2nd place: Olswang
3rd place: White & Case
Shortlisted: Baker & McKenzie, Bristows, Rowe & Maw
The winner of the Media/IP & IT Team of the Year Award, sponsored by Elite, is Theodore Goddard for advising the British Horseracing Board (BHB) against bookmaker William Hill, the first case to come to trial in which the Copyright and Rights in Databases Regulations 1997 have been invoked.
BHB claimed William Hill was infringing its database rights by using it for its online offering. The case was critical to the racing industry; following the abolition of the betting levy, BHB submitted a proposal on the future financing of the industry, underpinned by the assumption that BHB’s racing information database, which was being used by an increasing number of bookmakers moving online, was protectable under the database right, and therefore a potential new source of revenue.
Although the dispute is not over, Theodore Goddard’s work on the case broke new ground. Mr Justice Laddie ruled in favour of BHB – a judgment which suggests that an owner of a database has entire control of its contents. It may give an element of comfort to other sporting bodies that compile information. The nimbleness of Hamish Porter’s team should also be noted; it managed to get the whole case to trial in less than nine months.
Olswang takes second place for advising Dyson Appliances on bringing patent infringement proceedings against Hoover. When Hoover launched Vortex, its first bagless vacuum cleaner, Dyson claimed infringement of its technology. Dyson head of legal Martin Bowen instructed an Olswang team led by Andrew Inglis, which eventually triumphed.
White & Case takes third place for its work advising L’Oréal on a multijurisdictional dispute against Johnson & Johnson regarding its ‘No More Tears’ trademark. As a result of the case, the High Court established new law in the area of unjustified threats of trademark infringement.
2nd place: Olswang