Defending David: When Size Doesn’t Matter

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In the latest UK200Group blog post, Liz Ward Principal, Virtuoso Legal shares details of her recent success.

Liz Ward
Whether you’re a business being intimidated by big brand names, or an employee getting a solicitors letter from an ex-employer, our success in defending the underdog shows that being small doesn’t mean you should have to capitulate to the big boys.

It’s only February but at Virtuoso Legal we’ve already won some bona fide ‘David versus Goliath’ type battles in the Courts. In one example we successfully defended VideraBio Limited, a small biotech firm established by three scientists, in the High Court against alleged breach of confidence claims brought by their former employer, industry giant Invista Textiles (UK) Limited (which if you haven’t heard of it, is one of the many companies owned by the controversial Koch brothers in the US).

Not only was this a case of David versus Goliath for the scientists themselves, Invista also threw some real heavyweight lawyers on the case in the form of US law firm Quinn Emanuel. However, we’re rightly proud of our track record acting for the underdog, beating multinational clients (and their big pricey law firms) at their own game on things such as restrictive covenants, breach of confidence and trade mark infringement.

In another instance one of my clients received an application for an interim injunction with a Magic Circle firm on the other side. The big corporate who’d instructed the Magic Circle firm must have thought they could steam roller both Virtuoso Legal and my client. They were wrong. We went to Court with just me and a barrister versus a Partner, his 2 assistants, a trainee and a QC on the other side. We won hands down and recovered virtually all our costs. You see to use a boxing analogy “it isn’t how big you are, it is how hard you punch”. And if you really know the law and have prepared then you can usually hold your own.

So, if you are finding yourself at the wrong end of a nasty letter, here’s some things you should bear in mind. Don’t lose hope!

•You don’t have to instruct very expensive London lawyers to defend yourself. The Law doesn’t discriminate when it comes to Intellectual Property (IP) infringement…

•But, that said, you need to pick the right help! And here’s why - IP is one of those areas of law where a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. It is a complex and dynamic area in which to practise the law. Perhaps not surprisingly we do see quite a lot of mistakes made by other law firms, even when they say they specialise in IP. We don’t win because we’re the biggest, we win because we’re the best, and because we know the law and deploy the best strategy. It’s all we do, and we’ve been doing it very well for a long time.

•The law doesn’t care how big or famous you are. The law is concerned with justice. The big firms (and companies) we face underestimate us. They underestimate you too.

I founded Virtuoso Legal 12 years ago because I believed then, as I do now, that SMEs and individuals need accurate, pragmatic and commercial insight and advice on their most valuable assets – their IP, and they’re getting short-changed by some of the advisors out there.

So, get in touch if you feel you’re fighting your own ‘David versus Goliath’ battle, and you’re intimidated by action from a big opponent. We will give you an honest point of view and more importantly, we’ll always try to deliver the best outcome in the circumstances.

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