IAM Research

The Patent 1000 focuses exclusively on patent practice and has firmly established itself as the definitive 'go-to' resource for those seeking world-class legal patent expertise.

Gold - Firms: prosecution

Any list of Scotland’s leading patent prosecution practices would be incomplete without the inclusion of HGF Ltd. Across its offices in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen, the firm boasts 30 attorneys involved in its patent practice. Led by the skilled and experienced Gary Wilson, whom patrons “cannot recommend highly enough”, the set offers a deep bench of technical expertise and legal competence. “Gary’s knowledge and experience in the field of European and British patent applications is immense. Add to that a level of responsiveness that is truly unparalleled, and you have a patent professional that not only inspires the utmost confidence but is also a pleasure to work with. Gary has managed to pass these qualities on to his team as well.” Among that team are Douglas Drysdale, Susan Elizabeth Keston, Andrew McGettrick and Craig Thomson in Glasgow, along with Jerry Bretherton and Jamie Thomson in Edinburgh. Drysdale has been singled out by peers as possessing “excellent credentials in the European life sciences sector”. He co-heads the life sciences practice with Thomson, whom clients describe as “possessing an enormous depth of knowledge in the field and an outstanding ability to understand the most complex concepts. I would unhesitatingly recommend Craig as a highly professional and competent attorney, not to mention a fantastic person!” Keston, meanwhile, leads the electronics team. She and McGettrick regularly team up for some of the firm’s most distinguished and well-known patrons, including a world-renowned smartphone manufacturer. Bretherton, who was recently promoted to partner, teams up with Thomson and Wilson for a major medical device company, while Thomson, Wilson and a number of others in the outfit prosecute a global portfolio of over 200 patent applications for green energy leader Sunamp.

Silver - Firms: prosecution

Bronze - Firms: litigation

“We have been working with HGF for more than six years and we are delighted with the level of service they provide. We file a lot of patents in cutting-edge technology sectors every year and HGF always have the skills and expertise to match, from foundry processes to cancer therapies. In particular, we would praise them for their attention to detail and inventive suggestions, their respectful and amicable approach, especially the time and effort they take to explain and clarify everything down to the smallest details, and their fast turn-around times.” Though best known as a quality choice for patent prosecution, the firm also boasts a raft of expert solicitors for contentious work and to navigate complex IP transactions. The solicitor team includes firm CEO Martyn Fish, an accomplished IP litigator across a range of technical sectors, including pharmaceuticals, medical devices and electronics, as well as Rachel Fetches, the head of law, whose background in cellular biotechnology gives her a real leg-up in life sciences-related disputes. For transactions, Janet Knowles is a top choice. “Janet delivers highly impactful legal advice and know-how, and she is very skilled in negotiations and understands the commercial side of IP very well. Her knowledge of the sector is profound. It is her deep insight and the ability to foresee potential future scenarios that provide that exceptional and genuine customer care. It is absolutely priceless, especially for start-ups, who cannot afford a team of lawyers and rely on just one person. Janet can replace several people of her profession taken together. Undoubtedly, she is one of the foremost experts in her field – on a high-value, mission-critical deal in transactions there are only a few comparable solicitors, and Janet is near the top of that list.” The prosecution side is among the United Kingdom’s leading filers across technical areas – the practice leaders include Andrew Wells, head of chemistry, Chris Benson, head of electronics, Lucy Johnson, head of engineering, and Kate Taylor, head of life sciences. Of the prosecution side as a whole, patrons offer high praise: “HGF take a creative approach – they often suggest interesting and non-traditional methods of dealing with portfolios, which massively increases grant chances. The whole team is very reliable: they always deliver within set requirements, whether time or quantity. They deliver high-quality training, allowing clients’ teams to continuously develop and keep up to speed on the latest developments. Their advice is always commercially focused and oriented towards product goals. Their internal systems are extremely sophisticated, well developed and maintained, ensuring the risk of errors and omissions is almost non-existent.” Specific practitioners have also been singled out for praise: “Chris Moore delivers exceptional leadership and is a skilled relationship manager. He takes an amicable and respectful approach to everyone he deals with. He is extremely reliable and relatable, and always a pleasure to work with. He also understands client technology and delivers advice of exceptional quality. Pragmatic, reasonable and commercial, Chris always offers counsel in a timely fashion. His services are highly recommended.” “Claire Irvine demonstrates excellent sector-specific knowledge and tactical thinking. She has excellent communication skills (both written and oral), an eye for detail, a phenomenal ability to think laterally and does more background reading than anyone. She drafts well-constructed patents that serve her clientele well. Her ability to create strategies for maximising protection is a valuable addition to any team. She is a force to be reckoned with and goes above and beyond the expected.” A senior partner based in Sheffield, Harry Hutchinson is a trusted resource for companies in electronic engineering, particularly in communications technology. Hsu Min Chung is a partner in the chemistry group. Last year she led an opposition at the EPO for a significant player in the pharmaceutical sector. “Jennifer Uno is very responsive and an excellent prosecution strategist. She provides great advice and guidance on patenting matters and oppositions at the EPO. She is very proactive and is happy to engage with examiners in an effort to achieve a successful resolution to tough issues.” An expert in electronic engineering and AI, Matthew Cassie adds invaluable industry experience to his deep technical background. “Vanessa Stainthorpe is a true partner for IP work. She works side by side with her patrons to develop patent portfolio strategies that are specifically designed to advance their unique business missions. She is great to work with.” Kieran Killough and Kerry Rees join the rankings this year, thanks to stellar recommendations. “Kieran is a world-class patent attorney in the deep-tech sector. He has in-depth technical knowledge and, specifically, a strong understanding of semiconductor physics. He also possesses fantastic communication skills, is a shrewd navigator of prior art and knows how to prepare a top-class patent application.” “Kerry delivers excellent advice on complicated IP issues. He is flexible and technically competent. He is super smart and highly responsive, making him a definite go-to for all things IP.”

