020 7405 4321

Adrian Speck QC


Year of call: 1993
Year of silk: 2012

Adrian Speck QC is a Scholar of King's College Cambridge where he took a first class degree in Physics and Theoretical Physics. He obtained a Distinction in the Common Professional Examination before being called to the Bar in 1993 with the Wilfred Parker Prize.

Adrian's practice covers all aspects of Intellectual Property, Media and Entertainment and Information Technology law. His clients vary from large biotechnology and pharmaceutical corporations, telecoms manufacturers, substantial brand owners, broadcasters, publishers, television production companies and record companies to small businesses and private authors inventors and composers. He is co-author of The Modern Law of Copyright and Designs.

Adrian has acted in several of the leading cases concerning liability relating to the Internet. Most recently, he represented Cartier and other luxury brand owners in their claim against the ISPs for an injunction to block websites engaged in counterfeiting. He also represented the Motion Picture Association in their claim against the Newzbin website and again in their application to secure an injunction under s. 97A against BT to block that website.

Adrian regularly advises and appears in pharmaceutical and medical cases. Recent cases include Warner Lambert v. Generics and Actavis (pregabalin; second medical use claims) and Actavis v. ICOS & Lilly (tadalafil). Clients have included Accord, Actavis, Actelion, Baxter, Carefusion, Hexel, Hospira, Intas, Mylan and Teva. Adrian also acted for Medeva in the first case concerning genetic engineering to reach the House of Lords, Biogen v. Medeva. He has also acted in judicial review proceedings in the field of regulation of medicines and genetically modified crops. He appeared in the leading judicial review case on GM crops (ex p. Watson) where an organic farmer unsuccessfully challenged the legality of permission granted by the Minister and sought an order that GM corn near his farm be destroyed prior to it pollinating.

In the field of media and entertainment, Adrian acted for JK Rowling and her publisher defending a claim that a Harry Potter book was an infringement of copyright. He also acted for the same author in obtaining a 'John Doe' injunction to restrain unknown persons from publication of the then unpublished Harry Potter book, a copy of which had been stolen from the printers. Adrian regularly acts in disputes relating to television formats. He acted both for Granada and ITV in the Survivor/I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here dispute and for Fremantle in the Pop Idol/X Factor litigation which settled at the door of the Court. He also represented Guinness in the leading modern case on copyright and dramatic works in a case concerning a television advert for Guinness. Other clients have included Disney, UEFA and FA Premier League.

A significant part of Adrian's practice is concerned with complex telecoms and IT disputes often including both technical and FRAND issues. He acted for Unwired Planet in both technical and FRAND trials in the recent litigation against Huawei and Samsung. Other telecoms clients have included HTC and Nokia. Other major IT disputes have concerned design and operation of chipsets, SDRAM devices and RAID technology. In the field of computer gaming clients have included Playtech, Nintendo and Sony, the latter in a variety of disputes concerning the PlayStation series of games consoles, including disputes relating to chipping consoles to circumvent copy protection measures.

Adrian has appeared in a number of other leading IP cases including Specsavers v. Asda, Aerotel v. Telco, Scandecor v. Scandecor and Lancashire Fires v. S.A. Lyons.

Adrian has also appeared in several cases concerned specifically with jurisdiction challenges over different IP disputes including Fort Dodge v. Akzo and Pearce v. Ove Arup, the latter being the first time an English court entertained an action for infringement of a foreign copyright.



Biotechnology, Pharmaceutical & Healthcare

Actavis & others v. Icos & Eli Lilly

Patent dispute over dosing and formulation of tadalafil, used to treat erectile dysfunction and pulmonary hypertension. Acted for a group of generic pharmaceutical manufacturers at trial and in the Court of Appeal.

Warner Lambert v. Generics and Actavis

High Court and Court of Appeal. Patent case concerning second medical use claims for drug called pregabalin. Acted for Actavis in defending an application for interim relief (both in the High Court and Court of appeal) and at trial in respect of the infringement and amendment issues (also at first instance and on appeal).

Accord v. Medac

Patent case concerning a drug called methotrexate used to treat inflammatory autoimmune disease such as rheumatoid arthritis. The patent was directed to use of the drug in particular concentration for subcutaneous injection. Acted for Accord at trial.

 AstraZeneca v. Hexel and others

High Court and Court of Appeal. Patent case concerning extended release formulation of quetiapine. Acted for the generic companies.

Novartis v. Hospira

Patent case concerning zoledronic acid a drug used to treat osteoporosis. Acted for Hospira in High Court and Court of Appeal on the application for an interim injunction between first instance decision and appeal.

Fresenius v. Carefusion

Medical device patent. Acted for patentee.

