Our Spotlight on our solicitors series gives us the chance to showcase the talent of our legal professionals. With these interviews, we get to know more about the people behind the expert advice. This time, we caught up with Jill Bainbridge, an Intellectual Property Partner who joined Harper James in September 2023 following her time at top-50 law firm Blake Morgan.
How did you begin your career? What inspired your legal career?
‘I was lucky enough to spend some time doing work experience in a solicitor’s office when I was 15. The solicitor I sat with was really inspiring – she took me to court and let me loose drafting all sorts of documents (I am sure she didn’t use them!), but it did inspire me to pursue a career in law.’
What attracted you to Harper James?
‘Some of my former colleagues were already at the firm and were very positive about their experiences here. When I learned more about the firm and the refreshingly clear strategy, I was keen to join.’
What are your main areas of intellectual property expertise?
‘I specialise in the full spectrum of intellectual property rights, including trade marks, copyright, design rights and patent disputes, passing off, trade mark protection and brand strategy and reputation management.’
Can you recall any key moments from your career so far?
‘Conducting a trial in the High Court on behalf of Italian clients where the opponent was a Portuguese company. The claim was subject to Portuguese law but to be tried in the English courts.’ says Jill. ‘Each party had lawyers from their own jurisdiction present plus English lawyers and counsel and we had an expert on Portuguese law. I have never seen so many lawyers in one court room!’
What do you think your clients value most about the way you work with them?
‘I always take the time to understand a client’s business and objectives and with this, I try to give clear, practical and commercial advice at all times.’
Do you have any practical intellectual property advice for businesses that are looking to expand internationally?
‘Carrying out clearance searches can save you a lot of time and expense in the long run.’ says Jill. ‘It’s vital that you protect your intellectual property in the relevant jurisdictions before you make any other strategic moves.’
What intellectual property trends do you anticipate that business owners should be aware of in the coming years?
‘Emerging technologies are in many ways moving more quickly than intellectual property law – that’s why it’s important for businesses to consider all options for intellectual property protection.’