of the practice is led by solicitor-advocate Julie Hamilton. She has recently handled infringement actions in the courtroom on behalf of Scotland’s fastest-growing private business, CCHG Ltd. Euan Duncan and David Gourlay anchor the firm’s transactional practice. Engaged by patrons including the Scottish Salmon Company for licensing agreements, Duncan is “pleasant to deal with, genuinely interested in his clients’ businesses and excellent at working through the differences between English and Scots law”. The “knowledgeable, responsive, commercial and helpful” Gourlay leverages his knowledge of data protection, freedom of information compliance and outsourcing law to give his patrons that little bit extra.

Marks & Clerk

Leading patent and trademark attorney outfit Marks & Clerk houses deep reserves of IP knowledge in its eight UK offices, three European bureaux and six extra-European hubs. The firm “provides a consistent level of support and professionalism, alongside its speed in answering queries”. The practice’s point man in Scotland is filer and strategist par excellence Campbell Newell. He has developed particular expertise in whisky-related matters, but also has in-house experience in the motor industry to his name.

Murgitroyd

For many top international patrons, Murgitroyd is the gateway to Scotland. The global portfolio manager has been busy developing its US offering of late, a strategic move which is sure to accrue benefits for its Scottish practice too. Christian Finn and Jacqueline McKay propel the Glasgow-based team forwards. Director of trademarks Finn is “a very experienced and competent attorney, astute and able to pinpoint crucial aspects of a case that others fail to spot”. Fellow director McKay, meanwhile, “is a technically accomplished practitioner who builds strong relationships with long-standing clients”.

Shepherd and Wedderburn LLP

With a reputation for advising media, financial services, sports and entertainment clients in particular with aplomb, Shepherd and Wedderburn is equipped to tackle trademark briefs across a wide variety of fields. The firm is adroit in contentious, strategic and transactional matters, with top patrons including the Scottish Professional Football League, the Royal & Ancient, Pernod Ricard Group and the National Trust for Scotland. Shepherd and Wedderburn also takes on trademark attorneys at their own game, running an enviably streamlined prosecution practice to sit alongside the courtroom team spearheaded by John MacKenzie. One of few solicitor-advocates to have appeared before the General Court of the Court of Justice of the European Union, he sits on the Lord President’s Consultative Committee on Commercial Actions. Paul Carlyle and Joanna Boag-Thomson drive the practice’s non-contentious wing forward. Carlyle is a branding and advertising sage with a deeply commercial outlook – while Boag-Thomson, who has been an IP specialist since 1998, relishes the most challenging of IP-rich deals.

Other recommended experts

Helena Brown at Addleshaw Goddard is one of Scotland’s foremost experts in the EU General Data Protection Regulation. Her trademark transactional practice is rich and varied, ranging from licensing to research agreements and collaboration deals. Pinsent Masons’ James Cormack is a refined advocate with “a wealth of experience in commercial litigations. Pleasant and professional to deal with, his voice carries a lot of weight in Scotland.” Philip Hannay at Cloch Solicitors has over 55 years of combined boardroom experience; little wonder then that his trademark counsel is always perfectly packaged for the decision makers that it serves. St Andrews and Edinburgh-based Alistair Lang of Thorntons Law is described by one interviewee as “highly knowledgeable and good with clients”. He is especially adept at working with early-stage companies who need plenty of initial guidance. New CMS recruit Neeraj Thomas is at his best when working with sports clients of all types; his ability to manage a trademark litigation from start to finish is impressive. Jude Tonner at jtTM provides clear, commercially minded and bespoke advice that always hits the spot. As a UK and European trademark attorney, she is able to take a comparative approach to drafting and see the bigger picture.

Individuals: enforcement and litigation

  • Robert Buchan - Brodies LLP
  • James Cormack - Pinsent Masons LLP
  • Colin Hulme - Burness Paull LLP
  • Julie Hamilton - MacRoberts LLP
  • Philip Hannay - Cloch Solicitors
  • John MacKenzie - Shepherd and Wedderburn LLP
  • Andrew McWhirter - Brodies LLP
  • Neeraj Thomas - CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang LLP

Individuals: prosecution and strategy

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

Individuals: transactions

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