THE SET 8 New Square is the largest of the major IP sets, housing 25 barristers, nine of whom are silks. Chambers is perhaps best known for its members' knowledge and experience of patent litigation in software, telecoms, digital media, technology and life sciences, although this should not occlude the set's fine reputation for matters where copyright, design right and trade mark infringement or passing off are at issue. The quality of the members and the clerking team is such that, according to one source, "you know that if a clerk is recommending even a baby junior, that person will be up to it and will have been well trained." The clerks themselves are described as "helpful," "generous" and "very good at knowing what you want."
SILKS It is taken as axiomatic that Daniel Alexander QC is "one of the stars of the IP Bar." He has a "fantastic eye for detail," is "exceptionally bright and covers all the angles." It is noted that, as a result of his experience and his renowned intellect, he enjoys a "good rapport with judges."
John Baldwin QC is celebrated for his heightened "strategic and commercial" sense, his "excellent judgement" and for "knowing when to be aggressive or not." He is a seasoned performer when it comes to litigating high-value pharmaceutical patent disputes, but is equally at home with instructions relating to any sector and all types of IP rights.
In spite of his relatively recent elevation to silk in 2008, Richard Meade QC is now seen as "one of the leading lights of the IP Bar." Instructing solicitors are "very impressed at his ability to get to the heart of the issue," as well as his "relaxed and confident manner." He is at his best when deployed in patent and trade mark cases of fiendish complexity, as well as disputes concerning the music industry.
The "focused and effective" James Mellor QC "has the ear of the court and a good advocate's manner." In his element fighting patent, copyright and trade mark cases, he has particularly well-developed expertise in matters involving parallel imports and internet issues.
Michael Tappin QC, according to one solicitor, has "an almost disconcerting ability to get to grips with an awful lot of documents very quickly and start quoting them back to you." In court he is "a very clear and effective advocate, who is calm, thoughtful and confident." He is best known for taking on patent cases, although he is formidable in all areas of IP law.
Adrian Speck QC was an "outstanding junior" and is set to do very well in silk, having been appointed Queen's Counsel in March 2012. Able to "simplify complex cases that others cannot fathom," he has an unwavering instinct for what the key points in a matter are.
Peter Prescott QC is credited by commentators for his original mind and academic rigour. He has all but unmatched experience in IP cases of every hue, and has handled numerous cases involving copyright, design rights, patents and trade marks. Stablemate Martin Howe QC is an "understated and thoughtful advocate" possessed of an "excellent mind," according to sources. He has distinguished himself recently in a number of copyright actions, and is an expert on the confluence of EU and IP law.
Mark Platts-Mills QC is head of chambers. When handling cases he brings to bear his years of experience, his nose for the issues involved in a matter and a formidable courtroom presence. Commentators praise the "comforting firmness of his views," his passion and his skill at "bullying witnesses."
JUNIORS James Abrahams is well thought of for his skilful approach. Combining "gut feel" and thoughtful analysis, he is highly successful at getting results. Technically difficult patent cases are grist to his mill, and he is known for being "excellent at refining ideas and sprinkling gold dust on them."
"A star in the making," Andrew Lykiardopoulos' background as a solicitor makes him "particularly easy to work with" and someone who is sympathetic to the point of view of those that instruct him. A recent highlight for him was his role in obtaining a summary judgment on behalf of Sony in a patent dispute with LG regarding PlayStation 3 consoles.
Charlotte May "distils problems so that they can be very clearly and simply articulated." A purveyor of "sensible, commercial advice," she is in particularly high demand as an expert on the law regarding and at obtaining Supplementary Protection Certificates for pharmaceutical patents.
Peers and instructing solicitors find Thomas Moody-Stuart to be "first-rate at trade mark cases." Others single out his impressive knowledge of matters involving IT and its interface with IP law. A "good team player," he is considered "absolutely charming and helpful."
Mark Chacksfield is "a phenomenal asset to his set." A barrister with a fine record on the most critical life sciences, pharmaceuticals and software patent cases, he is known for being "very creative and someone who sees all the angles in a case." In short, he is a "good strategic litigator." Chacksfield shares a set with the "extremely bright and very personable" James Whyte, who is near or at the top of solicitors' lists for patent cases relating to biochemistry, genetics, electronic and mechanical engineering. Also popular, Henry Ward "gives you real confidence" due to his knowledge of the law. "Persuasive and compelling on his feet," he is experienced at complex trials surrounding soft and hard IP rights, and has appeared before the IPO, the PCC and the Court of Appeal.
Iona Berkeley is a published authority on copyright, design rights, trade marks and trade names. She also has extensive experience at litigating patents cases, and has represented clients large and small from across the industrial landscape.
Other barristers find Lindsay Lane to be "an ideal co-defendant counsel," while solicitors describe her as a "very talented advocate who is very good on her feet." Her practice takes in cases concerning all IP rights, and her matters often touch on the interface of IP with media and entertainment law.
Robert Onslow is considered to be "just great" when it comes to technically complex matters to do with copyright in software and the latter's development. He is also seen as one of the preferred senior juniors for IT-related disputes. His set also includes James St Ville, who handles matters concerning all varieties of IP rights. His practice, however, does have a special emphasis on cases regarding electronics, IT, communications and mechanical engineering. Observers state that he is "always an accommodating guy, who pitches in and has an eye for detail."
Isabel Jamal "knows how to cause the other side some damage" and has impressed many with the quality of her advocacy. She handles hard and soft IP cases with equal aplomb and wins plaudits for being "very client-focused" and for working well as part of a solicitors' team.
Jessie Bowhill is "very helpful, approachable and is excellent before the trade mark registry," according to one source. Although, like most members of chambers, she is at home in cases centring on the spectrum of IP rights, she has extensive experience in matters within media and entertainment.