Online fuels IP team growth

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The ever-growing importance of online channels to businesses and the recognition of the value of intangible assets has led to the continued expansion of the intellectual property (IP) team of a leading Cornish law firm.

Stephens Scown’s intellectual property practice, established just three years ago, has grown rapidly to now include eight specialists – the largest IP team of any law firm in the region.  Most recently, the firm recruited Neil Eagleton as a senior associate from London-based firm Sheridans.

According to Ben Travers, partner and head of intellectual property, the rise of digital channels, e-commerce and the ‘knowledge economy’ in the region is one of the principal reasons behind the growth.

He said: “Every business needs a digital presence now and, as we saw most recently on Black Friday, consumers are ready and willing to do huge amounts of business online.

“There is also a wealth of app and software developers in the region.  All of this means that online reputation management – protecting against misuse or infringements of a brand online – as well as cyber security and data protection are becoming increasingly vital.  We are advising growing numbers of businesses around these areas in relation to their IP.”

Another expanding area is trade mark registration.  Stephens Scown filed more trade marks than any other law firm in the south west last year, and 2015 is set to be even bigger.

Travers commented: “The growth of trade mark applications from companies in Devon and Cornwall is in many ways a positive indicator of economic health.  It is encouraging to see the uplift as companies seek to trade mark new products and services.”

Stephens Scown’s IP practice works with businesses across sectors, with technology, food and drink, sports and fashion being especially prevalent.

Travers concluded: “We’re expecting further growth in 2016 as leveraging and protecting IP portfolios continues to be a high priority for businesses in the region.”