News & Insights



06/03/2007 15:20:00

Long-awaited, 5-partner intellectual property boutique, Powell Gilbert LLP, opens for business today appropriately based in the newly-converted former Patent Office building in the heart of legal London. Founded by 5 experienced and highly-regarded IP specialists, Tim Powell, Penny Gilbert, Simon Ayrton, Zoё Butler and Alex Wilson, all former partners at Bristows, Powell Gilbert is dedicated to serving knowledge, technology and brands-based industries.

Joining the firm from the very start will be 5 associates, Becky Lawrence, Rob Fitt, Tim Whitfield, Gillian Johnson and Bethan Hopewell, all of whom also previously worked at Bristows. Supporting the lawyers will be Sally Periam and Jo Woods, both of whom have worked with the team before, together with Pauline Oliver.

Whilst clearly focused on litigation and dispute resolution, Powell Gilbert will also offer counselling and advice on IP issues generally, including freedom to operate and IP due diligence, lifecycle management, and anti-counterfeiting and parallel import strategies. All 10 partners and associates have technical backgrounds, giving Powell Gilbert a key advantage in this specialist field which so often requires a combination of legal and scientific skills. All of the partners are qualified solicitor- advocates and Penny Gilbert is also a trained mediator.

Between them, the members of Powell Gilbert have been involved in some of the most complex and important IP litigation of the past decade. Former clients of the team include household names in industries ranging from the consumer, fashion and luxury goods sectors to electronics and information technology, as well as major players in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology fields, and many of these clients have instructed Powell Gilbert.

Celebrating the launch of the new firm, Tim Powell said today, "It’s been rather a long time before we were allowed to open our doors. However, we are looking forward enormously to creating an entirely new kind of law firm offering a focused, quality-driven service to many fascinating new and old clients in an inclusive and transparent working-environment."

Penny Gilbert commented, "We are delighted to have a superb, hard working team of specialist lawyers who share our vision for an IP-focused firm. We are grateful to them and to all of the clients who have supported us in this new venture and entrusted us with their work. During 2007, Powell Gilbert is already scheduled to act in a number of significant, high-profile cases before the UK Patents Court, and in an appeal to the House of Lords. We’re off to a tremendous start."

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Tim Powell

Tim is "recognised for his litigation expertise, particularly complex patent disputes with an international flavour. Also increasingly involved in related regulatory matters." [PLC which Lawyer? Yearbook 2006]. Tim has been involved in some of the largest intellectual property cases before the UK courts and is a member of the international AIPPI and the European Patent Lawyers’ Association (EPLAW). Tim Powell and Penny Gilbert were both recognised as "selected specialist individuals" in the biotechnology field by the Managing Intellectual Property World IP Survey 2006.

Penny Gilbert

With an MA in biochemistry and a DPhil in molecular biology, Penny has a "strong science background. Popular with biotech companies for patent disputes. Highly-rated IP sector specialist with broad expertise, but best noted for multi-jurisdictional patent litigation and strategising for drug and biotech clients." [PLC Which Lawyer? Yearbook 2006]. Penny led Bristows’ "outstandingly strong" [Legal 500 2005] biopharma practice of 15 partners and 20 associates. As well as extensive experience in the UK courts, Penny has represented clients in Europe Patent Office (EPO) opposition proceedings. She also teaches patent litigation at Bristol University, regularly writes and lectures on patent law issues and is also a member of AIPPI.

Simon Ayrton

Often drawing on his technical background, Simon has a broad expertise advising clients in a wide variety of industries from pharmaceutical to fashion and luxury goods. In addition to heavyweight technical litigation, he has acted in a range of high profile anti-counterfeiting, parallel import and repackaging matters, which have included applications for interim injunctions, asset freezing orders and search orders. "A ‘considered, cautious’ lawyer, clients say that if you want ‘an answer you know will have been thought about a great deal’, often with a creative spin, Simon’s your man." [Chambers & Partners]. Simon is also a member of the AIPPI and PTMG, and teaches patent litigation at Bristol University.

Zoë Butler

Zoё is an experienced IP litigator having advised clients across industry sectors, from biotech to IT, and in relation to the range of IP rights. She is particularly known for her expertise in complex disputes, often with a multi-jurisdictional dimension. Zoё has experience of litigation before the UK High Court, Court of Appeal and proceedings before the UK Patent Office, EPO and UK Trade Marks Registry. She has coordinated parallel litigation in numerous European jurisdictions, Japan and the US, and was seconded to the IP/ICT group of a leading Dutch law firm in 2003. Zoë is a member of AIPPI and EPLAW, a contributor to the CIPA Guide and teaches patent litigation at Bristol University. Zoë was shortlisted for Best Contribution to Copyright Litigation in the WORLDleaders: The European IP Awards 2004.

Alex Wilson

Alex operates in the medical devices and telecoms sectors and has represented clients in IP disputes in the UK Courts and in the European Patent Office, where he previously worked as an examiner. He has also acted in resolving disputes involving technologies as diverse as explosives and snoring remedies. "His fluency in various languages, combines with first-hand experience of working in Germany, France and the Netherlands, means that he is ideally placed to assist clients with an interest in these jurisdictions." [Chambers & Partners 2007]