Advocacy: New blood is needed

11th Feb 2021

Aaron Wood laments the fact that firms still don’t seem to be developing junior Counsel.

Last year when I compiled the yearly and five-yearly appearances data for the Review, we saw that around 31 per cent of all disputes were being resolved via a hearing. This year, that figure has risen slightly to 35 per cent. Part of that change can be accounted for by a more stable number of hearings and a drop in the number of published decisions (down by a total of 92, or 17 per cent). 

It is possible that the state of the global economy has led to fewer oppositions (or more being resolved through settlement). And where there have been hearings, what’s noticeable is that 53 per cent were carried out by Trade Mark Attorneys (TMAs) in 2020, compared with 46 per cent being undertaken by Solicitors or TMAs in 2019.

Long-term numbers

Looking at the five-year data, we can see that 31 firms have had two or more hearings per year over the period (up from 27 last year), and 61 have had at least one per year over that period (up from 52 last year). This suggests an increase overall in the relevance of dispute work for a number of practices, which is not surprising. Given the expected growth in disputes at the UK IPO as a result of Brexit, we should expect that number to grow still more, and I would imagine that a few new names will rise in the rankings off the back of marketing efforts.

Each year, we look at how tightly the appearance numbers congregate around just a few individuals. This year, the top five TMAs and Solicitors by appearances contributed 28 per cent of all appearances in that category. And this is not unique to TMAs. If we include Barristers in the figures, we see the top five individuals (regardless of background) contributing 26 per cent of the overall appearances. The top three alone contributed 20 per cent of all appearances. 

Comparing the top figures for 2020 with those from 2019, we see repeat appearances by 60 per cent of members of Counsel and 50 per cent of TMAs/Solicitors. This suggests a recurring turnover of advocacy work for those Attorneys, and of course plenty of regular repeat work for those particular members of Counsel.

Next year’s outlook

Looking ahead, it is possible that the trumpeted rise in oppositions will arrive during 2021, but with the economic climate being what it is, this rise may be dampened. The arrival of Amazon’s IP Accelerator to the UK may give a small handful of firms a boost in the number of disputes they are handling. It seems likely, however, that the same names will grace the lists next year, with the only changes coming perhaps as a result of the overbooking of certain members of Counsel.

What we are not seeing at present is a gradual shift in appearances towards juniors. Some of the more recent additions to the bar are yet to make their UK IPO debuts, and there is a long list of juniors who are yet to make the UK IPO a regular source of work. Of course, it is possible that this is because they are busy supporting patent matters, but I see an iceberg looming on the horizon in relation to certain chambers. Having not established some of their juniors for this work, they are likely to fall further behind those other chambers that seem to have developed more of a “conveyor belt” of talent. 

All data presented is based on the relevant calendar year(s). Raw data collected from the UK IPO by the author. Where entities are tied, they are ranked in alphabetical order. Figures are not independently audited and should not be relied on for official reporting, marketing, advertising or publicity purposes. Neither CITMA nor the CITMA Review can accept responsibility for errors or omissions.

2020 Appearances: Top 10 Firms

Position

Firm

Total

1

Blaser Mills

13

2

Wilson Gunn

7

=

Baker McKenzie

7

=

Lane IP

7

=

Stobbs IP

7

6

Bird & Bird

6

7

Dolleymores

5

=

D Young & Co

5

=

Fieldfisher

5

=

HGF

5

Murgitroyd and Potter Clarkson also made five appearances.

 

2020 Appearances: Top 10 TMAs/Solicitors

Position

Name

Firm

Total

1

Aaron Wood

Blaser Mills

13

2

Julius Stobbs

Stobbs IP

6

3

Andrew Marsden

Wilson Gunn

4

4

Ian Bartlett

Beck Greener

3

=

Philip Hannay

Cloch Solicitors

3

=

Rachel Wilkinson-Duffy

Baker McKenzie

3

7

Leighton Cassidy

Fieldfisher

2

=

Patricia Collis

Bird & Bird

2

=

Barbara Cookson

Filemot Technology Law

2

=

Alan Fiddes

UDL

2

Angela Fox (Maucher Jenkins), Olivia Gregory (Appleyard Lees), Chris Hoole (Appleyard Lees), Paul Kelly (FRKelly), Martin Krause (Haseltine Lake Kempner), Ross Manaton (Bromhead Johnson), Richard May (Osborne Clarke), Allister McManus (Elkington + Fife) and Hiroshi Sheraton (Baker McKenzie) also made two appearances.

