Bristows wins BSA job after Covington partner quits

The Business Software Alliance (BSA) has chosen Bristows for its UK copyright enforcement work following the first review of its UK legal services.

The BSA called a panel review when its key adviser, of counsel Graham Arthur, left Covington & Burling‘s London office for an in-house IP position at Microsoft earlier this year. Five firms took part in the beauty parade for the work.

Sarah Coombes, BSA director of legal affairs for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (Emea), said: “That was the catalyst – a key lawyer going in-house.

“Bristows was very business savvy and had a very commercial approach. The team had strength and depth.”

The win means an influx of around 150 new files for the IP department at Bristows, as it takes over the BSA’s anti-piracy drive to crack down on companies that use unlicensed software.

Licensing partner Mark Watts is the main client partner for the team, which includes IP partner Brian Cordery.

Cordery said: “It keeps everyone busy. It’s an ongoing anti-piracy programme so there’s a steady flow of work.”

Coombes said Covington remains a key firm for the BSA in the US and Emea regions.

Coombes joined the BSA in 2005 as the group’s first Emea director of legal. Previously she had been an IP partner at Field Fisher Waterhouse.