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Geoff Steward

SENIOR SOLICITOR

Geoff Steward is a trial lawyer with over twenty-five years’ experience and has long been recognised in Chambers and Legal 500 as a leading individual for IP disputes. He joined Stobbs in 2018 after being a partner and head of the IP group at leading London firm, Macfarlanes.

He has handled IP disputes for some of the leading brands of the world, including Budweiser, Nike, Pernod Ricard and various Formula One teams. His expertise includes disputes relating to trade marks, passing off, copyright, designs (registered and unregistered), database rights, data protection, breach of confidence and anti-trust. As well as undertaking pure IP claims, Geoff has acted on a broad range of contractual disputes relating to brand protection and brand monetisation such as licensing, franchising, manufacturing, supply and distribution. He has acted for clients in industries as diverse as retail, publishing,  television, sports (soccer, cycling, golf and Formula One), food and drink; automotive and aviation.

Reported IP cases which have gone to trial upon which Geoff has acted include:

  • Zino Davidoff SA v A&G Imports Ltd: leading parallel importing trade mark infringement case which was ultimately referred to the European Court of Justice
  • Anheuser Busch v Budejovicky Budvar: series of long-running trade mark revocation actions which went to the Court of Appeal on the question of honest concurrent use
  • Kangol Limited v Hay & Robertson PLC: Court of Appeal decision on validity of termination of a trade mark licence
  • Looney v Trafigura: High Court copyright infringement and contractual repudiation claim relating to literary works
  • Group Lotus v Team Lotus: High Court passing off claim (and two speedy trials) relating to Lotus naming rights for Formula One

Broader commercial/brand related disputes handled by Geoff include:

  • advising the UCI Independent Commission in relation to a public inquiry into the Lance Armstrong doping affair in professional cycling
  • ICC arbitration in respect of an international licensing dispute for a leading sports brand; and successfully defending a High Court and Court of Appeal breach of contract claim for the same client by a former US licensee
  • contractual dispute arising out of the temporary stadia for the London 2012 Olympic games
  • representing a leading wine supplier on an ICC arbitration relating to the contested termination of its UK warehouser
  • advising Thai Airways on a High Court breach of contract claim against a seat supplier which had falsified G-force testing results, securing damages in excess of $100m
  • conducting an LCIA arbitration for an international sports brand, governed by Indian law but with the seat in London, relating to the disputed exercise of a call option over shares in an Indian joint venture company with the reputation of the brand being at the core of the dispute
  • defending a multi-party cartel follow-on damages claim in the Competition Appeal Tribunal relating to the supply of automotive bearingsGeoff sits on the committee of TIPLO (The Intellectual Property Lawyers Association) and is a member of INTA (International Trade Mark Association), CITMA (Chartered Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys) and BASL (British Association of Sports Lawyers). He speaks regularly on IP related topics and has had a book published on brand protection entitled ‘Logos & No-Gos’. In his spare time, he is also a published author of a children’s novel and a book about America.