Alex looks to make his mark | 15 May 08

A NORTH lawyer will be rubbing shoulders with representatives from some of the world’s biggest companies at an international conference next week.

Alex Shiel, head of intellectual property at Ward Hadaway in Newcastle, will be one of more than 7,000 people from 130 countries attending the annual meeting of INTA, the International Trademark Association, in Berlin.

Companies including Coca-Cola, Sony and Google will be represented at the event, which is the biggest brand and trademark conference in the world.

Mr Shiel is recognised as one of the North’s leading legal authorities on trademarks and has already lined up meetings at INTA 2008 with agents and representatives from countries including South Africa, the USA, Canada, Poland and India.

He said: “This is a real must-attend event for people working with brands and trademarks and should be a fascinating conference.

“I’m looking forward to hearing more about the latest issues in the sector and meeting fellow professionals from around the world to get their views on how the industry is developing and what challenges await.

“With more and more companies in the North-East looking to use their brands and trademarks to expand on the global stage, I am sure this will prove to be a very useful and worthwhile visit.”

As head of intellectual property at Ward Hadaway, Alex Shiel helped to develop Ideas-lab, an innovative partnership with Northumbria University designed to help unlock the multi-million pound potential of the North-East’s hidden business treasures.

Under the project, experts from the university’s school of design and Ward Hadaway’s intellectual property team were invited in to companies and organisations to examine ways to make the most of their technology, processes and ideas.

More than a dozen companies have had an initial assessment from the Ideas-lab team on the commercial potential of their various technologies with two companies - Autopoietic Systems of Birtley and Blyth-based NAREC – being helped to the next stage of development to make their ideas into real money-spinners.

Independent legal directory Chambers & Partners described Alex as being “singled out by peers and clients who characterise him as ‘an effective commercial lawyer and a great person’.”

INTA 2008 takes place in Berlin from May 17 to 21.