Williams Powell

Highlighting best practice as a representative in The Parliamentary Review

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Williams Powell is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.


Highlighting best practice
Partner Robert Jehan
Based in central London, Williams Powell is a boutique London
firm of British and European patent and trademark attorneys
dedicated to providing excellent advice and support to
their clients, in developing valuable IP portfolios and ensuring
that their clients can trade free of infringement of competitors’
rights. The firm’s patent and trademark attorneys are all dual
qualified to practise in the United Kingdom and in Europe.
Partners Robert Jehan, Ian Tollett, Jonathan Exell, Katherine Ellis
and David Grainger discuss the future of intellectual property
law, while expanding on the firm’s recent work.
Intellectual property rights are only truly effective if they add value to the
organisation that owns them. For this, it is important that intellectual property
rights are tied closely to the current commercial position and future aspirations of
the organisation, whether this is a multinational corporation, a small or medium-
sized company, a research establishment or a private individual. Not only must
intellectual property rights protect current commercial activities, but they must
also look beyond those, in order to safeguard the future intended activities and
directions of the organisation and to create a barrier to competitors.
In order to achieve this, it is necessary for the patent and trademark attorney to
understand the client’s business, to have an excellent knowledge of the law and to
work diligently with the client to obtain the best protection and commercial outcome
possible. As well as being experts in the relevant laws, it is important to have a bold
and creative approach as to how to apply the laws, because innovative companies
push the known boundaries in technology and trade and as a consequence good
patent and trademark attorneys must do likewise to protect these innovations.
At Williams Powell we achieve this through constant professional improvement and
also in choosing to be expert in complex areas of the law as well as in litigation
practice, all while maintaining a close focus on the needs of any particular client.
These needs differ for multinational companies, small or medium-sized companies,
start-ups, universities and research establishments, as well as private individuals.
Many of Williams Powell’s clients have achieved considerable commercial success
with the benefit of strong intellectual property portfolios.
We maintain a flexible approach when dealing with clients, reflecting their
individual needs and ensuring that at each stage every client receives the
appropriate advice and service. As well as maintaining a close commercial eye,
litigation is becoming an ever-increasing factor in intellectual property, not only
in the United Kingdom but also in Europe and further afield. Williams Powell has
qualified litigators and is one of just a handful of UK-registered patent attorney
advocates. It has considerable experience and success in litigating in the UK as well
as abroad, including in the United States, China and elsewhere.
»Partners: Robert Jehan,
Ian Tollett, Jonathan Exell,
Katherine Ellis and David
»Established in 1963
»Based in London
»Services: Legal services in
obtaining intellectual property
rights including patents,
trademarks and designs; in
building effective and valuable
IP portfolios and in enforcing
clients’ rights against infringers
through litigation in the
United Kingdom, Europe and
elsewhere and also through
negotiation and alternative
dispute resolution
Williams Powell
Future outlook for intellectual
property law
By necessity, intellectual property
laws must adapt continuously in
order to keep up with technical and
legal developments. A significant
advantage of our profession is the
close co-operation between patent
and trademark professionals and
intellectual property courts across the
world, resulting in constant moves to
harmonise laws and practices in most
countries. A recent example of this has
been the America Invents Act, which
brought US patent law more into line
with that of Europe and the rest of the
world. There are continued attempts
to have a Unitary Patent across Europe
and a Unified Patent Court in which
unitary patents can be litigated.
The United Kingdom has for a very
long time had the enviable position of
being at the forefront of developments
in intellectual property laws. Our
government and supporting legal
services should strive to maintain this
position as it can be of significant
benefit to the United Kingdom, not
only now but also in the future. Our
courts and also our parliament have
often been innovators in intellectual
property laws, something that should
not be forgotten. In the late 1980s the
United Kingdom transformed copyright
law and many of the concepts of that
law change have been adopted by
the governments of other countries,
particularly in Europe.
There are continuing challenges,
most recently in the film and music
industries where copying by illegal
downloading results in significant
losses to these industries throughout
the world. Currently these industries
are seeking technical solutions to stem
their losses, but ultimately, they need
to be protected by enhanced legal
provisions. The United Kingdom, with
its strong parliamentary mechanisms
and strong judiciary, is ideally placed
to conceive of and implement updated
legal frameworks that could assist
these industries and lead to global
For decades now our profession has
been very closely tied to the European
Union, particularly in connection with
community trademarks and community
registered designs. More recently,
although not yet implemented,
there have been moves to adopt the
Unitary Patent and Unified Patent
Court effective within the European
Union countries. While Brexit will
have consequences in this regard,
our profession is uniquely positioned
to survive and benefit from the
changes, and with foresight and
support we can make the most of the
For instance, the intended forthcoming
Unitary Patent and Unified Patent
Court could remain effective in
the United Kingdom with goodwill
on all sides, which currently
seems to exist. As for community
trademarks and designs, this will be
a matter for negotiation with the
European Commission. Hopefully
our government and the European
Commission will not lose sight of the
fact that any hard bargain will only
harm the very users and consumers
they ought to be protecting.
Our partners: Robert
Jehan, Ian Tollett,
Jonathan Exell, Katherine
Ellis and David Grainger
property rights
are only truly
effective if they
add value to the
organisation that
owns them


This article was sponsored by Williams Powell. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it.