Surrounded by creativity and innovation

Everything new starts out as an idea, but to make an impact, those ideas need to be developed into something more tangible (e.g. a product, a process or a solution), protected and – generally – commercialised, as do the brands associated with them. We can support you at every stage of that process.

You may be looking to exploit your own intellectual property (IP) rights to deliver value for your business. Alternatively, you may wish to utilise the IP rights of a third party. You may want to collaborate with another organisation to pool expertise or resources in order to secure a competitive advantage. In all these cases, the agreement between you and your counterparty (or counterparties), alongside any related registrations, will be critical to ensuring that your interests are protected and that you capitalise on the opportunities available.

At Foot Anstey, we treat IP agreements as a specialism within their own right, allowing us to offer expertise which is virtually unrivalled outside top city firms. Our specialists have a rare combination of technical IP knowledge alongside the pragmatism and specialist drafting and negotiation skills of commercial contracts lawyers.

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Our services

Collaboration Agreements

Creative innovation often involves working in partnership with others, and we are also seeing an increase in the use of contractual collaborations as a tool to open new doors for existing businesses – for example, to expand into a new field, adopt a new sales channel, reach a new audience, reinvigorate a brand or simply deliver efficiencies. Whatever form they may take, collaborations are about working effectively with others to explore new opportunities and deliver commercial and other benefits to all involved.

 As well as collaborations between commercial organisations, we have plenty of experience advising on collaborations with universities and other academic institutions.

Our team can support you with any form of IP-related collaboration, including:

  • Research and development collaborations (both commercial and academic)
  • Complex multi-party collaborations
  • Brand collaborations
  • Advertising/ social media/ influencer collaborations
  • Advising on IP issues arising within corporate joint ventures

IP Development Agreements

Engaging another organisation to develop IP on your behalf is ultimately a supply of services arrangement – albeit one with very particular IP related risks and opportunities requiring specialist input. As a customer of IP development services, the most important function of the services agreement will be to secure the rights to IP that you are expecting. As a supplier, you will want to ensure that you don’t inadvertently hand over or compromise the ‘crown jewels’ of your business along with any deliverables you create for the customer.

Contractual norms and standard market positions vary depending on the circumstances and nature of the IP being developed. Our IP agreements team have a wealth of experience in drafting and negotiating these sorts of agreements across a range of sectors and can help you navigate the process and secure the protection you need.

Examples of the sorts of IP development agreements we regularly advise on include:

  • Research and development services agreements (both commercial and academic)
  • Design services agreements
  • Software development agreements
  • Website/ app development agreements
  • Commissioning agreements (e.g. art, photography, music etc.)
  • Freelancer/ consultancy agreements

IP Licences

IP licensing involves a rightsholder granting another party the right to use its IP rights in some way, whilst retaining ownership of those IP rights. Most IP related agreements involve some form of licensing arrangement – and they can even be a useful way to settle infringement disputes.

Whether you are looking to exploit your own IP rights or secure the ability to use those belonging to another, our specialists can help. We draft and negotiate licences involving any and all forms of IP rights, and we understand the different issues and considerations that arise in each context and in different industries.

Examples of IP licensing arrangements we can support you with include:

  • Licences of IP rights (including trade marks, patents, know-how, copyright, design rights, data and databases)
  • Merchandising agreements
  • Software licences
  • Intra-group licences of IP rights (ensuring that all companies within a group have the necessary rights to use the IP rights they need)
  • IP licensing in the context of collaborations and joint ventures (see ‘Collaboration agreements’ section below)
  • IP licensing in the context of a corporate transaction (business acquisition or divestment whether on a long term or transitional basis)
  • IP licensing in the context of a manufacturing arrangement
  • IP licensing as part of settlement of an infringement claim
  • Cross-licensing arrangements (where two or more parties each grant a licence to use their IP rights)
  • Sponsorship agreements

IP Ownership and Assignments

Our team frequently advise on IP ownership issues, whether stand-alone queries or issues arising as part of a wider project (e.g., a collaboration or corporate transaction).

Examples of how we can support you include:

  • Advising on the current ownership of IP rights, including chain of title reviews
  • Preparing and negotiating any documentation needed to give effect to a change in ownership of IP rights
  • Reviewing and advising on the ownership of IP rights within a company group structure, including intra-group assignments of IP as part of ownership reorganisations and related licensing arrangements – we have particular experience of this within the charities sector
  • Advising on ownership of IP rights commissioned from a third party (see ‘IP development agreements’ section below)

Why choose Foot Anstey?

Each member of our team is passionate about what they do and driven by a genuine desire to help our clients fulfil the potential of their ideas, bring projects to fruition and realise value from IP (whether theirs or another’s).

We understand that the relationships with the third parties that you contract with can form the basis of successful deals and projects, and our approach reflects this – we will not only support you with reaching a satisfactory agreement, but will do so in a way that contributes to the positive development of the relationships you seek to build.

We advise on IP ownership and agreements across a huge range of industries and sectors, allowing us to apply lessons learnt from one industry to the issues our clients face in another. However, we have particular experience advising on IP issues within the retail, energy, media, technology and charities sectors, in the context of corporate transactions (business acquisitions, share sales, divestments, investments etc.) and agreements with universities.

IP-related agreements often need to take effect on a multi-jurisdictional or global basis and we can support on licensing deals relating to the UK and beyond, calling on our network of overseas partner law firms for expert local advice wherever needed.

Our specialist trade mark lawyers are located across the UK in our many offices including in Bristol, Exeter, London, Plymouth, Manchester and Southampton.

Our people

Our team, led by renowned IP specialist Paul Cox, will understand what you are trying to achieve and then will advise on the best and most cost effective solutions to enable you to maximize the value and achieve your commercial objectives. Paul has also been admitted into the Legal 500 Hall of Fame for Intellectual Property (South East).

Meet our team
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Key contacts

What do our clients say?

The Foot Anstey team are skilled at understanding and responding to often complex technical requests made of them… They are the most agile and responsive partner we work with, consistently providing a high quality, professional and integrated service to us.

UWE Bristol

Showing a pragmatism and a can do attitude, their specialists are always quick to understand our key priorities and concerns and develop creative solutions to address them.

International Charity


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