A specialist and growing team of lawyers in the Birmingham office of DLA Piper has enjoyed a record year advising a wide range of clients on the protection and exploitation of their intellectual property.

Clients include a large number of local and multinational companies together with central and local government bodies. Led by partners Simon Jones on technology and sourcing and Marie McMorrow on the IP side, the team increased to 12 members in 2007.

Ms McMorrow said: "We are particularly proud of the work we have recently undertaken to support a number of household name clients develop and protect their brands on the national and international stage.

"For many businesses now, protection of brands and IP rights is a key element of their commercial security and also value in the marketplace."

Recent examples include advising Aga, the manufacturer of iconic cookers and other branded household goods, in a wide ranging programme of brand enforcement.

The team also worked for Smethwick-based Avery Berkel on the IP aspects of the company's disposal of its global retail weighing business to Illinois Tool Works of the US which included the granting of rights in the Avery Berkel brand.

Among a number of high profile brand-related deals the team acted on the acquisition by the Outdoor Group - owner of the Blacks and Millets retail chains - of the Mambo clothing brand and designs for surfwear in all European territories. Mr Jones and the tech-nology and sourcing team are advising on a range of technology and commercial contracts for a large number of clients in the financial services, education, retail and high tech manufacturing sectors together with a number of central government departments and a number of internationally recognised suppliers of IT systems and services.

Examples include DLA Piper's continuing work in connection with the Connecting for Health programme for the NHS which remains the world's largest-ever civil government ICT programme. Other highlights include advising in connection with the ICT requirements of the Olympic Delivery Authority and one of the country's largest charitable institutions.

Mr Jones said: "We have also developed a particular niche expertise in advising a number of clients in the financial services sector in connection with business process outsourcing arrangements and in connection with a wide range of commercial arrangements and security issues relating to the credit card industry.

"We have also advised on matters as diverse as the arrangements to design and manufacture a new car, mobile telephony services and a wide range of education related services."

And a major year of growth culminated in one team member being named Public Procurement Lawyer of the Year.

Steven Norris was identified by legal "bible" Chambers Directory as the best in the country in his specialist area. He joined DLA Piper in Birmingham in January 1999 and has built up a national regulated procurement practice.