Walker Morris announces key new external partner appointment as Head of Intellectual Property

Walker Morris has strengthened its Intellectual Property Group by today announcing the appointment of Rupert Bent as a partner and as the Head of Intellectual Property. 

As former Head of IP Litigation for the regions at Pinsent Masons, Rupert has advised on the full range of contentious intellectual property disputes, including patent, trade mark, copyright, design right and passing-off disputes, as well as non-contentious issues including licensing and branding. With almost two decades of experience, Rupert has successfully led significant litigation for a variety of household name companies, including for Phones 4U and Magnet, amongst many others. Rupert additionally sits on a Programme Committee of the Institute of Trade Mark Agents (ITMA) and is a regular published writer for the ITMA Review.

Rupert has also built up a particular expertise in enforcing rights on social media, including trade mark and copyright infringement, the removal of imposter accounts and defamatory comments from Facebook, Twitter and blogs, and is a recognised speaker on these topics.

Ian Gilbert, Managing Partner at Walker Morris commented:

"We are delighted that Rupert is joining the firm to head up our IP Group.  We see Rupert's recruitment as a key step in adding further to on our recognised expertise in this practice area.  His recruitment is also consistent with our strategy of building sector leading teams with enviable reputations for offering specialist expertise to our clients across a wide range of industry sectors, both in the UK and overseas"

Rupert commented on his appointment:

"I'm very excited to be joining Walker Morris and leading the IP Group to the next stage of its development. The big attraction of joining Walker Morris is that I believe that there are significant opportunities in the regions for a strong multi-disciplined offering in the Intellectual Property space and Walker Morris, with its strong reputation in IP and an excellent client base, is particularly well positioned to benefit from these opportunities."

Housing Group wins major new appointment

Walker Morris appointed to Procurement for Housing

The Walker Morris Housing Group has won a four year appointment to Procurement for Housing – a national procurement consortium of Housing Associations, Local Authorities and Arms Length Management Organisations which together comprise 65% of the social housing sector.

The success was the result of a thorough tender process that led to 20 firms being shortlisted to compete for appointment.  The Framework will allow Procurement for Housing's 850 members to procure legal services from Walker Morris in the areas of property, development, corporate and finance, employment and housing management.

Procurement for Housing was launched in March 2004 in response to the Gershon Review, which highlighted the major inefficiencies in a sector that spends more than £3 billion a year on products and services.  It creates efficiencies and savings and improves the procurement process for its members in the social housing sector.  It is supported by its stakeholders – the National Housing Federation, the Chartered Institute of Housing and HouseMark.

Walker Morris Partner, Chris Woodthorpe commented:

"We are delighted to be working with such a major organisation as Procurement for Housing.  The appointment is testament to our investment in the social housing sector and our focus on delivering specialist expertise backed up by solid client support and added value services.  Procurement for Housing is a new client for the firm and we are very much looking forward to working with it and its members over the next 4 years".

Karl Anders, Director in the Walker Morris Housing Group added:

"The appointment provides a fantastic opportunity and reflects our growing national presence in the social housing sector, where we already have long standing client relationships with a number of the leading housing providers".

Energy lawyers at Walker Morris advise Energos on Derby waste plant

Contract signed on £950 million, 27-year waste project

Energy and waste specialists from law firm Walker Morris have advised Energos on its role in a £950 million PPP waste project in Derby.

The 27-year contract was signed on 20 August between Resource Recover Solutions (RRS), a joint venture between Interserve and Shanks Group, and Derby City and Derbyshire County Councils.  It will see Interserve build and operate a £145 million new mechanical biological treatment (MBT) facility and an onsite gasification plant, which Shanks will operate alongside Derby's existing waste management facilities.

Walker Morris lawyers advised Energos on as the contractor supplying the gasification facility, which will convert refuse derived fuel from the MBT into energy.

It is expected that the new facility, due to be completed by April 2017, will divert up to 98% of residents' residual waste from landfill, while also generating enough green electricity to power approximately 14,000 homes.

Ben Sheppard, partner leading the Walker Morris team said:

"The deal reinforces Energos's position as a leading provider of advanced conversion treatment technology. As a long standing client of the firm we are delighted to have advised Energos on this exciting project which involved specialist advice to balance the critical risk factors for all the parties involved including local authorities, technology providers and funders and to drive the project through to a successful completion."

Corporate Group advises on Hargreaves sale of Imperial Tankers

Corporate lawyers at Walker Morris have advised Hargreaves Services plc on the sale of Imperial Tankers Limited to Suttons Transport Group in a £26.9 million deal.

Hargreaves is the UK's leading supplier of solid fuels and bulk material logistics.  The disposal is the first step in implementing a new strategy to focus the Group on its core strengths, simplify operations and ensure the business is optimally placed to respond to changes in market conditions.

Imperial has been part of the Hargreaves Group since it was acquired in 2007 for £6.3 million. The tanker operation has grown steadily under Hargreaves' ownership and has been consistently profitable. However it currently offers limited synergies with other operations and now falls outside the Hargreaves' core activities. The business unit will be sold inclusive of cash balances of £1.6m and £2.7m of asset finance debt, resulting in an effective enterprise value and reduction in overall net debt of £28.1m.

Commenting on the disposal, Gordon Banham, CEO of Hargreaves, said:

"Imperial Tankers is a quality business and I would like to commend and thank the staff and management for their hard work and commitment in developing Imperial into one of the strongest tanker brands in the country."

John Hamer who led the team at Walker Morris said:

"Having acted on Hargreaves' acquisition of Imperial Tankers in 2007 it is pleasing to have been able to assist Hargreaves in achieving a successful sale of Imperial as part of the Group's stated objective of refocusing its activities."

The Walker Morris multi-disciplinary team included Ed Ainscoe, Sarah Bruce, Judith Pike, Peter Considine and David Tinkler.

Sustainable Development Capital Limited appoints Walker Morris

Specialist energy lawyers appointed to advise on innovative energy investment fund.

Walker Morris has been appointed by Sustainable Development Capital LLP's (SDCL) to provide specialist legal advice on its energy efficient investments.

Headquartered in London, SDCL is a specialist investment and financial advisory firm, focused on investing in projects that cut energy costs and carbon emissions in buildings and infrastructure. In 2012 SDCL launched the innovative UK Energy Efficiency Investments Fund, in which the UK government’s UK Green Investment Bank made a £50 million cornerstone investment commitment.

The Fund will seek to invest and potentially take a stake in energy efficiency projects such as building retrofit, industrial energy efficiency, Combined Heat and Power schemes, Renewable Heat projects and urban infrastructure.  They will work with building owners, occupiers, end users of energy (Hosts) and energy services companies (ESCOs) to identify and evaluate energy efficiency project opportunities.

Chris Garside from SDCL said:

“We made a point of choosing people we thought were good at deal making and have experience in the sector. Whilst there are many firms with experience in broader renewables, there are far fewer with experience in demand side management and energy efficiency.”

He added: “It wasn’t simply a case of putting a panel together. We want to make sure the firms act together and build a bigger pool of legal knowledge.”

David Kilduff, Head of Commercial Projects & Infrastructure said:
"Rising energy costs are increasingly a concern for every individual, company and government.  With buildings today accounting for 40% of the world's energy use, there are opportunities to reduce energy consumption in buildings and facilities through energy efficiency improvements which deliver immediate and sustainable cost savings.  We are looking forward to supporting SDCL at this exciting and challenging time in the market"