Claire Smith


Claire specialises in commercial and intellectual property transactions, most notably in the life sciences, technology, media and consumer product sectors.

Claire advises on a wide variety of commercial and IP transactions (the large majority of which are cross-border) and on corporate and investment deals where IP is an important asset.

Before becoming a lawyer, Claire spent a number of years working for Abbott Laboratories’ medical device business. Since being at Bristows, Claire has also spent time seconded to the in-house legal team of a leading global pharmaceutical company. She is also a member of the UK Bio Industry Association’s Intellectual Property Advisory Committee.

Examples of her recent experience include advising:

  • Pharmaceutical, biotech, medical device and digital health companies on joint ventures, R&D collaborations, strategic partnerships and licensing deals (with commercial and academic partners) to bring novel treatments and devices to market
  • Leading pharmaceutical companies on acquisitions and disposals of rights in medicinal products and the sale of manufacturing and packaging facilities
  • Multinational companies on key COVID-19 projects, including collaborations relating to a multijurisdictional clinical trial for a COVID-19 vaccine, and setting up and operating a COVID-19 testing facility
  • SMEs and international organisations on development, services, manufacturing, supply and distribution agreements for a wide range of pharmaceutical, industrial and consumer products
  • A fast-growing start-up on the IP and commercial arrangements relating to the creation, protection and exploitation of a new children’s character


  • MA Law, University of Oxford
  • Diploma in Intellectual Property Law and Practice, University of Bristol
  • Qualified 2003
  • Partner 2019


Biotech Review of the Year

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What others say

“Smith comes praised for her ‘expert representation of her clients’ interests in negotiations and discussions. She works diligently to structure challenging deals, makes pragmatic suggestions and has an eye for what issues are most important. Claire also retains her sense of humour, no matter how tense the situation’.” IAM Patent 1000 2024
“Claire Smith expertly pens licensing and collaborative agreements which have intellectual property at the centre. She is rigorously business minded and an essential partner for brand-rich entities looking to maximise value.” WTR 1000 2024
“Claire Smith has deep knowledge of licensing and commercial partnership agreements.” Legal 500 2024
“Her advice is unfailingly business sensitive and always pragmatic.” IAM Patent 1000 2023
“A highly regarded patent transactions lawyer.” Legal 500 2022
“Intellectually brilliant and superb marriage of IP and commercial.” Legal 500 2022
Claire “focused on our objectives, working with a can-do, solution-based approach. I was impressed with her knowledge, attention to detail and quick turnaround.” IAM Patent 1000 2022
"Claire Smith is technically excellent and all over the detail of every transaction she works on." Legal 500 2021
"Claire Smith has an 'impressive understanding of the sector'." Legal 500 2021
“Her [Claire Smith] highly tailored approach stands apart from the more cookie-cutter attitude to drafting that you find at some other firms." Legal 500 2021
"She [Claire Smith] has an impressive understanding of the Life Sciences sector, including the more operational aspects. As a result her work product always hits the mark." Legal 500 2021
“Claire understands the practicalities and legalities of licence, M&A and collaboration agreements, picks up on international issues quickly and is a pragmatic counsellor.” IAM Patent 1000 2021
"The life sciences is a forte for Smith". IAM Patent 1000 2021
"She [Claire Smith] has a particular flair for M&A-related branding issues." WTR 1000 2021

Recommended For

Patent Transactions

Life sciences and healthcare (Next Generation Partner)

Commercial Contracts

Intellectual Property: Patents


Life Sciences: Transactional

Patents (Next Generation Partner)

Patent Transactions


Intellectual Property: Patents (contentious and non-contentious) (Next Generation Partner)

Life Sciences and Healthcare (Next Generation Partner)

Commercial Contracts


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