John Baldwin QC

CALL: 1977 | SILK: 1991
John Baldwin Q.C. commands a towering reputation as a leading silk in intellectual property and media and entertainment.

He specialises in every aspect of intellectual property, including patents, trade marks (including comparative advertising), copyrights, licensing, confidential information, passing off, design rights and malicious falsehood.

John is considered “as good as it gets” where copyright cases are concerned. He is extremely experienced in pharmaceutical sector patent disputes, supported by his doctorate in agricultural science, and he’s worked in a raft of other patent actions.

  • Experience

    Patents & SPCs

    • DynaEnergetics GMBH & Co. KG v Geodynamics (ongoing): patent revocation action in relation to explosives and shaped charges for mining operations.
    • Novozymes v Danisco: an infringement and revocation case involving the stabilising of enzymes added to pelleted animal food to increase bioavailability.
    • Ranbaxy v Astra Zeneca: a patent infringement and revocation case concerning novel forms of esomeprazole in a very pure state.
    • Ciba Vision and Novartis v Johnson & Johnson: a patent infringement action concerning extended wear contact lenses.
    • BDI v Biofuels: a patent infringement case relating to the operation of a plant for converting vegetable oils into Biodiesel.
    • Rapid Action Packaging v Nampak [2010] EWHC 1458 (Pat): two patents, one protecting the packaging for fresh sandwiches and another for sandwiches which can be up to three days old.
    • Sandisk v Philips, Sisvel and others: basket of patents concerning most aspects of digital audio broadcasting (including the standards relating thereto).
    • Les Laboratoires Servier v Lupin: patent infringement and revocation action concerning a particular crystalline form of a successful pharmaceutical.
    • Stanelco Fibre Optics v Bioprogress Technology Limited: a patent entitlement and breach of confidence appeal regarding the use of RF welding technology for making pharmaceutical capsules out of vegetable products.
    • Ultraframe v Eurocell [2004] 1785 EWHC (Ch) & [2006] EWHC 1344 (Pat): a patent and unregistered design right appeal in a case concerning the construction of conservatory roofs. Eurocell, who used to be distributors of Ultraframe’s products, had attempted to design round the patent but had not been successful.

    Copyright & databases

    • Brian Belo v Lime Pictures: Big Brother winner, Brian Belo, claimed he devised the format for The Only Way is Essex (TOWIE), the hit dramality soap. Lime Pictures, who are also responsible for Hollyoaks, hotly disputed the claim, contending it was their own development of the reality genre; that it was “Big Brother without Walls”.
    • Warner Chappell v Global Live Events: GLE organised a tribute concert to celebrate the life and work of Michael Jackson. The dispute concerned the film and broadcasting rights to about half of Jackson’s repertoire.
    • Allen v Rowling and Bloomsbury [2010] EWHC 2560 (Ch) & [2011] EWCA 943: the author of a book on wizards is arguing that JK Rowling infringed copyright when she created the Harry Potter series, especially the 4th book, Goblet of Fire.

    Trade marks & brands

    • General Nutrition Investment Company v Holland and Barrett International Limited [2017] EWHC 746 (Ch) & [2018] EWCA Civ 1586: trade mark licencing matter in relation to the ‘GNC’ mark.
    • The Sofa Workshop Ltd v Sofaworks [2015] EWHC 1773 (IPEC): community trade mark infringement and passing off claim brought by The Sofa Workshop Limited concerning two word CTMs for ‘SOFA WORKSHOP’. Sofaworks counterclaimed for revocation for non-use and invalidity.
    • Tsit Wing Company v TWG Tea: Tsit Wing is a long established supplier of coffee and tea under the Tsit Wing name and TW brand. It took objection to the Singaporean luxury tea supplier TWG Tea opening an exclusive tea shop and supplying exclusive teas to the Hong Kong market.
    • Fage v Chobani [2013] EWHC 630 (Ch) & [2014] EWCA Civ 5: this case explored the boundaries of the tort of extended passing off concerning the phrase ‘Greek yoghurt’.
    • Batsman Trade Mark O-440-13: The applicant sought to register Batsman as a trade mark for various specifications of goods, some being related to cricket and some not being related to cricket.
    • Evegate Publishing v Newsquest [2013] EWHC 1975 (Ch): this case explored the rights in descriptive names as well as the evidential value of witnesses selected by means of survey evidence and evidence gathering exercises.
    • M&Co Trade Mark T-272/13: an opposition at OHIM against registration of M&Co. by a UK supplier.
    • Lonsdale v Leofelis [2007] EWHC 451 (Ch) & [2008] EWCA Civ 640: a European wide trade mark licensing dispute concerning the Lonsdale mark and how interstate trade can be affected when additional countries join the European Union.
    • A&E Television Networks v Discovery Communications [2013] EWHC 109 (Ch): a trade mark infringement and passing off claim arising out of the launch of the Discovery History TV channel.
    • Iceland Trade Mark O-307-12: the Icelandic government took objection to the registration of Iceland as a trade mark for supermarkets and various food goods.

