Boost to Herbert Smith Freehills’ Leading Global IP Practice

Herbert Smith Freehills’ global IP practice has cemented its leading position with the lateral appointment of IP partner Rebekah Gay in its Sydney office and the secondment of London-based partner Joel Smith to Australia, supporting the team across the IP group, including IP disputes, IP corporate and trade marks on cross-border matters.

The practice, which is led globally by London partner Mark Shillito and in Australia by Sydney partner Sue Gilchrist, currently includes 13 partners and 55 associates, who are located across the firm’s international network and routinely undertake work for both local and international clients.

Rebekah will be re-joining the firm’s IP group, where she trained earlier in her career. Prior to re-joining Herbert Smith Freehills, Rebekah has been a partner for seven years at an Australian law firm which specialises in intellectual property, working closely with its associated Patent Attorney Firm. Rebekah has built a strong practice in all areas of IP litigation with a focus on patent litigation, including pharmaceutical patents utilising her Science/Law qualifications.

Joel Smith, London-based dispute resolution partner and IP specialist, will be relocating to the firm’s Sydney office in December on secondment. His practice combines heavyweight contentious and non-contentious IP issues, including advice on protecting rights, licensing and disputes. This move is designed to promote mobility in the partnership and assist integration and globalisation of the practice, which has already seen a number of disputes partners move to different regions.

Herbert Smith Freehills’ intellectual property group is widely acknowledged for the strength and depth of its full range of intellectual property law services, both contentious and non-contentious, including in the fields of patents, trade marks, copyright, designs and databases. The practice is active in many sectors, particularly life sciences and healthcare, TMT and consumer products, retail and energy.

The team has particular experience in successfully managing and coordinating multijurisdictional disputes when key IP rights are litigated in parallel proceedings in separate countries. Current high profile examples include acting for Apple in Australia in the Apple v Samsung patent and design litigation relating to tablets and smartphones (the largest ever patent case in Australia); advising IKOS in defence of proceedings brought by Martin Coward over ownership of the IP in its algorithmic trading software; acting for Unilever in relation to proceedings it has brought in the UK for infringement of its patent rights on liquid laundry capsules; and acting for Apotex in multiple Australian patent cases.

Sue Gilchrist, head of Herbert Smith Freehills’ IP practice in Australia commented: “We look forward to welcoming Rebekah to our practice and working with Joel even more closely during his secondment with us. These appointments reflect the strength of our global IP practice, and will grow our capacity to advise our clients on strategic global IP disputes and transactions.”

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