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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.


Charlotte read Biochemistry at Oxford and has experience of a number of biotech and chemical patent cases. Recent examples include Amgen v Sanofi & Regeneron (anti-PCSK9 antibodies for lowering cholesterol); Celltrion v Biogen (three patents covering dosage regimes for the monoclonal antibody rituximab, two for the treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukemia and one for rheumatoid arthritis); Accord v medac (formulation of methotrexate for the treatment of arthritis); Warner-Lambert v Actavis (use of pregabalin for treating pain; second medical use claims); Smith & Nephew v Convatec (silverised wound dressings).

However, she also acts in cases involving other areas of technology, including electronics and mobile phones. She is currently acting for Phillips in ongoing litigation concerning LED technology, and she represented Samsung and Google in the recent Unwired Planet litigation.

Charlotte has a particularly strong practice in SPCs, a burgeoning and important area of patent law. Her impressive repertoire of SPC cases include Actavis v Sanofi (CJEU); Eli Lilly v HGS (CJEU); AstraZeneca v Comptroller (CJEU); GSK v Comptroller (CJEU); Tulane (CA); Neurim (CA, CJEU); Generics v Synaptech (CA, CJEU); Novartis v Actavis (CJEU); Merck; and DuPont (CA). She has particular experience in leading the strategy of multi-jurisdictional SPC litigation and is the silk of choice for any SPC related case.

Example recent cases

Teva & Ors v Merck Sharp Dohme [2017] EWHC 539 (Pat);  SPC invalidity action of combination product; whether product protected by basic patent under Art 3(a) and/or had already been the subject of an SPC contrary to Art 3(c)

Celltrion v Biogen [2016] EWHC 188 (Pat); practice of listing patent trials within 12 months of start of action

Accord v medac [2016] EWHC 24 (Pat); formulation of methotrexate for treatment of inflammatory diseases; obviousness; insufficiency

Unwired planet v Huawei & Samsung [2015] EWHC 3837 (Ch); mobile phones; standard essentiality; validity; infringement

Warner-Lambert Co LLC v Actavis Group PTC EHF [2015] EWHC 2548 (Pat); use of pregabalin for the treatment of pain; second medical use claims

Smith & Nephew Plc v Convatec Technologies Inc
[2015] EWCA Civ 803); [2015] EWCA Civ 607 (June 2015); silverised wound dressings; infringement

Icahn School of Medicine of Mount Sinai O/552/14
; SPC application; whether requirements of Art 3 satisfied; ex parte hearing at the IPO

  • 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