Two Midlands intellectual property teams have won an IP contract with a major manufacturer after beating stiff competition from national firms.

IP lawyers at Howes Percival and chartered patent attorneys at Withers & Rogers won the contract to protect and improve the IP portfolio of Richard Burbidge, a 142-year-old business based in Shropshire which designs and manufactures interior and exterior timber products and mouldings.

They won the contract in the teeth of competition from many other firms, including national giant Eversheds.

The Howes Percival team, led by partner Matthew Talbot, will cover the acquisition and protection of trademarks and design rights and any litigation necessary. Withers & Rogers, a firm of patent and trade mark attorneys with offices in London, Leamington Spa and Bristol, will advise on patent work.

The Richard Burbidge product portfolio runs to hundreds of items, each of which needs varying degrees of protection from copying and other design infringements. A steady stream of new products requires a variety of IP activity, including patent applications and design registration.

Josh Burbidge is head of customer and marketing services at Richard Burbidge, the firm set up by his great great grandfather Henry in 1867. He said: “We looked at a number of different firms and decided that Howes Percival and Withers & Rogers would give the best service and great value for money.

“We originate a lot of our designs and have to keep a constant eye on others in the market who are sometimes tempted to copy what we produce. It means we have to stay one step ahead and keep them in check. Defending our brand and our IP is crucial.”

Mr Talbot said: “Richard Burbidge produces great designs and that design integrity needs protecting and defending. We are delighted to have won the company’s IP business and look forward to helping Richard Burbidge maintain its market leading position.”

Karl Barnfather, partner and patent attorney at Withers & Rogers, said: “In the current economic climate it is even more important for companies to pay close attention to protecting their innovation. Such innovation is what gives businesses such as Richard Burbidge their competitive edge. Protecting their work effectively will enable them to hold on to market share through the downturn, while positioning the business on the front foot, ready for the upturn.”

Howes Percival and Withers & Rogers won the work after a competitive process, beating several other firms to the work including Eversheds and the incumbent HLBB Shaw. Richard Burbidge designs and manufactures timber products for use in the home and garden. Its products include stairways and skirtings.