Sara Ashby

Sara is a partner in the intellectual property team, with over 20 years’ litigation experience. She is recognised by the legal directories as a ‘leading individual’ for intellectual property work.

Sara has a broad intellectual property litigation practice across all IP rights, with a significant patent practice across a wide range of technical fields, alongside her designs, trade marks and copyright disputes work. She has particular experience and interest in designs law and parallel import matters and, having started life as a general commercial litigator, is particularly adept at dealing with contractual matters and non-standard IP disputes.

Sara litigates in the High Court, including under the pilot Shorter Trial Scheme, the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court (IPEC), the registries (the UK IPO and the EUIPO) and the Court of Appeal, and has taken cases to Europe’s highest court, the Court of Justice of the European Union (the ECJ or CJEU), as well as coordinating with parallel litigation in other jurisdictions.

Sara is Honorary Secretary of AIPPI UK and involved in the international work of AIPPI as secretary of AIPPI’s designs committee. She is also Honorary Secretary of the British Group of UNION-IP, and on INTA’s Parallel Imports Committee.

She is heavily involved in the Oxford University Post Graduate Diploma in Intellectual Property Law and Practice, lecturing on litigation, tutoring and examining on designs and copyright, and a member of the Committee that runs the course.

She is a contributor to both the Community Designs Handbook and the Community Trade Marks Handbook on the subject of enforcement.

Prior to joining Wiggin Sara was at Redd, where she was one of the founding partners, having originally trained at Gouldens.

  • Experience

    • Representing Elkamet, a German automotive component company, in proceedings for unjustified threats, declarations of non-infringement and invalidity, adverse glass company Saint-Gobain.
    • Representing Novartis in parallel import litigation.
    • Representing Deutsche Börse and its subsidiary in its claim for copyright infringement and breach of contract in relation to news services offered by Realtime Analysis & News Limited.
    • Representing a variety of clients in the field of medical devices in relation to patent infringement and validity matters.
    • Acting for Leica Camera, a leading German optical instruments company, in patent infringement and validity proceedings in the High Court and the Court of Appeal (Swarovski v Leica Camera – riflescopes).
    • Acting for the claimant Oka Direct in trade mark infringement proceedings against Occa before the IPEC.
    • Acting for Agent Provocateur in UK and Community unregistered design infringement proceedings before the IPEC concerning bikini designs.
    • Acting for a major computer game publisher in systematic enforcement and policing strategy to stamp out infringements both of copyright computer game content as well as unauthorised merchandising of the brand concerned.
    • Acting for Ensus Limited in patent entitlement proceedings before the IPEC (Elsworth Ethanol v Ensus – bioethanol production).
    • Acting for a major software house in serial litigation over six years, for trade mark and copyright infringement and passing off against, for example, systemic parallel imports from outside Europe; including a damages inquiry and preliminary issues concerning competition law defences.
    • Acting for claimants Titon Hardware in patent and design infringement proceedings before the High Court (ventilation heat exchanger units).
    • Acting for the international publisher Harlequin in High Court proceedings relating to registered trade mark and copyright infringement in the context of the unauthorised reproduction and distribution of Mills & Boon eBook titles.
    • Acting for Earlex Limited in its successful defence of patent infringement and invalidity proceedings in the High Court (Wagner v Earlex – HVLP spray gun technology).
    • Acting in respect of a claim for misuse of confidential information in the context of a patent and know how licence for insulation materials.
    • Acting for the claimants in proceedings against a competitor and ex employees for breaches of privacy and confidential information as a result of email interception.
    • Acting for the successful claimant Boegli-Gravures, a Swiss company, in patent infringement and validity proceedings in the High Court and the Court of Appeal against Russian defendants (Boegli-Gravures v Darsail – embossing).
    • Acting for the claimant pharmaceutical companies in ten years of leading parallel import litigation through High Court, Court of Appeal and two references to the Court of Justice of the European Union (Boehringer Ingelheim and Glaxo Wellcome v Dowelhurst and Swingward).
    • Acting for the successful defendants in the leading Court of Appeal authority on the test for obviousness (Pozzoli v BDMO – CD packaging).
    • Acting in various IP contractual disputes: including on an expedited trial basis for the licensor of a major ski-wear brand in a dispute with its former licensee; for a licensee of a consumer product brand in a dispute concerning wrongful termination of the licence by the licensor; concerning ownership of goodwill between principal and (UK based) distributors in the clothing sector.
    • Urgent interim injunction matters have included: preventing the launch of branded toothpaste products into the UK market; forcing the name change of a new suncream product in advance of the summer selling season; clearing the shelves of a national retailer of its Christmas stock of soft toys which would otherwise have destroyed the premium value of products made to a series of Community designs.