Haseltine Lake Kempner’s Dr Brian Whitehead Officially “Appointed”

Haseltine Lake Kempner are delighted to announce that one of their IP litigation partners, Dr Brian Whitehead, has been appointed as an Appointed Person for Trade Marks and Registered and Unregistered Designs. The Appointed Person for Trade Marks hears appeals from decisions of the UK IPO, Registrar of Trade Marks. Since 2017 it has also been possible to appeal registered design decisions of the UK IPO to an Appointed Person. Following a competition run by the Judicial Appointments Commission, seeking to recruit five new Appointed Persons, Brian was successful in both jurisdictions.

The Appointed Person role was created to provide a quicker and cheaper alternative for appeals than the High Court. The role has been overwhelmingly successful, and the large majority of appeals from the Registrar of Trade Marks are heard by an Appointed Person, rather than by the High Court. In 2019 some 45 appeals were heard by the Appointed Persons.

There are normally around 10 Appointed Persons, who currently include Daniel Alexander QC, Iain Purvis QC and Geoffrey Hobbs QC. Previous Appointed Persons include Lord Kitchin and Lord Justice Arnold. Brian is a solicitor so his appointment is significant, as all previous appointments have been of top barristers (QCs) and academics. Indeed, to the best of HLK’s knowledge, Brian and one other, appointed this year, are the first two practising solicitors ever to be appointed.

Richard Kempner, head of IP Litigation at HLK, said: “I am really happy for Brian, who has been a Deputy District Judge for the past five years, as well as one of the firm’s most experienced IP litigators. The Appointed Person role is part time, so Brian will continue to spend the majority of his time working for the firm’s clients. It is a measure of this firm’s depth of expertise in IP that we have an Appointed Person in our ranks”.