The market-leading 8 New Square, which continues to act in a wide variety of high-profile patent cases, remains the UK IP bar’s best-regarded and largest IP barrister set. Throughout the year it has been highly visible in all UK courts, including the Supreme Court, in a variety of cases.
A particular highlight for the chambers was the appointment of highly-respected and recommended former 8 New Square barrister Richard Meade to the UK High Court as a patent-specialist judge. Indeed, consistently described as “judicial in manner” by the UK’s patent attorneys and litigators, the IP profession is almost unanimously agreed that Meade’s appointment is extremely positive for the reputation and expertise of the UK court.
The remaining barristers enjoy high visibility in leading pharmaceutical and telecommunications cases, acting for both the appellants and respondents in Europe’s largest FRAND dispute between Unwired Planet, Conversant, Huawei and ZTE. As such, the set should have no problems keeping up with such a high-calibre of cases, even following the departure of star pharmaceutical advocate Meade.
It speaks to the calibre of the set that, not only were its barristers so heavily involved in the most important FRAND dispute of 2020, but that some of the same barristers were also involved in an important Supreme Court case on the pharmaceutical side. A specific stand-out is the highly-recommended Adrian Speck, who is continually recommended by London’s patent firms and clients alike. “Absolutely superb” says one, while another says, “He is absolutely formidable – the best for tech patents.” Michael Tappin is also highly-visible in pharmaceutical cases and in biotech work, for example appearing for claimant Amgen against Sanofi regarding cholesterol-lowering drugs.
The set’s expertise in life sciences cases is also evident through the volume of cases in which it was involved during 2020, particularly in the High Court. For example, four of 8 New Square‘s barristers worked for ViiV and Shionogi against Gilead, which involved complex cross-border matters. The case demonstrates the set’s aptitude in dealing with policy issues alongside traditional patent jurisprudence. The set is also visible in other policy-oriented debates, such as regarding SPCs in Coloplast vs. Salts Healthcare, and emerging areas including medical devices.
Away from pharmaceuticals, on the engineering and technology side the set is less visible than its counterparts, for example Brick Court Chambers. The same goes for its competition expertise. Although the set has competition capabilities, in complex FRAND cases it often works alongside barristers from other chambers to offer the full package. Of the current 12 QCs, still only two are female, but it does have seven female juniors. This is a higher percentage than any other UK specialist-IP set. The set boasts a former QC as the current and sole patent specialist Supreme Court judge, David Kitchin.
Adrian Speck (“a joy to work with – we try to get him on every case”; “a formidable QC“, competitors); Andrew Lykiardopoulos (“he has a great overview on the case and the technology“, competitor); Charlotte May (“her easy manner and formidable intellect make her a firm favourite for our clients“, competitor); Daniel Alexander (“tremendous flair“, “calm, thoughtful, commercial, accessible”; “everything you could wish for in a silk“, competitor); Lindsay Lane, James Mellor, Michael Tappin (“excellent for both life sciences and tech“, competitor), James Abrahams, Isabel Jamal, Tom Moody-Stuart (“excellent judge-craft“, competitor)
12 QCs, 18 juniors
Supreme Court: Regeneron (defendant, Adrian Speck) against Kymab (claimant, Michael Tappin) over transgenic mouse technology; Huawei and ZTE (claimants, Adrian Speck, Isabel Jamal, Thomas Jones against Unwired Planet and Conversant (defendants, Daniel Alexander, Andrew Lykiardopoulos) over SEPs and FRAND; Court of Appeal: Conversant (appellant, Adrian Speck, Mark Chacksfield, Michael Conway) against Huawei and ZTE over FRAND; High Court: Evalve and Abbott (claimants, Richard Meade, James Abrahams, Michael Conway, Jennifer Dixon) against Edwards Lifesciences over heart valves; ViiV and Shionogi (claimants, Richard Meade, Charlotte May, James Whyte) against Gilead (defendant, Michael Tappin) over anti-HIV drugs; Amgen (claimant, Michael Tappin) against Sanofi (defendant, William Duncan) over cholesterol-lowering drugs.