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IP boutique Powell Gilbert has snared the lead role on an ongoing patent battle between telecoms companies Aerotel and WaveCrest Group Enterprises, drawing the instruction away from Bristows.
Bristows had been handling the case for Aerotel, which reached the Court of Appeal last year. But the lead partner on the case Simon Ayrton was one of five partners who split from Bristows to form Powell Gilbert in early March.
Last year the Court of Appeal ruled that Aerotel's patent on international phone cards was not a patent for a business method and is therefore allowed under UK law.
Aerotel has since launched a claim in the High Court against wholesale voice carrier WaveCrest, which it has accused of using its patent without paying royalties.
Ayrton said: "Aerotel got a lot of attention because it set the case law on business methods. We got over that hurdle in the Court of Appeal and are now running to trial in November."
Aerotel's patent concerns the selling of cheap long-distance calls using a code and a phone card. Henry Carr QC of 11 South Square and Andrew Lykiardopoulus of 8 New Square are Aerotel's counsel.
Mayer Brown Rowe & Maw IP partner Ian Wood is advising WaveCrest. He has instructed Ian Purvis QC of 11 South Square.