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
Silver - Individuals: enforcement and litigation
Gowling WLG has a mighty 200 dedicated professionals stationed in 19 offices in nine countries worldwide, and the UK contingent is a vital cog in this slick machine. By merging international reach with local knowledge and maintaining relationships with a range of trademark attorney agencies, the firm makes itself a compelling one-stop shop for clients of all stripes. Heading up the IP practice is Kate Swaine, whose recent credits include crafting the brand strategies of Major League Baseball and Weetabix. “Kate is fabulous!” enthuses one market source. “She has a very international outlook and is very hands-on, with a lot of knowledge under the bonnet, and is always ahead of new developments. She has an in-depth understanding of her clients’ businesses and provides valuable commercial advice as a result.” Co-heading the global brands and designs group is the “astute, commercial and knowledgeable” John Coldham, who has been representing Oatly in infringement proceedings against Glebe Farm Foods. “John is available any time you need him. He is good with people – including both clients and counsel – takes a sensible objective view of cases and provides practical advice.” His fellow litigator is the forward-thinking Alexandra Brodie, who co-chairs the firm’s global tech division, plays a hand in both patent and trademark matters, and balances close attention to detail with big-picture thinking. Also on deck are Huw Evans and Gordon Harris. Head of patent litigation Evans dedicates a significant chunk of his time to trademark work; while Harris spent 25 years of his 35-year career as the firm’s IP head and continues to provide invaluable insight and guidance to the team. “Gordon is very experienced and that shows through in his work. He and his team are very thorough and innovative in building cases which lead to satisfying conclusions for clients.” Connecting the IP squad to the firm’s advertising division is Dan Smith, whose knowledge of the ins and outs of sponsorship and endorsement agreements knows no bounds.
Alexandra Brodie has over 25 years' experience as an IP litigator, with significant expertise in relation to both soft and hard intellectual property. She founded and is co-chair of Gowling WLG’s Tech Sector, which encompasses teams of international, cross-discipline lawyers focused on growth areas of tech. She has been named one of the top 250 women in IP globally by Managing Intellectual Property.
Highlights of Ms Brodie's brands career include:
- representing O2 in its case against H3G before the Court of Justice of the European Union in relation to comparative advertising and registered trademarks; and
- successfully enforcing Hasbro Inc's registered and unregistered trademark rights in relation to its mark PLAY-DOH against 123 Nahrmittel GmbH.
Chambers has previously described Ms Brodie as “a great strategist and tactician who knows how to position for success at every level of trial” and quoted client feedback which stated "she's an absolute standout – her communications are excellent and she achieved a perfect result for us". Sources quoted in Chambers noted that "she has a very good analytical mind and pays lots of attention to detail". IAM quotes client feedback which describes her as a "brilliant adviser" with "deft coordination of teams across geographies and topics", noting her "constant reference to the bigger picture".
Ms Brodie is passionate about the need to encourage a diverse environment with opportunities for all; she heads up the firm’s initiative to provide mentoring and coaching to staff as part of its More Women project.
With more than 1,500 legal professionals in offices worldwide, Gowling WLG is an international law firm offering clients a comprehensive suite of legal services across multiple jurisdictions and industry sectors.
The firm is widely regarded as a global leader in IP law, with significant strength in prosecution, enforcement and litigation, and transactional work.
Gowling WLG is home to top IP practices in Canada, the United Kingdom and throughout Europe, as well as across an arc of challenging jurisdictions that include the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and China. Our exclusive association with JurisAsia in Singapore — along with a robust network of established relationships with leading IP practitioners worldwide — ensures our clients have access to the very best in trademark services, wherever their business takes them.
With a view to serving our clients better, we continue to grow our global platform each year. Most recently, in September 2021, we announced a significant expansion of our IP practice and relationships in China. This expansion includes:
- the transfer of Clyde & Co’s Chinese IP practice to Gowling WLG, giving Gowling WLG clients access to a broader range of IP services’
- an exclusive referral arrangement with Chongqing Aquila Law Firm (Aquila Law). This arrangement will allow Gowling WLG to provide clients with enhanced, seamless access to the Chinese courts and IP offices; and
- a new office in Shanghai, an extension of Gowling WLG’s IP agency in Beijing. This office will complement the firm's existing locations in Beijing and Guangzhou, as well as Aquila Law's office in Chongqing.
Directly through our offices in Canada, China and the UAE — as well as through our extensive network of trusted international associates — we offer clients a full range of trademark prosecution services. From filing to managing large international portfolios to supporting complex transactions, our professionals deliver practical, cost-effective legal advice to help commercialise and maximise your IP assets.
Enforcement and litigation
Our prosecution services are matched by formidable enforcement capabilities spanning all our global offices. Our services encompass opposition proceedings, infringement, cancellations and invalidations, passing off, dilution, anti-counterfeiting, trans-shipping and parallel import matters.
We regularly appear before all levels of court in the United Kingdom, Europe and Canada, and manage and coordinate litigation in other jurisdictions. Members of our team have represented clients successfully in a wide range of matters, including with respect to trademark validity, the misappropriation of confidential information and theft of trade secrets, defamation, and IP licensing disputes. From ‘bet the company’ litigation to the smallest skirmish, we work tirelessly to ensure we achieve optimal outcomes for our international clientele.
Our global IP transactions team has a rich track record advising on a breadth of IP transactional and cross-border matters, including with respect to transfers, coexistence, joint ownership, licensing and recordals, securitisation of intellectual property, brand clearance and franchise contracts — as well as the IP aspects of corporate transactions (including M&A, joint venture and hive offs). Our team also has particular experience in life sciences, IT, competition/antitrust and employment transactions.
Outside our IP practice, Gowling WLG is equipped to advise clients in virtually every area of law relevant to business. This comprehensive offering gives our team the ability to seamlessly harmonise our clients’ IP interests with other facets of their organisation, and in turn develop a more holistic picture of their business objectives. This is one of our core strengths and a key differentiator from other IP service providers — whether they are full-service firms or boutiques.
Our IP practice and the professionals who comprise it are routinely recognised by the world’s foremost IP publications. In 2021 alone, our team received multiple distinctions:
- World Trademark Review selected 11 Gowling WLG professionals across four countries, more than any other firm in the world, for inclusion in the 2021 edition of WTR Global Leaders; and
- Gowling WLG was named among the top 26 international trademark firms in the 2021 edition of WTR 1000. The guide also recognised 39 Gowling WLG trademark professionals around the world who together earned a total of 47 listings across multiple areas.