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for the same author in obtaining a 'John Doe' injunction to restrain unknown persons from publication of the then unpublished Harry Potter book, a copy of which had been stolen from the printers.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



IT, Telecoms and the Internet

Unwired Planet v. Huawei  (FRAND trial)

 Acted for Unwired Planet in its lengthy FRAND trial against Huawei. The issues included what terms and behaviour were and were not FRAND and various alleged breaches of competition law. The Court settled FRAND terms upon which the Defendant may licence Unwired Planet’s portfolio.   

Cartier and others v. BskyB and others

Case concerning injunctions against ISPs to secure blocking of websites involved in counterfeiting on basis of registered trade marks. Acted for Cartier and other brand owners.

Unwired Planet v. Huawei & Samsung (technical trials)

Acted for Unwired Planet at trial and on appeal in patent infringement proceedings concerning standard essential patents for both UMTS and LTE telecoms standards

Motion Picture Association v. BT (Newzbin 2)

Case under s. 97A CDPA 1988. Injunction against BT to secure blocking of Newzbin website. Acted for copyright holders.

Motion Picture Association v. Newzbin (Newzbin 1)

Case brought by main film making studios against a website which indexed infringing copies of films on Usenet and made them readily available. Copyright infringement established. Acted for MPA.

Philips v. Nintendo

Patent case concerning two patents alleged to be infringed by Nintendo’s Wii computer gaming system. Acted for Nintendo.


Telecoms patent dispute concerning RACH channel access. Acted for HTC

Nokia v. HTC

Telecoms patent dispute. Included application for a stay in favour of an arbitration. Acted for HTC.

Sony PS3 console copy protection

Acted for Sony in a series of cases against persons dealing in devices that enabled copy protection for its PS3 console to be circumvented.

HTC v. Yozmot

Patent case concerning ringtone facility of mobile telephones. Acted for HTC.

Cranway v. Playtech (No.2)

Patent trial concerning a computer gaming system playable over the Internet. Acted for Defendants.

Sony v. Datel
Interim injunction in case concerning devices supplied to enable unauthorised modification of PSP games consoles. Acted for Sony.

RIM v. Visto (No.2)

The second patent action between these parties relating to computer systems used in conjunction with hand held devices for receiving e-mails. The case settled before trial but was notable for the Court ordering that RIM should disclose its estimate of costs of the action early on so that Visto could take it into account in deciding whether to apply for a costs capping order.

RIM v. Visto

Patent dispute relating to computer systems used in conjunction with hand held devices for receiving e-mails and the method of obtaining access through a corporate firewall whilst roaming. Acted for Defendant.

Qualcomm v. Nokia
Heavy patent action in which Qualcomm alleged two of its patents were infringed by Nokia’s GPRS mobile phones. Acted for Nokia.

Cranway v. Playtech

Patent claim for a computer gaming system using the Internet. Server operated out of the jurisdiction. Software supplier out of jurisdiction. Two Defendant groups of companies sued only by their parent companies. Acted for Defendants. Dispute whether Particulars of Claim disclosed proper claim. Action struck out.

Aerotel v. Telco

Case concerning telecommunications apparatus. Acted for Defendant. Whether patent should be revoked on a summary judgment application on the ground it was for a business method.

Sony v. Lik-Sang

Case concerning the operation of a website abroad soliciting sales of non EU Sony PSP games consoles, software and accessories. Challenge to liability and jurisdiction of UK courts. Acted for Sony.

Sony v. Nuplayer

Case concerning parallel imported PSP handheld consoles imported into the UK before the product was made available in Europe by Sony. Acted for Sony. Summary judgement granted to prevent the importation and sale.

Sony v. Ball

Case concerning ‘chipping’ of PlayStation 2 games consoles. Acted for Sony in obtaining permission to bring contempt proceedings against the Defendant for lies included in his pleadings supported by statement of truth.

Sony v. Owen

Case concerning ‘chipping’ of PlayStation games consoles. Acted for Sony in its successful claim under s. 296 CDPA 1988.

Intel v. Via

Patent infringement claim concerning patents relating to chipsets in computers. Acted for the Defendant. Settled shortly before trial

Storage Computers v. Hitachi

Patent action concerning patent for arrays of computer storage devices which were alleged to cover RAID technology. Acted for Claimant.

Rambus v Micron

Patent action concerning infringement of a patent alleged to cover SDRAM memory devices. The case also concerned the patentee’s conduct whilst a member of an industry standard setting body, which had adopted the features alleged by the patentee to fall within the claims. Acted for Micron in successful application for a stay of proceedings pending the conclusion of opposition proceedings in the EPO.

Sony v. Tesco

Trade Mark case concerning PlayStation games consoles parallel imported from France and marketed by Tesco. The boxes had been opened and other non Sony products added to make the consoles suitable for sale in the UK. Acted for Sony, who obtained interlocutory relief and an order for a speedy trial. The case settled shortly before trial.

Pitman Training v. Nominet

A dispute over the ownership of the ‘pitman.co.uk’ domain name between two entities which had a long history of trading under the ‘Pitman’ name.

Virgin Interactive Entertainment v. Bluewall

Contractual dispute between publisher and developer of a space shuttle flight simulator and another computer game.

  • 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