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Intellectual Property

United Kingdom

Our market-leading intellectual property team is the largest dedicated IP team in the UK. CMS was Awarded ‘Best Law Firm in IP, IT & TMT’ at the Trends Legal Awards in 2019. We house one of London’s most experienced and formidable IP litigation practices. Uniquely among large law firms, we also offer a significant patent, trade mark and design attorney team with true technical and legal expertise. And of course we help our clients in complex licensing and exploitation in the world’s most highly regulated sectors. Our team has earned multiple Band 1 ratings from legal directories.

Our team includes 130 lawyers, patent attorneys, trade mark attorneys, and specialist IP administrators and paralegals. This means our team is qualified to file complex patents in cutting-edge technologies at the European Patent Office; manage and enforce portfolios for some of the world’s biggest brand owners; and handle the most complex and technically demanding IP disputes.

We handle the full life-cycle of IP assets, including finding the best strategy for the creation, identification, registration and capture of assets, their realisation through commercial agreements and licensing, and their protection and enforcement through litigation and other dispute resolution.

A cohesive IP strategy, including both commercialisation and enforcement, will ensure that maximum value is obtained from your IP portfolio. Our team understands your business needs and objectives and has worked with some of the world’s best known brands. Our clients include organisations from banks to technology companies, pharmaceuticals to FMCG, and we help them realise their commercial goals.

We also advise on IP enforcement at all levels of UK courts (civil and criminal) and have experience litigating before the CJEU as well as many national courts of the EU and beyond in multi-jurisdictional disputes. Our patent and trade mark teams are experienced in dealing with proceedings before UKIPO, EUIPO and European Patent Office.  Costs can quickly escalate in contentious proceedings, so project management is key to our service, driving forward cases, narrowing issues, and managing other service providers.

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"CMS' intellectual property department is 'excellent for high level and complex questions', and offers 'a good mix of very sound legal advice and practical tips'. The 'personable and easy to work with' team comprises of 25 partners, following the merger of CMS, Nabarro and Olswang in May 2017, and attracts praise for its 'good pragmatic commercial advice' across the spectrum of IP rights."

Legal 500, 2019

“Among firms in London, CMS is virtually unrivalled in terms of the breadth, depth, international reach and technical sophistication of its brands practice.”

World Trademark Review 1000, 2019

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    Brexit

    Brexit will have no consequence on UK membership of the European Patent Organisation (EPO), nor on the effect of European patents in the UK. Accordingly, CMS European patent attorneys based in the UK will continue to be able to represent applicants before the EPO.

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    Due Diligence

    Intellectual Property rights are commonly bought, sold or licensed as part of a corporate deal or transaction, and often represent a key element of a due diligence process. Our team of specialist solicitors, patent attorneys and trade mark attorneys are able to provide a commercially valuable assessment of an IP portfolio, either as part of deal process or as a stand-alone ‘health-check’. 

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    Life Sciences Regulatory

    Legal and regulatory frameworks are constantly evolving in the life sciences sector to keep up with innovative therapies, diagnostics and other medical technologies, as well as increasing services provision by manufacturers and other suppliers. In such a highly regulated and much scrutinised sector we understand you need a legal team who can proactively advise on your legal and regulatory risk.

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    Patent Drafting and Prosecution

    Our large patent attorney team is made up of specialists in a range of technical areas with a particular emphasis on the High-Tech field and Life Sciences field. Our attorneys have degrees and PhDs in areas such as artificial intelligence, communications, and physics through to genetics, biology and pharmacology, to name a few.  We also have cross-disciplinary expertise in areas such as AI and Life Sciences.

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    Patent Freedom to Operate

    The freedom to operate process generally comprises an in-depth search and review of publically available patent documents that relate to your commercial/pipeline products. The purpose is to identify whether a third-party owns any patent rights that may stop you from placing your product on the market.

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    Patent Opposition and Appeal

    Granted patents may be opposed by third parties, and our team is often sought out for their advice and representation in post-grant oppositions at the European Patent Office (EPO). We also launch appeal proceedings on behalf of our clients when they have been adversely affected by patent office decisions. A number of our attorneys have been involved in both defending and attacking commercially important patents in multi-party proceedings at the EPO. Often these proceedings have run alongside national litigation proceedings.  We also represent clients at hearings at the UK IPO.

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    Supplementary Protection Certificates

    The CMS team is at the forefront of SPC practice. We can provide strategic filing advice, benefitting from many years’ experience of managing large SPC portfolios.