 

2020 Appearances: Top 10 Barristers

Position

Name

Chambers/Firm

Total

1

Charlotte Blythe

Hogarth Chambers

19

2

Jamie Muir Wood

Hogarth Chambers

11

3

Philip Harris

Lane IP

7

4

Benet Brandreth QC

11 South Square

5

=

Jonathan Moss

Hogarth Chambers

5

6

Chris Aikens

11 South Square

4

=

Georgina Messenger

Three New Square

4

8

Ashton Chantrielle

8 New Square

3

=

Gwilym Harbottle

Hogarth Chambers

3

=

Victoria Jones

3PB

3

Amanda Michaels (Hogarth Chambers), Andrew Norris QC (Hogarth Chambers) and Thomas St Quintin (Hogarth Chambers) also made three appearances.

Appearances 2016-2020

The longer-term view of in-person litigation activity

2016-2020 Appearances: Top 20 firms

Position

Firm

Total

1

Blaser Mills

41

2

Stobbs IP

33

3

D Young & Co

27

4

Wilson Gunn

26

5

HGF

24

6

Bird & Bird

23

7

Haseltine Lake Kempner

22

8

Beck Greener

21

=

Potter Clarkson

21

=

Withers & Rogers

21

11

Lane IP

20

12

UDL

19

13

Marks & Clerk

18

=

Murgitroyd

18

15

CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang

17

16

Dolleymores

15

17

Appleyard Lees

14

18

Kilburn & Strode

13

=

Lewis Silkin

13

20

Baker McKenzie

12

Fieldfisher, Mathys & Squire and Trade Mark Wizards also made 12 appearances.

 

2016-2020 Appearances: Top 20 TMAs/Solicitors

Position

Name

Firm

Total

1

Aaron Wood

Blaser Mills

41

2

Julius Stobbs

Stobbs IP

30

3

Alan Fiddes

UDL IP

14

4

Ian Bartlett

Beck Greener

13

5

Martin Krause

Haseltine Lake Kempner

12

6

Andrew Marsden

Wilson Gunn

9

7

Leighton Cassidy

Fieldfisher

8

=

Patricia Collis

Bird & Bird

8

=

Matthew Dick

D Young & Co

8

10

Marisa Broughton

Withers & Rogers

7

=

Barbara Cookson

Filemot Technology Law

7

=

Lee Curtis

HGF

7

=

Philip Hannay

Cloch Solicitors

7

=

Chris McLeod

Elkington + Fife

7

=

Rachel Wilkinson-Duffy

Baker McKenzie

7

16

Paul Kelly

FRKelly

6

=

Rigel Moss-McGrath

HGF

6

=

Florian Traub

Pinsent Masons

6

19

Rowland Buehrlen

Beck Greener

5

=

Angela Fox

Maucher Jenkins

5

Chris Hoole (Appleyard Lees), Jeremy Pennant (D Young & Co), Terry Rundle (Wilson Gunn), Max Stacey (Baron Warren Redfern) also made five appearances.

 

2016-2020 Appearances: Top 20 Barristers

Position

Name

Chambers/Firm

Total

1

Charlotte Blythe

Hogarth Chambers

57

2

Jonathan Moss

Hogarth Chambers

29

=

Jamie Muir Wood

Hogarth Chambers

29

4

Thomas St Quintin

Hogarth Chambers

27

5

Amanda Michaels

Hogarth Chambers

22

6

Philip Harris

Lane IP

21

7

Ashton Chantrielle

8 New Square

18

=

Andrew Norris QC

Hogarth Chambers

18

9

Benet Brandreth QC

11 South Square

17

=

Simon Malynicz QC

Three New Square

17

11

Chris Aikens

11 South Square

16

12

Christopher Hall

11 South Square

14

=

Michael Hicks

Hogarth Chambers

14

=

Guy Tritton

Hogarth Chambers

14

15

Michael Edenborough QC

Serle Court

13

=

Denise McFarland

Three New Square

13

17

Fiona Clark

8 New Square

11

=

Victoria Jones

3PB

11

=

Daniel Selmi

Three New Square

11

=

Nick Zweck

Hogarth Chambers

11

 

Aaron Wood is a Chartered Trade Mark Attorney at Blaser Mills Law 
[email protected]

 

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