Annsley Merelle Ward


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“I dreamed of being a doctor. When I was 17, I was in the midst of my chemical engineering undergraduate degree in the US, the step before attending med school, when the Napster copyright lawsuits were taking centre stage. I became fascinated by the tensions between law, a traditional industry and consumer demands for new business models. It was then that my mother suggested I become an IP lawyer, which would blend my love for science with my passion for music and the arts.

I graduated with a law degree from Bristol University and continued to specialise in IP law at UCL, where the wonderful late Sir Hugh Laddie furthered my passion for the field. After graduating with my LL.M, I started as a trainee solicitor in a boutique IP litigation firm.  I also wanted to find ways to get more involved in the IP community, so I started writing IP news articles and sending them to the incomparable Jeremy Phillips who, if he liked them, would publish them on his “IPKat” blog.  After a while I was invited to become a permanent contributor known as “The AmeriKat”, writing about IP legislative and judicial news.  Eight years of writing for the IPKat has given me an outlet to communicate on IP issues that I find interesting, but also to contribute and spur discussion in a field that I admire.

People sometimes forget that I also have a day job, which I love.  In my job there are few things that I find more exhilarating than developing and executing global patent litigation strategy, often in partnership with talented IP lawyers from across the world.  Watching how the strategy plays out in numerous national courts, and the challenge of telling a convincing yet simple story, to a judge, about complex, cutting edge technology is always rewarding.

You also get to become a mini-expert in a diverse range of industries.  So far, I have been able to entertain (or bewilder) my dinner guests about toilet paper, Jimmy Choo® boots, smartphones, wine cooler bags, eye drops, inhalers, MRIs and radiotherapy machines.

What had initially attracted me to a career in medicine was using technology and science to care for people.  IP law has similar attributes in that we use IP law to support and protect innovation in technology, to ensure products can make it to the market for public benefit.  That cannot happen as successfully without IP law or lawyers.”

IP Litigator / Bristows LLP / London

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