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    Unified Patent Court

    We are prepared for the Unitary Patent and Unified Patent Court whenever they might come into effect. All CMS European patent attorneys, including those based in the UK, will be able to represent applicants before the EPO and to obtain national patents or Unitary Patents granted via the European Patent Office, even after Brexit. Our team of lawyers and patent attorneys will have rights of audience before the new Unified Patent Court.

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    Law-Now: In­tel­lec­tu­al Prop­erty
    Vis­it Law-Now for leg­al know-how and com­ment­ary

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    CMS Ex­pert Guide to Post BEPS In­tel­lec­tu­al Prop­erty...
    31 Jan 20
    UK In­tel­lec­tu­al Prop­erty Of­fice finds that pat­ent law does not cater...
    The UK In­tel­lec­tu­al Prop­erty Of­fice has found that DABUS is not a per­son and so can­not be con­sidered an in­vent­or of a pat­ent. DABUS is an ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence (AI) ma­chine. The UKIPO ac­cep­ted the in­dic­a­tion...
    14 Jun 18
    Vir­tu­al ad­vert­ising enters the game
    31 Jan 20
    A Short Guide: Pri­or­ity En­ti­tle­ment at the EPO
    Art­icle 87 EPC Pri­or­ity right (1) Any per­son who has duly filed, in or for (a) any State party to the Par­is Con­ven­tion for the Pro­tec­tion of In­dus­tri­al Prop­erty or (b) any Mem­ber of the World Trade Or­gan­iz­a­tion,...
    15 Jan 20
    Can newly dis­covered can­nabis com­pounds be pro­tec­ted by pat­ents?
    A break­through dis­cov­ery has re­cently hit the news: tet­rahy­drocan­nabi­phorol (THCP) and can­na­bid­i­phorol (CB­DP), two new can­nabin­oid com­pounds, have been dis­covered in Can­nabis sativa and char­ac­ter­ised...
    20 Dec 19
    ‘Dar­unavir’ CJEU re­fer­ral with­drawn - Art­icle 3(a) of the SPC Reg­u­la­tion
    At the end of Septem­ber, we re­por­ted here on the pub­lic­a­tion of AG Hogan’s Opin­ion on the joint re­fer­rals from the Ger­man Bundes­pat­ent­gericht (case C-650/17) for Mer­ck’s sitaglipt­in product and from...
    17 Dec 19
    The rise of pat­ent wars in Europe’s gene ther­apy space
    The gene ther­apy in­dustry is in an ex­cit­ing phase of growth, un­der­go­ing sig­ni­fic­ant M&A activ­ity, product sales and new mar­ket­ing au­thor­isa­tions that are be­ing is­sued with in­creas­ing reg­u­lar­ity glob­ally....
    21 Oct 19
    AG Opin­ion in SkyKick: Guid­ance on the re­quire­ment for clar­ity and...
    Sum­mary The eagerly awaited Ad­voc­ate Gen­er­al Opin­ion in the SkyKick case (C-317/18) was pub­lished last week. The Opin­ion from AG Tanchev relates to ques­tions re­ferred to the CJEU by the UK High Court...
    18 Oct 19
    Re­vised Rules of Pro­ced­ure of the European Pat­ent Of­fice Boards of...
    The Rules of Pro­ced­ure of the Boards of Ap­peal are the rules that gov­ern the way ap­peals are con­duc­ted at the European Pat­ent Of­fice (EPO). The EPO has re­cently ap­proved changes to these rules, which...
    08 Oct 19
    EU copy­right in designs - CJEU rule in Cofemel that ‘ori­gin­al­ity’...
    On 12 Septem­ber 2019, the Court of Justice of the European Uni­on (‘CJEU’) de­livered its judg­ment in the case of Cofemel, C-683/17 con­cern­ing copy­right in designs. In a rul­ing that will be wel­comed...
    13 Sep 19
    SPC Double Whammy - In­ter­pret­ing Art­icle 3(a) of the SPC Reg­u­la­tion
    Sum­mary At the end of June, the CJEU heard the joint re­fer­rals from the Ger­man Bundes­pat­ent­gericht (case C-650/17) for Mer­ck’s sitaglipt­in product and from the Eng­lish Court of Ap­peal for Searle’s...
    14 Jun 19
    The EUIPO de­liv­ers its ver­dict on the long­stand­ing dis­pute between...
    EUTM Can­cel­la­tion Ac­tion: (1) Pro­mote Ice­land, (2) The Iceland­ic Min­istry for For­eign Af­fairs and (3) SA – Busi­ness Ice­land v. Ice­land Foods Lim­ited. Back­ground Three Iceland­ic au­thor­it­ies (“Iceland­ic...