Spotlight on our solicitors – Ed Kilner

19 November 2020 | Spotlight on our solicitors

Spotlight on our solicitors – Ed Kilner

Find out more about the people behind the advice in this new series of interviews with our solicitors. We catch up with Ed Kilner, our IP and commercial technology associate, who tells us about the football career he almost had and the benefits of Harper James’ unique culture.

How long have you worked at Harper James?

I joined the firm in March 2019.

What inspired you to practise law in the first place? Tell us about your legal career so far.

I was convinced that I would be Manchester United’s next star player, but then I realised that professional footballers were getting younger than me and that ship had probably sailed! Law appealed to me because there was the opportunity to combine detailed learning and applying technical knowledge in a useful, practical way. I qualified into the commercial department in Harrison Clark Rickerby working with Rob Cobley. Rob made the move to Harper James as commercial technology partner and I took the opportunity to join the team and experience something different.

How does working with Harper James compare with other firms you have worked at?

The atmosphere is brilliant, there are no internal politics and everyone is working together for the good of the clients. You can get on with the job and enjoy what you do and do it well. Allowing us to choose how we work is at the heart of the firm and this gives us a greater quality of life. As a firm we can be incredibly flexible, as demonstrated during the COVID-19 outbreak: it’s been business as usual, with little disruption to the way we work.

Define IP/commercial technology law in a sentence

It’s a really broad subject, but it comes down to giving a business as much security as possible while commercialising assets.

What’s the best piece of IP/commercial technology advice you could give a business?

Many of our clients are early stage start-ups and they have a lot going on during a busy and exciting period of growth. The advice I have is this: pause to reflect on your overall business strategy. Do you know what your assets are and what you need to do to protect and make the most of them?

What has been the proudest moment at Harper James/of your career so far?

I have been involved in some really interesting deals with tough negotiations. One deal that stands out for me was advising on a software integration contract for a software provider which traced movements of crowds in busy places like airports.

What do you do to unwind?

Running, reading, watching movies and cooking. At the moment I generally plan my life around watching the next Man United game.

Tell us a prediction for your practice area for 2021

There will be a boom for businesses selling more online technology, virtual events or facilitating communication between healthcare providers for example. Beyond that, legally much depends on when the world returns to normal life. We will see a move towards online platforms having a duty of care imposed against them in the wake of trolling on Instagram, and Facebook coming under pressure to protect its users against fake news. There are likely to be developments with more restrictive rules around the use of cookies on websites. An interesting conversation is set to take place between the Information Commissioner’s Office and advertising technology providers, about whether the adtech industry is doing enough to comply with data protection.

What advice would you give regarding the challenges businesses will be facing from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic?

We now know that an unthinkable situation like COVID-19 can happen. My advice to businesses would be to take a step back, check your contracts and establish whether they include a force majeure clause. Is a situation like COVID-19 covered?  

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