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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acted for the same author in obtaining a 'John Doe' injunction to restrain unknown persons from publication of the then unpublished Harry Potter book, a copy of which had been stolen from the printers.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.



Further Patent Cases


 Complex patent case about a patent directed to use of electromagnetism for detecting the presence of oil and gas reservoirs beneath the seabed. Acted for the patentee in the High Court. The case settled after trial but before judgment. 

Nampak v. Alpla

Patent action concerning plastic milk bottles. Acted in High Court and Court of Appeal on application for summary judgment in relation to non-infringement of a patent.

Virgin v. Premium and Air Canada

Lie flat aircraft seats. Acted for Air Canada in High Court and Court of Appeal.

Zipher v. Markem (No. 2)

Patent action relating to tape drives utilised in a thermal transfer printer used to print on packaging. Acted for Claimant at trial and in the Court of Appeal.

LB Europe v. Smurfit (No. 2)

Enquiry as to damages in relation to unjustified threats of patent proceedings. Acted for Claimant.

Jost Werke v. Fontaine

Patents County Court trial of dispute over simple mechanical patent for a device to secure a trailer to a lorry or other towing vehicle. Acted for Defendant.

Nichia v. Argos

Court of Appeal decision in patent action regarding whether disclosure should normally be given by patentee as to validity. Acted for Nichia.

LB Europe v. Smurfit (No. 1)

Claim for a declaration of non infringement, unjustified threats and revocation of a patent concerning taps used in wine boxes. Acted for Claimant.

Zipher v. Markem (No. 1)

Infringement claim in respect of one of the patents which was subject to the entitlement dispute (see below). Initial hearing as to whether Claimant could bring an action identifying claims in the patent as it sought to have it amended. Strike out application. Acted for Claimant.

Halliburton v. Smith

Acted for the Defendants in action concerning patents directed to methods of designing roller cone drill bits used to drill for oil. The technology involved complex mathematical modelling of the movement of the parts of the bits and the interaction of the surfaces of the teeth with the rock. Both patents were held invalid for lack of sufficient disclosure and also because they covered matter which was not a patentable invention within the Patents Act at all.

Markem v. Zipher

Acted for the Defendants in a patent entitlement action concerning entitlement to patents for inventions in the fields of ink jet and thermal transfer printing. Case involved the Court of Appeal overturning the trial judge’s findings of dishonesty against the Defendant’s witnesses.

Ultraframe v. Eurocell

Patent and design right dispute concerning system used to construct low pitch conservatory roofs. Acted for Ultraframe in Patents Court and Court of Appeal. Subsequently the case continued on to a fully fought enquiry as to damages.

Burnden v. Ultraframe

Acted for Ultraframe in resisting claim brought against it for infringement of a patent relating to components used to construct conservatory roofs at differing pitches.

Russel Finex v. Telsonic

Acted for the Defendant in an action for declaration of non-infringement of a patent concerning industrial sieving apparatus.

Sandvik v. K.R. Pfiffner

Acted for the Chinese manufacturer of coated cemented carbide inserts (cutting tools) in an action concerning patent infringement, the scope of a technology transfer agreement between the parties and related competition matters relating to the use of a process for forming a thin coating on the products surface. The Claimant had originally threatened distributors of the product and sued one of them. The manufacturer applied to intervene in the action and brought a counterclaim in respect of the patentee’s threats made to the distributors. The case settled shortly before trial.

Taylor v. Ishida

Acted for the Claimant in patent infringement proceedings concerning machinery for forming filling and sealing bags of crisps and nuts. The case is notable for the many applications that were made prior to trial to obtain an adequate product description form the Defendants. As a result of the Defendants’ failure to comply the Judge made a special costs order.

Haberman v. Jackel

A patent infringement action concerning a commercially successful valve fitted to a toddlers’ trainer cup to make it leakproof. Acted for the individual inventor in successfully enforcing her patent against a large baby and toddler products’ manufacturer.

Aumac Limited Patent

Dispute whether proper to make a See v. Scott Paine Order where Patentee elects to have its UK patent revoked upon payment of all its costs in the action when there is a corresponding European Patent pending which could mature into European Patent (UK) for same invention. Acted for Defendant in the Court of Appeal.

  • 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