    Design rights

    • Turner Access v Youngman: a case involved with the design rights in guard rails for scaffolding towers which reduce construction time several fold.
    • Baby Dan AS v Brevi Srl [1998] EWHC 291 (Pat): a design right dispute about child safety barriers, the functional interconnection of the various component parts and the extent to which various items were aspects of configuration.
    • Ultraframe v Eurocell [2004] 1785 EWHC (Ch) & [2006] EWHC 1344 (Pat): a patent and unregistered design right appeal in a case concerning the construction of conservatory roofs.
    • Wrigley Chewing Gum v Nestle/Colgate: A design right action concerning the displays used for presenting products in high street shops.

    Trade secrets & confidentiality

    Media, Sport, & Entertainment

    • Brian Belo v Lime Pictures: Big Brother winner, Brian Belo, claimed he devised the format for The Only Way is Essex (TOWIE), the hit dramality soap. Lime Pictures, who are also responsible for Hollyoaks, hotly disputed the claim, contending it was their own development of the reality genre; that it was “Big Brother without Walls”.
    • Warner Chappell v Global Live Events: the dispute concerned the film and broadcasting rights to over half of Jackson’s repertoire.
    • Allen v Rowling and Bloomsbury [2010] EWHC 2560 (Ch) & [2011] EWCA 943: representatives of the author of a little known publication about a wizard claimed that Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, as well as some of the earlier Potter novels, were an infringement of copyright.
    • Madonna v Associated Newspaper: the Mail on Sunday published without permission photographs of Madonna’s wedding to Guy Ritchie thereby infringing both her rights of privacy and her rights in copyright as well as selling a lot of newspapers. The main issue was the amount of compensation the newspaper should pay. 
    • Michael Jackson v Flying Music: Thriller Live is a spectacular West End concert show. The issue is whether various of Michael Jackson’s rights have been properly accounted for and licensed or whether the producers are just cashing in on Jackson’s popularity.
    • PRS For Music v Mean Fiddler and Festival Republic: action for unpaid royalties in respect of the music performances at the popular Latitude Festivals in Suffolk.
    • Sienna Miller v Big Pictures and Darryn Lyons: Ms Miller claimed she was being harassed by the paparazzi and her rights of privacy infringed. She sought injunctive relief and damages. Big Pictures had sold some photographs to newspapers but contended that their actions were normal and reasonable in the context of celebrity news gathering.
    • Fisher v Brooker [2006] EWHC 3239 (Ch), [2008] EWCA Civ 287 & [2009] UKHL 41: a dispute about who wrote or was entitled to rights in the music of the iconic Procol Harum hit Whiter Shade of Pale.
    • Baigent and Leigh v Random House [2006] EWHC 719 (Ch) & [2007] EWCA Civ 247: an action alleging the bestselling novel, The Da Vinci Code, infringed the copyright of two of the authors of The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail. The claim explored the boundaries between ideas and expression, copyright protecting the latter but not the former.
    • 19 TV Ltd v Simon Cowell and others: the creators and makers of Pop Idol, a well-known TV show, contended that making and broadcasting of X Factor, another popular TV show, was an infringement of copyright and breach of contract.
    • Bloomsbury Publishing v Persons Unknown: an application for an injunction against any person who might disclose the contents of the latest Harry Potter novel before publication.
  • Education & awards
    • 1965-1968: University of Leeds, BSc  Agricultural Chemistry (First Class Honours)
    • 1968-1972: St. Johns College, Oxford, D. Phil. Computer modelling in agricultural science
    • 1975-1977: Inns of Court School of Law Lord Justice Holker Senior Award (Gray’s Inn)
  • Appointments
    • Deputy High Court Judge of the Chancery Division and Patents Court
    • Appointed Judge of the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court Recorder
    • Arbitrator/Mediator
    • Bencher of Gray’s Inn
  • Professional memberships
    • Gray’s Inn
    • Lincoln’s Inn
    • London Court of International Arbitration
    • Intellectual Property Bar Association (IPBA)
    • Chancery Bar Association. (ChBA)

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