The IP speciality of this leading commercial set, which this year celebrates its centenary, continues to shine through in FRAND and telecommunications disputes – especially on the competition law side.
Although over 2021 the UK has not experienced an SEP case as high-profile as that between Unwired Planet and Huawei, similar telecommunications cases heard by the UK High Court over the past year are characterised by the presence of Brick Court barristers. For example, the two cases between Optis and Apple, whereby Sarah Ford and Marie Demetriou represented either party, highlights the flexibility of Brick Court QCs in working for both NPE and implementers. In the jurisdiction-oriented case between Nokia and Oppo, the highly-visible Nicholas Saunders is on the side of the implementer. As such, the chambers are positioning themselves as open to work for clients from both sides of the spectrum – not something necessarily replicated across patent litigation firms. Winning instructions from both sides of the fence will help enhance the set’s experience in high-profile FRAND disputes.
It is also not unusual to see the set’s IP and competition barristers work together with more patent-specialist barristers from other sets, most notably 8 New Square. Clients continue to seek this partnership which, as in the Mitsubishi/Sisvel/OnePlus case, tends to marry the brightest IP and competition minds from both sets to deliver good results. However, it is also now not uncommon to see the set work alongside Hogarth, too.
On the other hand, Brick Court Chambers remains virtually unrepresented in life sciences and pharmaceutical patent disputes. On the technical and mechanical patent side, Victoria Wakefield and Jennifer MacLeod both appeared for MGA Entertainment against Cabo Concepts over children toys. The highly-present Nicholas Saunders also worked alongside barristers from 8 New Square for BAT against Philip Morris, over heat-not-burn cigarette technology patents.
While both involve a large degree of competition law, the cases also cover suspected patent infringement and complex patent case law. Perhaps these technical patent cases are signalling Brick Court Chambers is beginning to get its foot in the door in other areas of patent law.
5 QCs, 1 junior
Court of Appeal: AutoStore (respondent, Thomas Plewman) against Ocado (appellant, Vernon Flynn) over robotic warehouse systems; High Court: MGA Entertainment (defendant, Victoria Wakefield) against Cabo Concepts over childrens’ toys; Mitsubishi and Sisvel (claimants, Sarah Abram) against OPlus, OnePlus, Oppo, Xiaomi (defendants, Daniel Piccinin, Colin West) over SEPs and licensing; British American Tobacco/Nicoventures (defendant, Nicholas Saunders) against Philip Morris over heat-not-burn cigarette technology; Mitsubishi and Sisvel (claimants, Sarah Abram) against OPlus, OnePlus, Oppo, Xiaomi (defendants, Daniel Piccinin) over SEPs and FRAND; IP Bridge (claimant, Nicholas Saunders, Sophie Shaw) against Huawei over 4G technology; Autostore (claimant, Vernon Flynn) against Ocado (defendant, Thomas Plewman) against automated retail system; Apple (defendant, Marie Demetriou, Sarah Love) against Optis (claimant) over FRAND; Optis (claimant, Sarah Ford) against Apple (defendant, Marie Demetriou, Sarah Love) over FRAND licensing; also Optis (claimant, Fred Hobson) against Apple over alleged breach of confidentiality; Nokia (claimant, Nicholas Saunders) against Oppo and OnePlus over mobile communications and FRAND; IPBridge (claimant, Nicholas Saunders) against Huawei over breach of confidentiality.