Spotlight on our solicitors – meet Emily Nousios

Spotlight on our solicitors – meet Emily Nousios

With the Spotlight on our solicitors series, we showcase the talent of our legal professionals and the people behind the advice. This time, we caught up with Senior Intellectual Property Solicitor, Emily Nousios. Emily joined our intellectual property team in October 2021, after working at international and national law firms where she specialised in patent and trade mark litigation. 

What are your areas of specialism within intellectual property?  

Emily advises clients across the spectrum of intellectual property rights and neighbouring rights, including patent, copyright, trade mark, passing off, design rights, database rights, trade secrets, confidential information and more.  

‘I really enjoy patent litigation and have litigated cases both in IPEC concerning flood defence technology and in the Patents Court for medical devices and diagnostic technology.’ 

‘I’ve always had a very strong interest in science and technology which is fulfilled by working in the field of intellectual property. One of the most enjoyable aspects of the job is getting to grips with a client’s state of the art technology and working with them to decide how best to protect and license it.’ 

‘Copyright cases are also an area of strong interest. Copyright as an intellectual property right is in the ascendancy given the increasing amounts of content generated, adapted, and recirculated online.’ 

‘Social media has exacerbated the amount of information available, but without educating its users on what counts as defamatory or infringing content. It also tends to be very US-centric and this creates a lot of confusion between UK and American intellectual property laws. We often see instances of copyright infringement dismissed on the basis of something being ‘fair use’ but this is an American legal term.’ explained Emily. ‘Our equivalent would be fair dealing, but this has much narrower, specific application than the American defence. It is vital that clients receive accurate legal advice when they face a claim, as so much information online can be incorrect and misleading.’ 

‘It is very hard to determine the provenance of any information on the Internet. Users who repost, adapt or modify memes, photographs or graphical works should be very careful to ensure that they have the permission of the copyright owner to do so, or are using the work in accordance with the terms of the licence (especially where this is a form of creative commons licence). Failure to do so can result in a claim for copyright infringement.’ 

‘Increasingly content is being generated by AI (for example ChatGPT) and it is not always accurate or credible. ChatGPT is “fed” a variety of information from sources across the Internet. Some of these include copyright works, the use of which may infringe third parties intellectual property rights.’  

Any advice for start-ups and small businesses wanting to protect their intellectual property?  

‘While it may seem like a significant investment in the beginning, both patents and trade marks are something some start-ups don’t always give enough attention to early on and as a result, end up embroiled in costly litigation further down the line.’ says Emily. ‘It can pay dividends to involve intellectual property lawyers early on, to identify and to decide how best to protect and monetise your intellectual property.’ It also makes your business a more attractive prospect to investors if you have a strong portfolio of registered intellectual property rights. 

‘It’s always easier to get things right from the beginning and to put the right intellectual property protection in place from the outset. We can advise clients on what they really need in terms of protection. We work together with our clients to develop a pragmatic strategy, so they have the protection they need for their innovation, but we also make sure that they don’t end up with a huge and unnecessary patent portfolio, which will be expensive for them to maintain. It is a case of really taking the time at the inception to explore their aims, their markets, potential licensing opportunities and revenue streams, to make sure we address these. 

What has been your proudest moment at Harper James? 

‘There have been many – our client profile is varied but we tend to work with many small businesses, start-ups and individuals, who are usually the ‘underdogs’. One example was defending a small family business from claims of trade mark infringement. We received a summary judgment application in the course of proceedings and we were able to rigorously undermine the credibility of the evidence being presented. It meant that the entire direction of the claim changed, and we were able to settle it on very favourable terms.’ 

How are you finding Harper James so far?  

‘Harper James is a really dynamic firm, which punches well above its weight. Our pricing and service model is ideally tailored to small start-up businesses, allowing them to spread the cost of legal services over a number of months and to more accurately budget and forecast legal spend. This is particularly important for intellectual property, where the costs of obtaining protection for registered intellectual property rights can be clustered in a short time period of time.’ 

‘Not only does our model benefit our clients but it also enables a uniquely flexible work-life balance for myself and my colleagues.’ 

Tell us about a prediction for your practice area in the future 

‘Copyright as an intellectual property right has become more significant with the rise of social media and AI. Given its long duration, I predict this will continue to be an area of growing importance – with an increasing number of claims. As is ever the case, the law is slow to catch up with the technology.’ 

About our expert

Emily Nousios

Emily Nousios

Senior Intellectual Property Solicitor
Emily Nousios is a senior solicitor and is a specialist in all areas of intellectual property law. Emily qualified as a solicitor in 2013 and works on cases that involve a wide range of technologies including pharmaceuticals, non-invasive pre-natal testing (and other diagnostic technologies), medical devices and “clean” automotive developments.

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