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Taylor Wessing snares Harbottles IP head Owen

Taylor Wessing (TW) has secured a prominent lateral hire to its intellectual property team, recruiting the head of Harbottle & Lewis’ IP Group Mark Owen.

The arrival of Owen will add further strength to TW’s leading soft IP practice. The former Clifford Chance lawyer has advised significant media and entertainment clients on copyright, designs, trade mark, database rights and data privacy issues for the last 25 years.

‘Mark’s focus on new media clients and digital convergence issues aligns perfectly with Taylor Wessing’s TMT offering, while his excellent contacts and experience in Silicon Valley will be a real asset to our international practice,’ said Tim Eyles, Taylor Wessing’s UK managing partner.

Owen himself said that he looked forward ‘to making the most of the opportunity that will be afforded by the strength and breadth of Taylor Wessing’s international IP platform’, underlining the attraction of a large international IP group in contrast to Harbottles’ well-regarded boutique practice.

‘Mark has fantastic connections in the US – that’s another area where we’re strong but want to build on,’ says Niri Shan, head of the firm’s IP and media & entertainment group. He also confirmed that Owen will bring other ‘good brand clients with him.’

Owen recently enhanced his international profile, representing Lucasfilm in a five-year battle with prop designer Andrew Ainsworth over rights in costume design that ended in the Supreme Court in 2011.

TW’s hire of Owen is the second significant move for the firm’s TMT practice since the turn of the year. In January the firm added technology lawyer Mike Turner from Osborne Clarke to head its UK TMT sector group.

Owen’s arrival adds yet another name to a suite of well regarded soft IP experts in TW’s highly ranked practice, according to The Legal 500, including Charles Lloyd, Roland Mallinson and Shan himself.

As for the future of TW’s burgeoning IP practice, Shan says it will look for strategic hires in areas ‘where we think there’s growth out there’.

‘TMT is one of those spaces and is a buoyant sector,’ he added. ‘There’s not much M&A activity expected in that space, but people are exploiting technology,’ he says.