Aspire training and networking group: Intellectual property for in-house lawyers

Aspire training and networking group: Intellectual property for in-house lawyers

The LexisNexis Aspire training and networking group met on Wednesday 29th June for the penultimate event of the year. Along with the Advisory Board and existing members, it was great to see the addition of new members and their invaluable input.

This event was centered around the topic of Intellectual Property and Brand Protection, led by guest speakers Bonella Ramsay and Claire Bailey from DLA Piper. The session highlighted the need for in-house lawyers to understand the business's products and the rights that may exist in them because businesses may not realise the range of IP rights they own. As well as providing an refresher on the main IP rights Bonella and Claire explored the way the UK's referendum decision to leave the EU is likely to affect the current IP landscape. Here are some of the takeaways from the session:

  • there is no immediate loss of IP protections as a result of Brexit but keep a watching brief
  • when taking on a transaction make sure to challenge the business and do your due diligence - what are the business objectives, scope, timing, financials etc
  • when reviewing and IP licence it is paramount that the the definitions are sufficient, accurate, and say what you want them to say. Badly drafted definitions could create problems in relation to ownership and revenue

The Aspire program also provides insight to help members progress in their careers. The the group heard from Stephen McCartney, Director of Information Governance and Data Protection Officer at Royal Mail, who shared his non-linear path to a career in-house. Stephen reflected on the decisions that led to his successes in-house and advised members to:

  • always take the next step even if you don't feel that you are ready
  • build credibility by finding solutions for the business rather than saying 'no'
  • Seek out opportunities, internally and externally, to widen your skills set and network e.g. offer to attend meetings and present on a topic that the business would be interested to know more about

After a wrap-up of the afternoon’s sessions, the group stayed for some networking over drinks. Feedback from the event was very positive with one member saying “ I had a fantastic time and took a lot away from the session, would definitely be interested in attending the next event you hold!”

To register for our next event please email

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About the author:

Sophie is Head of Learning & Development at F-LEX Legal - an award winning legal tech startup helping law firms and organisations manage a flexible work force and supporting lawyers to make smarter life/work choices. 

As part of her portfolio career Sophie runs various learning and development and networking forums for in-house lawyers and mentors junior lawyers.  These include Flying Solo for small and solo legal teams and Aspire for junior in-house lawyers which she runs for LexisNexis UK.  She also works with schools and organisations to promote social mobility within the legal profession, working with The Social Mobility Business Partnership and Aspiring Solicitors. 

She trained as a lawyer in the City and worked as an in-house lawyer for 10 years including as Head of Legal for Virgin Radio and Ginger Media Group.  

Outside of work she is happily married with three sons and enjoys morning walks along the beach with her two dogs.