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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.

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for the same author in obtaining a 'John Doe' injunction to restrain unknown persons from publication of the then unpublished Harry Potter book, a copy of which had been stolen from the printers.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

 

 

Jurisdiction

Fort Dodge v. Akzo

Acted for Akzo in jurisdictional dispute under the Brussels Convention in relation to proceedings for infringement of patent. This was the first case concerning the Brussels Convention jurisdictional rules and their application to IP disputes to reach the Court of Appeal. Akzo successfully resisted an application to restrain it from pursuing an action for infringement in the Dutch Courts. Issues were referred to the ECJ but the case settled before the hearing.

Pearce v. Ove Arup Partnership

Acted for the Claimant in his claim for infringement of Dutch copyright in architect’s plans by the building of a large public building in Rotterdam. This was the first case where the High Court considered the impact of the Brussels Convention on the rules as to the competence of the English Court to hear claims for infringement of foreign IP rights and held that such a claim could be brought before the English Court.

Modus Vivendi v. British Products Sanmex

Acted for Claimant in jurisdictional dispute relating to a passing off case concerning the export of deceptive cans of lighter fuel to China from Scotland via an English port.

 

  • 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