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Charlotte May QC


Year of call: 1995
Year of silk: 2014

Charlotte May QC has a broad practice across all areas of intellectual property, but with particular focus on patents, copyrights, trade marks and passing off. She has a niche practice in SPCs, with a wealth of experience in this area that is second to none. She also has a strong reputation for media and entertainment work, with a loyal client base.

Charlotte is a talented advocate who is “always up for the fight, but also sensible in her approach”. She is commended by the legal directories for her “sharp eye for detail” and “exceptional client skills”. Charlotte is known to work particularly well leading a team and for devising litigation strategies commensurate with clients’ commercial objectives.

Charlotte appears regularly before the High Court and Court of Appeal; and she continues to represent clients before the Trade Marks Registry and Patent Office in difficult cases. She also has significant experience of references to the CJEU, where she has represented commercial clients and the UK Government on numerous occasions.

Charlotte is a contributor to Laddie Prescott and Vitoria on the Modern Law of Copyright and Designs.

Copyright, Media and Entertainment

Charlotte is one of the leading silks in copyrights and related rights cases. She has a loyal base of media clients, having previously represented the likes of Discovery, Endemol and the BBC on a number of occasions. Most recently she has appeared for the Government in the ongoing TVCatchUP litigation (streaming terrestrial TV channels over the internet without permission) and is representing Abot Hameiri in a high-profile format dispute against Banijay. She has previously been involved in a number of high profile cases, including FAPL v QC Leisure, establishing copyright infringement in respect of use of foreign decoder cards by publicans screening Premier League matches from foreign broadcasters. She has particular experience in fair dealing, where she advices regularly and has appeared in ProSieben v Carlton TV, one of the leading authorities, and Fraser-Woodward v BBC.

Example recent cases

ITV Broadcasting Ltd v TV CatchUp Ltd and Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills [2015] EWCA Civ 204 (March 2015)

  • What the Directories Say
  • "She has amazing experience for someone of her call and a good rapport with judges. She is a good advocate with a nice way of presenting things." "She is very thorough and very strong technically. She has an excellent manner with clients"
    Chambers & Partners (Intellectual Property) 2017

    "We rate her very highly and would be quick to turn to her for assistance with advertising and media disputes"
    Chambers & Partners (Media & Entertainmenty) 2017

    "She is an outstanding advocate with wonderful client handling skills"
    Legal 500  (Intellectual Property)  2017

    "Bright, interested and an advocate who gets the court's ear"
    Legal 500  (Intellectual Property)  2016

    "Her expertise in the patents field is equalled by her depth of knowledge and experience of trade mark work. Her attention to detail and authoritative advocacy really impress."
    Chambers & Partners (Intellectual Property) 2016

    "Straight-talking, commercial and appreciative of client needs."
    Legal 500  (Intellectual Property)  2015

    "Exceptionally capable, she's always charming, but never gives an inch" "A doughty opponent"
    Chambers & Partners (Intellectual Property) 2015

    "She's very careful and very methodical, and she has a fantastic way with clients. She has the ability to command the client's respect and at the same time help them undertsand what the best option is for them"
    Chambers & Partners (Media & Entertainment) 2015