Marks & Clerk Solicitors

Specialist IP firm Marks & Clerk Solicitors may be small, but it is proving more than able to compete with the larger City players.


Mark Blair
Mark Blair

Associated with Marks & Clerk LLP (a separate firm of patent and trademark attorneys), Marks & Clerk Solicitors has recently undergone a significant phase of expansion with the appointment this year of William Cook, a former Simmons & Simmons equity partner and IP dispute resolution specialist. Cook brought with him work from Virgin Media, SanDisk and Nokia Siemens Network, helping the firm to ­bolster its already impressive client list.

The team has been boosted further over the past three months by the recruitment of four associates, bringing the total number of fee-earners to 17. Turnover for the period August 2008 to July 2009 has risen by 33 per cent compared with the same period the previous year and the firm is still in ­expansionist mode. Cook says there will always be room for growth and that further hires are being considered for this financial year.

The firm established a formal association with Hong Kong firm Anthony Evans & Co in 2008, ­looking to tap into the burgeoning Asian IP market. More recently it opened an office in Cambridge, ­aiming to provide a one-stop shop for the IP needs of clients in the region.

With the majority of fee-earners boasting ­scientific backgrounds, the firm excels in technology disputes, in particular patent litigation. Marks & Clerk Solicitors is currently representing ­biotechnology companies Cook Biotech and ­Medimmune in patent disputes in the UK courts.

Cook believes the firm’s success stems from its dedication to maintaining a truly niche practice.

“We don’t try to cross-sell clients wider ­commercial work,” he explains. “Instead we focus on what we do best, which is IP.”

Firm: Marks & Clerk Solicitors

Managing partner:Mark Blair

Turnover:Approximately £5m

Number of equity partners:Three

Number of partners:Six

Number of fee-earners:17

Main practice areas:IP

Key clients:Medimmune, Budjovicky Budvar, Virgin Media, Cook Biotech

Number of offices:Two

Locations: London, ­Cambridge