Life as a Pupil

The pupil's view

I was a pupil in Chambers between September 2013 and September 2014 under the supervision of Andrew Lykiardopoulos KC, Charlotte May KC, Mark Chacksfield KC, Henry Ward and Jonathan Hill.

The change of pace from bar school into pupillage is marked – I was involved in two, two-week patent trials and a two week damages inquiry before Christmas. To aid in the transition, Chambers arranged for my co-pupil and me to attend the residential part of the Oxford University IP Diploma in the weeks prior to commencing pupillage. The course is an excellent opportunity to brush up on (or acquire) some of the fundamentals of IP law, and to meet other junior practitioners from the bar and from leading firms of IP solicitors. I found it hugely useful.

During pupillage I was immersed in every aspect of my supervisors’ practise and given many opportunities to get hands-on experience of the work of a barrister. This involved attending my supervisor’s conferences and hearings, but also doing written work in parallel with them. All of my supervisors encouraged me to think critically about the cases on which they were working and to discuss my thoughts with them.

My pupillage was an extremely varied year, reflecting the breadth of work undertaken in Chambers. I was fortunate to be involved in a number of interesting cases across the breadth of IP practise during pupillage. For example:

• Whilst sitting with Andrew Lykiardopoulos KC we prepared for and completed two patent trials, one concerning a medical device designed to cure congenital heart defects, the other concerning TV set top boxes and the “red button” functionality.

• With Charlotte May KC I was involved in a summary judgment application on certain aspects of a pending damages inquiry relating to infringement of a patent concerning antibacterial wound dressings.

• Whilst Mark Chacksfield KC’s pupil we prepared for a trial concerning pirate warning alarms for container ships, which involved copyright, design right and patent causes of action.

• As Henry Ward’s pupil I was involved in Norwich Pharmacal and interim injunction applications concerning “control word sharing” TV piracy and domain name entitlement respectively.

• With Jonathan Hill I was involved in disputes before the Trade Mark Registrar in respect of a supermarket brand and a famous clothing brand and registered and unregistered design right disputes concerning a high fashion bikini design and the designs of famous label jeans.

I found Chambers to be a truly comfortable place in which to learn the ropes: everybody from the most senior silk to the most junior tenant made time for me and any questions that I had. This collegiate atmosphere continued to be a huge support in my first year as a tenant, where my exposure to my pupil supervisors’ work lead to instructions in my own right in matters in which I was involved as a pupil and in new matters.

Thomas Jones