HGF Ltd

WTR Research

The WTR 1000 focuses exclusively on trademark practice and has firmly established itself as the definitive 'go-to' resource for those seeking world-class legal trademark expertise.

Gold - Firms: prosecution and strategy

As the leading UK filer of UK and EU trademark applications for 2020, HGF is a force to be reckoned with. Having significantly expanded its European offering in recent years, the firm now operates out of 21 offices across the continent, which work in synchronicity to provide a holistic branding service to clients. Heading up the trademarks team is David Potter, who has earned a reputation for protecting household names in the entertainment and retail sectors over 25 years of practice. He has lately been assisting the Hut Group, owner of the My Protein brand, with a multi-jurisdictional trademark dispute. Leading on this piece – and heading up HGF Law – is Martyn Fish, who has also been defending Sky Insurance in a high-profile spat with Sky UK Limited. He is a regular at the High Court, working across all IP rights as well as confidential information issues, but also turn his hand to transactional matters. His fellow litigator is Marie McMorrow, a solicitor who not only leads proceedings on home soil but also coordinates them across Europe and worldwide. The versatile practitioner has been busy managing AGA Rangemaster Group Limited’s trademark portfolio and spearheading a crucial anti-counterfeiting campaign for vape fluid manufacturer Zeus Juice. On the prosecution side, the firm fields an all-star team including the likes of Richard Wylie, Stephanie Loeffler-Reading and Geoffrey Smith. A percipient strategist who is of equal value to both blue-chip multinationals and fledgling enterprises, Wylie is known for his cutting-edge solutions and has played a key role in developing HGF’s client portfolio information portal, OCIS. Loeffler-Reading and Smith have each stacked up 30 years at the IP coalface. Loeffler-Reading’s primary domain is the pharmaceutical sector and she brings insider experience from working on the IP team of a world-leading brand consultancy and in-house at a multinational alcoholic beverage company; while Smith is distinguished by his sparkling track record in oppositions. Keeping pace with them are Rebecca Field, Lee Curtis, Jonathan Thurgood and Rigel McGrath, who makes her maiden appearance in the WTR 1000 this year after joining the practice in 2020, bringing star clients such as Jonesco and Suttons Transport Group along with her. Field is a commercially attuned portfolio manager with a penchant for working with brand owners in the financial and insurance sector. Curtis and Thurgood each earn sterling reviews from clients: “Lee is one of the most knowledgeable trademark specialists in Europe, both on issues relating to the UK as well as EU IP rights and trademarks in particular. He has a wealth of knowledge on practical aspects of IP practice and an in-depth understanding of clients’ business needs.” “Jonathan is a go-to guy because of his extensive knowledge and experience and his timeliness in responding to any inquiry. His prompt and keen advice is invaluable.” Continuing to act as a consultant to the firm is Manchester-based Antony Gold, an esteemed IP litigator and an authority on internet-related issues.

Recommended - Firms

On an upwards growth trajectory, UK-headquartered HGF continues to expand its European presence and has brought its office count up to 21, with outposts across Austria, Germany, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and Ireland. Locally, the Dutch branch celebrates its fifth anniversary in 2022 and in that time has established itself as a fine destination for prosecution work. Most recently, the side launched an online tool, HGF Complete, that helps clients to manage the cloning process involved with the transition of EU trademarks into comparable UK marks, and follows up with well-thought-out strategies that optimises both UK and EU rights. Tactical thinker Alexander Hagen is a repository of trust for brand owners in myriad industries, including sports, fashion and technology – all of which appreciate his commercially minded solutions and dedication to helping them realise their ambitions. Highly recommended for his “approachable and hands-on manner”, Pieter de Ruijter “has an excellent grasp of the law and is always willing to brainstorm. He gives a great deal of comfort to those burdened with branding concerns”. Rounding off the troop, the dual-qualified Kasper Radstake brings over two decades of experience to the table and handles every phase of the trademark lifecycle with a deft touch.

Silver - Firms: trademark attorneys

The leading trademark filer in the United Kingdom overall – and one of the largest trademark prosecution practices Europe-wide – HGF has an impressive offering stationed in Scotland. From offices in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen, it diligently protects the assets of businesses on every scale, which appreciate its deep knowledge, efficiency and broad geographical reach. Based in Glasgow, Neil McKechnie is highly sought after for his well-informed strategic insight across a wide range of industries. “Neil is both personable and a great communicator, able to explain issues in a very digestible way. He is also pragmatic, fully detailing the consequences of courses of action together with a transparent view of the associated costs”. In Edinburgh, dual-qualified trademark attorney and Scottish IP solicitor Caroline Pigott dispenses similarly astute guidance, especially to SMEs. She enters the WTR 1000 this year on a wave of warm feedback: “Caroline’s strengths are far more than just her expertise. She first tries to understand your business, its model and ambitions, and where trademarks and IP fit in. She has a natural ability to make you feel that you are her only client and she would drop anything else to make things happen for you. She challenges, can say no and gives you options, including new ideas, without ever making you feel you have lost control. Caroline is worth her weight in gold”.

