People Sara Ashby

Sara Ashby


Sara heads our award-winning Intellectual Property team and has over 25 years’ experience as a specialist IP litigator. “Strategic and tenacious, Sara has an enviable track record fighting design, patent and trade mark cases of all kinds.” (Chambers)

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

My practice is intentionally broad, covering disputes and strategy across all IP rights. I have experience conducting major patent litigation across a wide range of technical fields, handling significant design and trade mark disputes, and assisting clients in formulating portfolio strategy. I started my professional career as a general commercial litigator, and I think many clients value that broader strategic approach, particularly when dealing with complex problems which may include multiple and overlapping rights, contractual matters and non-standard IP disputes.”

Sara is heavily involved in thought leadership in intellectual property law and procedure. She is President of AIPPI UK, the leading non-government organisation for research into and formulation of policy for intellectual property, and a member of the UK Government’s Expert Trade Advisory Group for IP. She was an assessor to Lord Justice Jackson in his review of fixed recoverable litigation costs, a contentious area of law reform.

“Intellectual property laws have a global economic impact and they are constantly evolving. It is critical that as practitioners we contribute to safeguarding and improving IP law, and ensure that all views and interests are represented. As President of AIPPI UK, I am able to contribute to policy work that has an impact in the UK and internationally, and the UK group provides valuable training events to our membership.”

Sara is also and has been for many years 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 is a member of the Diploma’s Management Committee.

Sara speaks and writes regularly on intellectual property law, including having contributed chapters to Sweet & Maxwell’s EU Trade Mark Handbook and Community Designs Handbook, Wolter Kluwer’s publication on Design Rights, and publishing articles in leading IP journals, such as Journal for Intellectual Property Law and Practice and European Intellectual Property Review.