Bronze - Firms: prosecution

Operating out of 22 offices across the United Kingdom, Ireland, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Austria and Switzerland, HGF is one of Europe’s major IP practices. The team in The Hague has seen considerable growth since it was established eight years ago, and most recently saw the arrival of Jessica Kroeze and Lewis Birchenough in 2021. Patent director Kroeze marries her PhD in chemical physics with her industry experience, to provide patrons in the chemical, oil and gas, and agrochemical space with counsel that both understands the science as well as the business implications. IAM Patent 1000 debutant Birchenough is an esteemed practitioner in the electronics field, specifically in the LTE and 5G arena, and is a familiar face before both local and European patent offices. At the helm of The Hague office is Achim Krebs, a trusted adviser to his clientele. They rely on him for straightforward counsel and thoughtful portfolio management. 


Silver - Firms: prosecution

Committed to helping clients meet their long-term commercial goals, HGF is one of the largest specialist IP outfits in Europe. Boasting both legal and technical expertise, the team have earned an excellent reputation for helping patrons develop their IP assets. “HGF is filled to the brim with specialists in a variety of fields. The firm provides a very comprehensive service and can manage a wide range of patent issues, from first application through to protection.” Leading the team is IP all-rounder Craig Thomson, who has an excellent track record of securing successful outcomes for patrons in a variety of legal proceedings. A life sciences expert, he has considerable experience advising players in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical sectors, who appreciate his pragmatic and big-picture approach to IP advice. With a background in material sciences, Marie Walsh handles clients of any size, from large US or Chinese-based multinationals to small Irish start-ups. She acts as a commercial anchor, consistently adding value to her clientele and explaining the potential implications of every action. “Working with Marie is always a positive experience. She is very responsive and extremely detailed in her replies. She is objective, very knowledgeable and is clear in her advice about the likelihood of success.” Working across a range of technologies, European patent attorney Sarah Ann McCrann is a specialist in electronics who consistently impresses patrons with her stellar IP strategies. 