Cephalon v. Orchid & Generics

Patent case concerning Modafinil, a drug used to treat narcolepsy. Acted for Defendants in resisting interim injunction application. Also acted in the trial where the patent was found to be invalid and not infringed.

ALK-Abello v. Dey Pharma

Case started in Patents County Court concerning adrenaline injecting devices. Application for transfer to High Court. Acted for Dey Pharma.

Edwards v. Cook

Patent case relating to an artificial heart valve in a stent. Acted for Cook in Patents Court and Court of Appeal.

Novartis v. Johnson & Johnson

Complex patent trial relating to patent covering extended wear contact lenses. Acted for Novartis in Patents Court.

Wake Forest v. Smith & Nephew

Interim injunction in patent action concerning wound healing device. Acted for Wake Forest.

Abbott’s Patent

Appeal before the Technical Board of Appeal of the EPO over patent for formulation of sevoflurane. Acted for opponent (Baxter).

Generics v. Lundbeck

Patent for escitalopram, an enantiomer of citalopram. Acted for Generics in trial of validity of the patent.

Baxter v. Abbott

Claim to revoke a patent concerning formulation of an anaesthetic called sevoflurane and for a declaration of non-infringement. Acted for Baxter.

Althin v. Fresenius

Case in the EPO regarding claims to a kidney dialysis machine and alleged prior use. Acted for Althin (part of Baxter).

Merck v. Generics

Patent infringement case concerning method used to make a pharmaceutical called alendronic acid. The case is notable for the judge’s observations on the permissibility of attempting to prove infringement under the ‘Improver’ approach by reference to experiments. Acted for Generics.

Cairnstores & Generics v. Hassle

Patent revocation action in relation to a pharmaceutical formulation patent. The case is notable for the appeal in which it was alleged that the trial Judge had conducted the trial in a bias manner. Acted for one of the applicants for revocation.

SmithKline Beecham v. Connaught Laboratories (No. 2)

Dispute concerning the status of disclosure documents read by the Court in private and relied upon to revoke a patent in open court. Acted for the successful petitioners in the High Court and the Court of Appeal.

SmithKline Beecham v. Connaught

A petition to revoke a biotechnology patent for a purified protein used in vaccine against whooping cough. The patentee indicated its intention to surrender its patent the night before the trial was due to start but the petitioner pressed on and successfully sought revocation anyway.

Chiron v. Evans

Biotechnology patent infringement and validity dispute concerning a protein used in vaccine against whooping cough. Acted for patentee.

Biogen Inc v. Medeva plc

Biotechnology patent dispute concerning patent for genetically engineered protein for use as a vaccine against Hepatitis B. This was the first genetic engineering patent dispute to reach the House of Lords. Acted for Medeva.

  • What the Directories Say
  • "He is terribly clever, works incredibly hard, is really good at taking responsibility for the case and spots weaknesses really quickly. A real talent." "An extremely approachable QC who is very bright and quickly grasps complex matters"
    Chambers & Partners (Intellectual Property) 2017

    "A fantastic advocate." "A bright man who will always try to find a clever point"
    Chambers and Partners (Information Technology) 2017

    "He's the real deal and punches above his weight"
    Chambers & Partners (Media & Entertainment) 2017

    "He picks cases up at lighning speed and has the ability to cut to the heart of the matter"
    Legal 500 (Intellectual Property) 2017

    "He excels at strategy and maximises the outcome for his clients."
     Legal 500 (IT & telecoms) 2017

    "He is a master strategist, who works incredibly hard"
    Legal 500 (Intellectual Property) 2016

    "He has an unerring ability to identify the key issues in a case at an astonishing speed"
    Legal 500 (IT & telecoms) 2016

    "He has a remarkable track record of spotting the points that are going to win."
    Chambers & Partners (Media & Entertainment) 2016

    "He probes and asks question all the time, which means you see the weaknesses in your case very quickly" "He has a real ability to get on top of the technical detail and to balance it with the appropriate legal framework"
    Chambers and Partners (Information Technology) 2016

    "You think you've thought of all the arguments and then he comes up with something much more clever" "He's an excellent advocate who is very responsive and highly intelligent"
    Chambers & Partners (Intellectual Property) 2016

    "Recommended for IP-related disputes"Legal 500 (IT and Telecoms) 2015

    "He benefits from associated strengths in media and IT law."
    Legal 500 (Intellectual Property) 2015

    "A go-to barrister for heavyweight and deeply complex IP matters concerning patents, trade marks, copyright and designs. He is commended for his intellectual rigour, commercial sense and being easy to work with"
    Chambers & Partners (Intellectual Property) 2015

    "An excellent advocate, who is very responsive and highly intelligent"
    Chambers & Partners (Intellectual Property) 2015

    "He has a particular experience with regard to television format disputes"
    Chambers & Partners (Media & Entertainment) 2015