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A Seat in IP Disputes

16 May 2023

The Intellectual Property Disputes team is a great seat option for Trainees at Lewis Silkin. This LPG forms part of the larger Intellectual Property Legal Practice Group (LPG), which also includes the firm’s Trade Mark and Patent practices. I sat in the Intellectual Property (IP) LPG for six months during my third seat.

What type of work do the Intellectual Property LPG do?

The IP LPG cover all types of intellectual property (“IP”) rights including copyright, trade marks, design rights, and patents. The IP Disputes team mostly focus on the contentious side of IP, where there has been an alleged infringement of someone’s IP rights. This doesn’t necessarily mean you will always be preparing cases for trial, as often we begin working on matters from the very beginning. This can include protecting our client’s IP rights by monitoring for potential infringements.

The IP Disputes team do not exclusively work on IP matters, the team also cover media and regulatory matters.

You can often be working on several cases, all at different stages involving different IP rights, you get to experience a lot during six months. You’ll also get to work with different types of clients across several industries including retail, hospitality and advertising.

Training sessions

As a Trainee in the team we are given a series of training sessions to help develop our knowledge. This includes a session on each of the IP rights, each led by a different member of the team. These sessions are a great introduction to each of the IP rights, and give you a good basis for getting involved with cases. The team also attend monthly knowledge sessions to keep up to date on developments in the law. One of these focuses on recent IP updates and cases, and the other on general dispute updates and cases.

Typical Trainee tasks

Based on my six months in the team, the typical tasks you can expect to be involved with included:

(1) Gathering evidence of infringements. We were often asked by clients to investigate infringements before sending a cease and desist letter. This can involve either searching online or in person for evidence of an infringement. As a Trainee you may be asked to gather evidence, and monitor whether an alleged infringer has stopped the infringing acts.

(2) Drafting cease and desist letters. As a Trainee, you will be tasked with drafting cease and desist letters. These letters set out our client’s rights, how their rights have been infringed, and explain the potential consequences if the infringer continues to infringe our client’s IP rights.

(3) Assisting with preparing court documents. Trainees are able to assist with preparing documents at all stages of the litigation process. During my seat I helped prepare statements of case, draft orders, and applications to the court.

(4) Bundling. One of the main Trainee tasks is bundling documents and preparing indexes of these documents. This is most often for a hearing, but Trainees also prepare smaller bundles such as exhibits for witness statements or correspondence bundles.

(5) Assisting with settlement negotiations. Often IP cases will settle before it gets to the final hearing, so you may be able to assist with drafting settlement offer letters and settlement agreements, or contributing to the strategy for negotiating settlement.

(6) Attending hearings. Whilst it‘s not guaranteed during your six month seat, you may be able to attend court hearings. I attended one hearing during my seat, which was really interesting to watch and is a great opportunity to learn more about court procedure.

I really enjoyed my time in the IP LPG, particularly getting to work with interesting clients and being given the opportunity to get involved with the strategy of a case.

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