What can I do for you?
I am a consultant in our technology and commerce team, and head the intellectual property team. I work regularly on patents, trade marks, copyright, designs, domain names - all the elements which underlie the innovation, and the innovation economy. I am an enthusiastic proponent of making use of intellectual property effectively; not just more of it, but when it is the right tool for the occasion. I can help you through, and demystify, the maze of intellectual property rights, exploitation of ideas, technology agreements, or resolving intellectual property disputes. Intellectual property is not just about spending money getting protection, but spending it and using it wisely; or on other side, finding your way through other people's rights.
With experience in industry and private practice, I deal with issues about IP rights ownership, protection, validity, infringement; commercial agreements - from short sharp licences to detailed and technically challenging collaboration, development agreements; from standard software licences to complex outsourcing arrangements; and practical brand protection, pharmaceutical products, special issues in higher education, and the commercial drivers in the biotechnology industry.
I have a particular interest in working with clients across the world, work with clients from across the world, in mainland Europe, USA, China, India and Australasia, and pay special attention to US and Chinese intellectual property law as the editor of the Journal of the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorney.
Supporting my clients’ ambitions
Getting the (right) deal done is what matters whether it's in a commercial context, or in handling a dispute and doing it efficiently and expeditiously. I take a real interest in what our client's business or objectives are; having a scientific background, and training as a patent attorney as well as a lawyer. I like to learn about what makes the business work and how I can help to meet its objectives. That means clear, practical and commercial solutions. If I can do that with a short telephone call I am very happy; but, like others in our team, technical detail is not an obstacle, and understanding the technical detail and being willing to address it can make a real difference to making the deal work.
Distributors for a client, in mainland Europe had court appointed officers entering their premises to report on their allegedly patent infringing activities. We were able to appoint legal advisors in the European jurisdictions to advise the distributors, and then in the UK to design a strategy for proceedings in the UK Intellectual Property Office (where relatively cost effective proceedings could be brought) and oppositions in the European Patent Office in order to secure a satisfactory settlement of the patent infringement proceedings.
If disputes are not your cup of tea, sorting out the final details of commercial agreements may be - for example I have recently advised several clients on development and long term supply agreements needing a quick agreement - and a focus on the key commercial issues which would have a real practical impact. And where attention to detail is required, like the schedules to a system supply agreement, I will look at this - with the aim of ensuring that it works in a legal context.
We aim to make your business work - not just to give an answer which will be dated in a moment. We are in it for the long haul and have clients who can vouch for that. For example, IT installations can be a nightmare! We like getting our hands dirty, understanding the technical details. We help explain complex contracts simply to clients, to help them get it right. We work as part of their team to smooth out the wrinkles – not just once but for the life of the agreement. IT should work for clients – our experience means that we can help it do so.
If those ambitions extend internationally, I am keen to help here as well. As President of the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys, I was keen to ensure that patent attorneys (and lawyers) recognised the importance of working with clients, opportunities and advisors abroad, visiting China and India (and the USA and Canada). Many key opportunities have an international aspect, and I will work to help you maximise these as well.
What do others say?
Clients and peers comment that I am always willing to be in at the front, but never demanding the limelight.
“A master of technical detail and imaginative solutions, but clear, concise and practical, with a single target: to drive towards our objectives.” A client
"Very practical in his approach, very responsive and able to cut through the legal jargon" Chambers UK 2016
“As close to working as one of our in-house team as we have found, but still able to stand away and give an independent view.” A client
What else should you know?
I am a Chartered Patent Attorney, Registered Trade Mark Attorney and European Design Attorney. Industry experience has left its mark - working in Shell in the UK and Canada, specialising in patents and licensing from a practical perspective, I can bring you a commercial insight. I am a member of the Council of the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (and former President), and am a member (and former Chair) of the its Litigation Committee, with a specific interest in developing the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court - a court for IP disputes which does not cost the Earth - and its Trade Marks and Patents Committees, and the Intellectual Property Court Users Committee and Intellectual Property Enterprise Court Users Committee.
I am also a member of the Licensing Executives Society and have supported its development of licensing professionals since my time at Shell, and the International Trade Mark Association.
I am a keen (commuting) cyclists, and demonstrate my ability to co-operate by regularly cycling on a tandem, especially around wine producing districts. Other interests are mountains, snow covered or not, and occasional electronics.