Firm Profile

HGF is one of Europe’s leading IP firms, bringing together over 180 patent attorneys, trademark attorneys, design attorneys, IP solicitors and attorneys at law across 22 offices in seven European countries to provide a dynamic and complete IP solution.

The firm has an ambitious growth strategy and is already one of the leading firms in the United Kingdom and throughout Europe in terms of its national reach, volume of Patent Cooperation Treaty and EU trademark filings and position in major legal directories. The firm’s growth has been secured organically and through a combination of acquisition and strategic lateral hires from both private practice and in-house counsel.

HGF has a proven track record in forging successful long-term relationships with clients across a spectrum of business sectors and technologies. The firm’s focus is on delivering client-specific IP advice from teams of professional attorneys chosen to meet clients’ needs. The firm’s highly experienced attorneys, commitment to client service and geographical profile ensure that it is uniquely placed to attend to high-value and complex IP issues.

Specialist teams

The firm has dedicated teams of experts working across key industry sectors with relevant experience who fully understand their clients’ businesses and appreciate the significance of their brands, innovations and other IP assets.

These teams comprise trademark attorneys, patent attorneys and IP solicitors across 22 offices in the United Kingdom and Europe, in Aberdeen, Amsterdam, Basel, Bern, Birmingham, Dublin, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Heidelberg, Leeds, London, Manchester, Munich, Newcastle, Nottingham, Oxford, Rennes, Salzburg, Sheffield, The Hague, Westport and York.

Key industry sectors include retail and fashion, food and drink, pharmaceuticals, automotive, computing and software, energy, medical devices and healthcare.

For each sector, the firm’s specialist trademarks team offers the following services:

  • Clearance projects – HGF’s attorneys have sector-specific experience in large-scale international search projects through to single-mark domestic searches, offering clear, commercial advice on availability of marks in each case.
  • Filing and prosecution – providing accurate advice on registrability, strategic filing advice and efficiently seeing applications through to registration in order to build strong portfolios that reflect clients’ business needs.
  • Portfolio advice and audits – the team has a proven track record in developing strategic and well-balanced strategies for the protection and enforcement of all IP assets (including trademarks and designs) and regularly conducts audits to ensure portfolios remain aligned to the interests of clients’ businesses.
  • Portfolio management – as one of the largest trademark filers in Europe and with a bespoke management and budgeting tool, the team has vast experience managing global trademark portfolios.
  • Watching services – providing all manner of register, domain and anti-counterfeit watches.
  • Oppositions and disputes – whatever the nature or scale of the dispute, HGF’s team of trademark attorneys and solicitors have the expertise to work with clients to achieve the best possible outcome.
  • Transactional trademark issues – with decades of experience, the team is ready and prepared to support clients with due diligence, licensing and all other transaction-related work.
  • Training – HGF offers bespoke training tailored to clients’ specific needs.

The wider firm offers everything you would expect of a world-class IP firm, including patent and trademark, design rights and copyright advice, as well as IP litigation, non-contentious IP law, licensing and contracts, oppositions and appeals, due diligence, freedom-to-operate and IP strategy advice to protect innovations.

Languages

The firm’s spoken languages include English, Chinese, German, French, Dutch, Japanese, Spanish, Italian, Latin, Greek, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Twi, Kyrepong, Ga, Portuguese, Mandarin, Russian, Cantonese, Polish, Gaelic, Arabic, Hindi and Bengali.

International

HGF is one of a few firms to have mapped out reciprocity across the globe and have a clear strategy for growing international work, targeting the United States, India, Korea and China with focused activities. HGF has connections with the Asian Patent Attorneys Association, the International Federation of Intellectual Property Attorneys, the International Association for the Protection of Intellectual Property, the American Intellectual Property Law Association, the Biotechnology Innovation Organisation (BIO), BIO Korea, BIO Japan, BIO-Europe, the International Trademark Association, the North East of England Process Industry Cluster, International Drug Discovery Science Technology and the American Bar Association.

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