Firm Profile

HGF Ltd is one of Europe’s largest firms of IP specialists. It is one of only a few to offer clients a fully integrated IP solution, bringing together over 200 patent attorneys, trademark attorneys and IP solicitors. The firm has 23 offices throughout the United Kingdom, Ireland, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland and Austria.

HGF has an ambitious growth strategy and is already one of the leading firms in the United Kingdom and throughout Europe in terms of its national reach, volume of Patent Cooperation Treaty and EU trademark filings and position in major legal directories. Its growth has been secured organically and through a combination of acquisition and strategic lateral hires from both private practice and in-house counsel.

HGF has a proven track record in forging successful long-term relationships with clients across a spectrum of business sectors and technologies. The firm’s highly experienced attorneys, commitment to client service and geographical profile ensure that it is uniquely placed to attend to high-value and complex IP issues.

Specialist teams

HGF offers everything you would expect of a world-class IP firm, including patent drafting, filing and prosecution, trademarks, design rights, copyright, oppositions and appeals, IP litigation, IP strategy, IP due diligence, freedom to operate, supplementary protection certificates and IP contracts, and licensing.

The firm has dedicated teams of experts working across key industry sectors with relevant experience who fully understand their clients’ businesses and appreciate the significance of their brands, innovations and other IP assets.

Patent team

Our patent team comprises 38 partners, 66 patent attorneys and over 50 trainee patent attorneys. Many of our patent attorneys have years of experience working with or for some of the world’s leading technology companies. As a recommended firm in the IAM Patent 1000, HGF also has 13 attorneys listed. The team’s expertise and experience cover the whole range of technical fields.

The chemistry group at HGF is one of the leading multidisciplinary chemical IP practices in Europe. Combining world-class expertise from patent and trademark attorneys and IP solicitors, the team provides advice to a wide range of clients on complex issues. It is specifically sought out by clients to secure and protect their most valuable technology in the chemical arena.

HGF provides expert, commercially oriented patent advice and services to a range of organisations working in the electronics and advanced technology sector. As well as offering patent registration worldwide, it can help shape a business’s IP strategy, enabling it to make best use of its portfolio and to identify new opportunities for the future. Core technology areas include telecommunications, computer software, semiconductor technology, 3D printing, artificial intelligence, drone and autonomous vehicles and flexible electronics.

When it comes to engineering, HGF maintains a talented and specialised engineering team, who have individual expertise in areas including automotive, aerospace, cleantech, energy, medical devices and packaging. Our experience helps our clients to realise the full commercial potential of their inventions and innovations.

With one of the United Kingdom’s largest teams of specialist life sciences attorneys, HGF has a wealth of experience providing clients with practical, legal and strategic advice on managing their life sciences intellectual property. From protecting new research from the United Kingdom’s most prestigious universities, to high-profile oppositions and court proceedings on market-leading products, our attorneys’ practices cover the full range of life sciences innovations.

Languages spoken

The firm’s spoken languages include Chinese, German, French, Dutch, Japanese, Spanish, Italian, Latin, Greek, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Twi, Kyrepong, Ga, Portuguese, Mandarin, Russian, Cantonese, Polish, Gaelic, Arabic, Hindi and Bengali.


HGF is one of a few firms to have mapped out reciprocity across the globe and to have a clear strategy for growing international work, targeting the United States, Japan, India, Korea and China with focused activities.

HGF has connections with:

  • the Asian Patent Attorneys Association;
  • the International Federation of Intellectual Property Attorneys;
  • the International Association for the Protection of Intellectual Property;
  • the American Intellectual Property Law Association;
  • the Biotechnology Innovation Organisation (BIO); 
  • BIO Korea;
  • BIO Japan;
  • BIO Europe;
  • the International Trademark Association;
  • Managing Intellectual Property;
  • the North East of England Process Industry Cluster;
  • International Drug Discovery Science Technology; and
  • the American Bar Association.
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