For most of my career I have practised intellectual property, information technology, media and entertainment and competition law in the North of England. I specialize in helping start-ups and other small businesses protect and exploit their intellectual assets, that is to say their investment in brands, design, technology and creative works. I have distilled my 30 years experience of this work in my book “Enforcing Intellectual Property Rights: A Concise Guide for Businesses and Creative Individuals” which was published by Gower in March 2009.
Small businesses need help with intellectual property at least as much as big businesses but small businesses’ means are much more limited. Using the law to maximum advantage for small businesses requires special skills and knowledge that have taken me years to learn. Their priority is to keep out of trouble as much as possible or, if trouble cannot be avoided, to get out of it on satisfactory terms as quickly and cheaply as possible.
Consequently, most of my work tends to be advice and drafting rather than advocacy. When a dispute does arise I try to settle it early through negotiation or mediation. If that does not work I look for fast and inexpensive procedures such as the UDRP for domain name disputes or seeking an advisory opinion on whether a patent is valid or infringed from the IP Office rather than litigation.
However, where an interim injunction, security for costs, summary judgment or some other remedy is needed and there is a good chance of getting it quickly and cheaply I don’t hang around. Over the years I have been in some important cases in the Patents Court, Patents County Court, Chancery Division and Intellectual Property Office as well as other tribunals. My services are not limited to appearing in court and presenting a case. I guide my solicitor or other litigator every step of the way. I prepare the paperwork specifying the information and documents I need. I prepare skeleton arguments. I advise on bundles and get them to court on time. I keep the client and insurer as well as their solicitor fully informed as to what is happening. I tell them what is likely to happen next In other words, I make it as easy for a nervous client as anyone possibly can.
Members of the public can come to me directly for most types of work under the public access rules. They can also instruct me through a solicitor, patent or trade mark attorney or other professional intermediary. I give up to 2 hours of my time free of charge at various IP clinics around the North which will soon be extended nationwide.
Some of my advisory and drafting services may be funded by local business support agencies. I accept vouchers from Business Link Yorkshire and Business Link East Midlands. Clients who come to me without funding you may find my hourly rate to be higher than those of most other local lawyers but my bottom line usually works out lower because I am not on a learning curve and can work quickly and accurately. I allow an automatic 40% discount on my normal hourly rate for start-ups and 25% for businesses with less than £1 million a year turnover. Complete the estimate request form if you would like an idea of fees.