Awards preview: media/ip/it team of the year
14 June 2004
Allen & Overy and DLA
Allen & Overy and DLA offered an unprecedented dual-firm team to advise the Government on its National Programme for IT in the NHS. The two IT groups led by A&O’s Lawrence Jacobs and DLA’s Richard Bonnar had pioneered this approach on projects with Barclays and were confident that they could repeat that on the world’s largest civil IT project. The timetable for the project, set by the director general for NHS IT, was seen by many as unrealistic, but it was a timetable that the two firms nevertheless met. In the process, A&O and DLA defined a new set of standards for Government IT procurements.
Bird & Bird
Bird & Bird is shortlisted for its resounding win on behalf of client Mattel in an IP battle with German company Simba Toys. The dispute over Mattel’s ‘My Scene’ dolls saw the first-ever application of the new community design right within Europe. The Bird & Bird team, led by partner Morag Macdonald, established that Simba had infringed Mattel’s unregistered community design with its ‘My Style’ dolls by both copying and selling their dolls in the EU and breaching copyright laws in the UK. In October, Mr Justice Laddie ordered Simba to stop making and selling the dolls in the EU and ordered it to pay Mattel interim costs of £450,000.
Denton Wilde Sapte
Few sports disputes made as many headlines as those concerning the positive doping test for the banned steroid nandrolone by the UK’s number two tennis player Greg Rusedski. Against a backdrop of failed tests by Olympic athletes and their consequent lengthy bans, and the equally high-profile missed doping test by the Manchester United footballer Rio Ferdinand, Rusedski’s chances looked slim at best. Enter the UK’s leading legal expert on doping, Denton Wilde Sapte partner Mark Gay. Gay led the team that represented Rusedski in his appeal before an Association of Tennis Professionals anti-doping tribunal, which concluded unanimously and unequivocally that he was not guilty of a doping offence.
The BACSTEL-IP project was one of the most sensitive of the year, dealing as it did with the migration of salary payments online. Lovells was instructed specifically because of its expertise in internet security in financial services. The firm’s client, BACS, is one of the world’s largest automated clearing houses, and the BACSTEL-IP project represented the largest single use of digital signatures for payment in the world. The main challenge for Lovells’ partners Paul Anning and Conor Ward was to understand and advise on how the introduction of internet-based technologies would change the risk profile of the payment and clearing system, and how those risks should be apportioned and managed.
Top Up TV (TUTV) was the first new pay television platform in the UK for several years. It emerged from the wreckage of ITV Digital, which collapsed in April 2002, with former Sky executives David Chance and Ian West at its head. An add-on to the basic Freeview digital terrestrial television service with an initial 10 channels, the new platform required a complex set of interlocking technology and the rights-based and regulatory arrangements necessary to create a parasitic pay television service. The Olswang team, led by partner David Zeffman, also advised on private equity funding from a US fund, carriage agreements and a licence of conditional access (encryption) technology and services.
The £4bn Aspire project (acquiring strategic partners for the Inland Revenue) was among the most significant outsourcings of the last 12 months. For US firm Shaw Pittman to scoop a project of this scale from such a prestigious government body provided strong vindication of the merits of its UK model. It involved a two-year competitive tender resulting in Capgemini replacing the incumbents (Accenture and EDS) as the Inland Revenue’s strategic partner. As a second generation outsourcing the deal was particularly complex and a key challenge for the team, which was led by London managing partner Alistair Maughan. The deal was aimed at ensuring a level playing field existed between competing bidders, which also included the incumbents.