When I opened the first patent chambers outside London in Lancaster Buildings on 1 May 1997 my mission was to provide high quality but affordable advice and representation on intellectual property, information and communications technology, media and entertainment and competition law to businesses and individuals in Northern England and North Wales.
That remains my mission but times have changed. The internet has made it easier to market and deliver legal services anywhere in the world with the result that my work now comes from all parts of the UK and overseas. Amendments to CPR Part 63 and the Part 63 Practice Direction enable the Patents County Court to provide a cost-effective forum for the resolution of intellectual property disputes for litigants throughout England and Wales. It has been obvious to me for over two years that if I was to continue to provide the best possible service for my clients I had to be in London.
On 11 Feb 2013 I was invited to join 4-5 Gray’s Inn Square and I seized that opportunity with both hands. Although I had first come across the set in Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp and Others v British Telecommunications Plc  RPC 28,  EWHC 1981 (Ch),  1 All ER 806,  Bus LR 1471 when Richard Spearman QC of those chambers made one of the first applications for an injunction under s.97A of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 it is probably fair to say that 4-5 Gray’s Inn Square was not known for its expertise in IP and ICT law.
That has now changed. Not only have I joined the set but so too have:
- Thomas Dillon, a former assistant general counsel to the EMEA office of the Motion Picture Association and thus an expert in copyright, rights in performances and information and communications and technology law;
- Joseph Dalby an expert in computer supply disputes, e-commerce and EU law;
- David Hughes, a member of the Welsh Assembly’s intellectual property panel advising on data protection and privacy as well as IP; and
- Tahir Ashraf, a former solicitor advocate with experience of trade mark infringement and passing off.
Joseph has strong connections with Ireland as David has with Wales and I have with the North. Thomas is a member of the California Bar, Joseph is a member of the Irish bar and David has practised in Gibraltar. Thomas and Joseph has expertise in EU law. Several of us are arbitrators and mediators and sit on domain name dispute resolution panels.
We intend to build on, and extend those connections. We are all clerked by Stephen Broom who can be reached on +44 (0)20 7404 5252 Email firstname.lastname@example.org. I can still be reached in Leeds on +44 (0)113 320 3232, Manchester on +44 (0)161 850 0080 or nationally on 0800 862 0055 You can still see me and now any of my colleagues in Bradford, Huddersfield, Leeds or Manchester if you want a conference in the North. I shall continue my work with entrepreneurs and inventors in Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester and Sheffield but I shall try to extend some of the services that I have developed in the North to the rest of the country.