In this month’s blog article, first-year trainee Harry demystifies the work carried out by our Commercial IP/IT team.
The Commercial IP/IT department at Bristows currently comprises eight partners, six senior associates, 15 associates and three trainees. This blog post aims to explain what the department does and what a trainee sitting in the department is likely to experience.
The department focuses on three overlapping areas of work: IP transactions; IT transactions; and data protection. Bristows has one of the largest groups of lawyers in the country specialised in advising on non-contentious, standalone IP transactions. These transactions vary from licensing agreements for novel biotechnology products to merchandising agreements for fashion labels or luxury goods. The IP specialists in the department will also work with the Corporate department on IP-rich corporate deals, such as the acquisition of a media start-up by an advertising multinational.
The IT transactions on which the department advises include cloud computing agreements, software development agreements and large technology outsourcing projects. Lawyers advising on these agreements will draft and negotiate contractual terms that assist clients in achieving their business objectives.
The data protection work undertaken by the department focuses on the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), an EU Regulation coming into force next May. Companies in all sectors – from airlines and clothing companies through to the most well-known technology giants – are currently seeking advice to ensure that they are compliant with the new law. In addition, the department advises on cybersecurity issues and domestic data protection law.
A trainee sitting in the department is likely to experience all three of these areas of work. Typical pieces of work involve research into contract law, IP law and data protection law, reviewing and proposing amendments to contracts and other legal documents, drafting notes of advice and related documents, co-ordinating advice with lawyers in other jurisdictions (particularly in the US and Asia), and attending meetings with clients. This makes for an interesting diet of work and gives trainees a strong grounding in commercial law.