CMS rebuilds London patent practice with Allen & Overy hire

The London office of CMS Cameron McKenna has hired Toby Sears as a new patent partner to continue strengthening its IP team. The former senior associate, who specialises in patent litigation in the telecommunications and IT sector, joins from Allen & Overy.

20 January 2022 by Amy Sandys

CMS, Toby Sears Toby Sears has joined CMS Cameron McKenna as a partner, to help rebuild its patent team in London ©coward_lion/ADOBE STOCK

Toby Sears (36) has joined the IP team at CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang as a partner. Previously, Sears was at Allen & Overy, where he was a senior associate for four years. Prior to this, he spent six years at Bird & Bird.

Sears brings FRAND experience

CMS, Toby Sears

Toby Sears

His academic background is in pharmacology. However, Sears brings specialist knowledge in technology patent litigation, specifically the telecommunications and IT sector, to CMS.

He also has experience in standard essential patent and FRAND cases, with previous work including being part of the Allen & Overy team that acted for Huawei against Conversant in the parallel Unwired Planet vs. Huawei litigation.

Sears also worked for Huawei in litigation against IP Bridge.

He says, “I am very excited to join the youthful and dynamic patent partnership at CMS. With SEPs and FRAND a big growth area for telecommunication clients, as well as other companies taking an interest in connectivity, CMS provides a great platform to develop this specialty”.

Sarah Wright, head of IP at CMS UK, says, “Toby’s arrival reaffirms the firm’s commitment to our IP practice and marks the third major appointment for the team in recent months. His experience across patent litigation, with a focus on technology and life sciences, has obvious synergies with our broader client base”.

CMS focuses on rebuilding

In November 2021, CMS lost life sciences specialist partner Gareth Morgan, after he moved to Pinsent Masons alongside a team of five associates.

Earlier in 2021, other life sciences partner Sarah Innes moved in-house from CMS to become head of legal at Sandoz. Following the moves, CMS’ patent litigation practice had just one patent litigation partner in Caitlin Heard. Through the appointment of Toby Sears, the partner capacity has doubled.

Now the firm’s total UK IP team includes 16 partners, alongside 130 lawyers and patent attorneys. The firm also has a strong trademark offering, recently hiring Ben Hitchens as a specialty trademark lawyer.