IP Team of the Year

Baker & McKenzie

Baker & McKenzie acted on“the deal that saved the internet” in 2014. The case saw Bakers represent the Public Relations Consultants Association (PRCA) against the Newspaper Licensing Agency and had vitally important implications for content providers, technology companies and consumers. The matter under debate was whether anyone who reads internet content infringes copyright because of the cache on users’ computers, unless it falls under the temporary copying exception.

The PRCA lost at first instance and before the Court of Appeal. However the case was thrown out in the Supreme Court. Had the PRCA lost, millions of Internet users across the EU would unwittingly be in breach of copyright. The court referred the decision to the CJEU, which upheld the rights of internet users to brows, read or view copyrighted content online without right holder permission.

The case required a deep understanding of how current copyright law applies to technological innovation. The judgement is vitally important in defining the limits of copyright in the digital age and clarifies the law in an area which impacts everyone who uses a computer as well as companies that offer services relating to online content.

IP head Michael Hart led the Bakers team, alongside partner Ben Allgrove.

Runner up
  • Bristows

Bristows advised Genomics England on a £300m project to unlock the power of DNA. According to judges, this transaction represented “an impressive piece of work and an understated if not even modest presentation. Their excellence in their field is demonstrated.”

The project aims to sequence 100,000 whole genomes from NHS patients to identify the basis of diseases (such as cancer) in patients to design optimal therapy, or personalised medicine. This work, which has the potential to change the entire future of healthcare, has spurred hopes to end chemotherapy within 20 years.

The Bristows team, led by TMT partner Adrian Sim and commercial IP partner Matthew Warren worked closely with Genomics England general counsel Nick Maltby on the initial procurement process awarded to genome sequencing company Illumina.

Third place
  • Michelmores

Michelmores’ IP team caused waves with a project to provide oceanographic expertise to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Navy. The firm acted for Plymouth University in a multi-million deal that would lead to the development of a Naval Ocean Monitoring and Forecasting Centre in the UAE, through a partnership between the university, the Met office and the Centre of Excellence in Naval Oceanographic Research and Education. This transaction, the largest in Plymouth’s history, is also a significant collaboration between the UK and the UAE governments. Partner Rehman Noormohamed strategically and operationally led the project, supported by a wider team of Michelmores lawyers.

  • Lewis Silkin
  • Powell Gilbert
  • Slaughter and May
  • Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co