Pinsents wins place on Sema legal panel

Pinsent Curtis has secured a place on the panel of IT giant Sema as sole adviser on global trademark issues.

The FTSE-100 company has spent the past six months overhauling its legal provision.

The process saw its panel slashed from 15 firms to one main adviser (The Lawyer, 31 January).

The national practice was one of the firms that bid to become sole adviser but lost out to IT specialist Bird & Bird.

But the firm continued working on a probationary basis for the group. It has now been officially appointed to deal with all intellectual property work full time.

National head of commerce, trade and technology Stephen Chandler says his personal relationship with Sema’s chief legal counsel Nick Deeming meant the group was happy to use the firm on a trial basis.

He says: “We acted for them from time to time in the past and then they had a new legal director who I know.

“But we had to satisfy Sema we were capable of doing the work.”

Pinsents will manage Sema’s trademark portfolio internationally as well as advising on other IP interests.

Chandler is unable to comment on how much the account will be worth although UK-based Sema has a market capitalisation of £4.9bn.

But he adds that the win is a major coup for the firm. “On the trademark side [the account] is extremely important and on the general IP side I expect it to be pretty important too,” he says.

Chandler, who is based in the Leeds office, adds that he is recruiting more people into London to bolster the firm’s national IP coverage.

Deeming confirms Pinsents’ appointment and adds that the group’s relationship with 18-partner Withers & Rogers will be coming to an end.