Geodfrey Pritchard

Geoffrey Pritchard

Called to the bar 1998 Junior

Summary

Geoffrey is a highly regarded senior junior with a practice covering all aspects of intellectual property and information technology. He has a first class degree physics and PhD in theoretical geophysics. His practice is split 50:50 between high-tech cases (e.g. patents, confidential information and technically related contracts) and “soft” IP cases (i.e. trade marks, passing-off, copyright and designs). Geoffrey appears in the Court of Appeal, High Court/Patents Court, Intellectual Property Enterprise Court (Patents County Court), the patent offices, arbitrations and mediations. In recent years he has often appeared without a leader and has extensive experience of conducting trials, cross-examination (particularly of expert witnesses) and applications for urgent interim relief. Geoffrey was a pupil at 3 New Square to (the now) Mr. Justice Birss and Denise McFarland. Geoffrey’s former pupils include Jeremy Heald, Stuart Baran and Katherine Moggridge. He is listed regularly in both the Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners. He is a contributing author to the CIPA Guide to the Patents Act and the Community Designs Handbook.

A brief overview of Geoffrey’s practice is set out below. The clerks will be happy to provide further details.

Patents, IT and High-Tech Cases

Geoffrey has a substantial scientific background and is often instructed in highly technical disputes. He has experience in fields as diverse as physics, polymers, computational mathematics, computer software, mobile-telecoms, electronics, pharmaceuticals, bio-medical devices, chemistry, exploration geophysics, scientific apparatus, and mechanical/automotive engineering. Geoffrey’s high-tech practice is split approximately 70:30 between disputes involving electronics, software and the physical sciences and disputes involving pharmaceuticals and the medical sciences.

EXAMPLES:

  • Mobile phones: Geoffrey has more than 8 years experience in mobile-telecoms disputes and has acted for clients such as Qualcomm, Access, NEC, RIM, InterDigital and IPCOM. Recently, he was instructed by a multinational technology corporation in an LCIA arbitration relating to the ETSI standards. Geoffrey appeared alone in front of a panel including Lord Hoffmann, and against a leading IP silk and a competition junior.
  • Pharmaceuticals/Medical Sciences: Geoffrey has a busy pharmaceutical and medical science practice, acting for companies such as GSK, Bayer and Abbott. He also has considerable experience of cases involving high-tech wound-dressings (acting for companies such as Convatec and Comvita), scientific testing apparatus and anasthetic devices.
  • Electronics and Computer Software: Prior to coming to the Bar, Geoffrey had post-graduate level experience in computer programming and computational mathematics and he is instructed regularly in copyright and confidential information cases involving complex computer software. He has worked on cases involving Java, Visual Basic, C, Fortran and Assembler. Geoffrey has also been instructed on cases involving electronics and electrical devices. He has acted in a number of cases where the patentability of software was in issue.
  • Electromagnetism: Geoffrey’s PhD relates to electromagnetism and he has acted in a number of cases where electromagntic induction has been the key technical issue. (e.g. EMGS v Schlumberger and SDL Hair v Next Row).
  • Mechanical and Automotive Engineering: Geoffrey has acted in numerous cases involving mechanical devices with subject matter as diverse as spring loaded car nets, reclineable car seats, lift doors, engine lubrication and swivelable lighting poles.

Geoffrey is a contributing author to the CIPA Guide to the Patents Act.

Trade Marks, Designs, Passing-Off and Copyright

About a half of Geoffrey’s practice is in soft-IP. He is instructed in cases relating to trademarks, passing-off, copyright and designs and acts for both large brand owners (e.g. Cartier, Monsoon, Rolex, Jaguar) and SMEs. A large proportion of Geoffrey’s soft-IP cases relate to European rights (e.g. community trade marks and community designs) and he has recent experience of complex cross-border enforcement and EU competition issues. Geoffrey also has a great deal of experience of interim relief applications, counterfeiting, online enforcement, internet domain names and franchising matters. In addition to appearing in the Courts, Geoffrey also appears in the patent offices particularly in opposition hearings. Geoffrey is a contributing author to the Community Designs Handbook.

Confidential Information, Contract and Non-IP Cases

Due to his technical background Geoffrey is often instructed in non-IP cases that involve complex technical issues. In the last two years he has been instructed in matters such as a breach of contract relating to the supply of telephones, misuse of confidential concerning medical devices, misuse of confidential information concerning computer software, misuse of confidential information in engineering drawings, breach of employment contract by reason of taking technical information, and the ownership of copyright in software in a case concerning the dismissal of a company director of a large IT company. Geoffrey has extensive experience of obtaining interim relief in breach of confidence cases (including on an ex-parte basis).

Intellectual Property Enterprise Court/Patents County Court

Geoffrey has a very busy practice in the IPEC/PCC, where he is regularly instructed in patent, trademark and design right cases (and other in matters with a technical aspect). In 2013/2012, in addition to many matters that settled, Geoffrey had sole conduct of three patent trials, a contract trial and a design right trial (SDL Hair v Next Row [2013] EWPCC 31, Scopema v Scot Seat [2013] EWPCC 32, Azzuri Communications v SOS [2013] EWPCC 22, Louver-Lite v Harris Parts [2012] EWPCC 53 and BOS v Cobra [2012] EWPCC 44). In the IPEC Geoffrey is frequently instructed directly by Patent and Trade Mark Attorneys.

Damages and Accounts

Geoffrey has experience of two enquiries as to damages, one of which went to trial (the other matter is pending trial).

Arbitrations and Mediations

The nature of Geoffrey’s practice means that he appears more frequently in Court than in arbitrations. However he has conducted litigation in the LCIA, most notably in 2010 when he had sole conduct of an LCIA arbitration for a multinational technology corporation. Geoffrey appeared in front of a panel including Lord Hoffmann, against a leading IP silk and a competition junior. Geoffrey advises in relation to, and has appeared in, mediations. He has previously acted as an ACID mediator.

Patent Office Hearings

Geoffrey appears frequently in the patent office in relation to both trademark and patent matters. In addition to opposition hearings, his 2013 appearances include a fully contested revocation action with cross-examination.

Advisory Work

In addition to pleading, court and patent office work, Geoffrey is can advise in all aspects of IP law. He is also available, on request, to give talks, seminars and classes.

Education

CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY
PhD Geophysics (Institute of Theoretical Geophysics)
Shell Scholar in Geophysics
J. T. Knight Prize in Mathematics

BRISTOL UNIVERSITY
BSc Physics (1st Class)

INNS OF COURT SCHOOL OF LAW
Stanley Levy Prize for Intellectual property
First in year in International Trade exam
Queen Mother Scholarship of the Middle Temple

DE MONTFORT UNIVERSITY
Dip. Law (distinction, second in year)
Queen Mother Scholarship of the Middle Temple

Professional Memberships

Intellectual Property Bar Association; Chancery Bar Association. Middle Temple

Personal

Keen (but frustrated) pianist and hill walker

“A very good senior junior.”

Chambers & Partners 2014

“Very able on technical matters….incredibly user-friendly.”

Chambers & Partners 2011

“A highly regarded practitioner … known for his expertise in technically complex patent disputes, particularly those relating to mobile telecoms.”

Chambers & Partners 2012
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“He has good judgment … a real worker who truly gets stuck into a case.”

Chambers & Partners 2012

“An accomplished junior credited by sources for his intellectual and technical skill.”

Chambers & Partners 2014

“Excellent attention to detail.”

Legal 500, 2012-2013