Redd Solicitors Telephone+44 (0) 20 7776 4760

Sara Ashby


Sara is a founding partner of Redd, with over 20 years’ litigation experience, and recognised since Redd’s inception as a ‘leading individual’ for intellectual property work.  The legal directories praise her for being  “bright, pragmatic and sensible”, “prodigiously intelligent and a really tenacious litigator”,  someone who “will always go the extra mile” for her clients and is “a pleasure to work with”.  

Sara has a broad intellectual property litigation practice across all IP rights, with a significant patent practice across a wide range of technical fields, alongside her designs, trade marks and copyright disputes work.  She has particular experience and interest in designs law and parallel import matters and, having started life as a general commercial litigator, is particularly adept at dealing with contractual matters and ‘non-standard’ IP disputes.  

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

Sara is Honorary Secretary of AIPPI UK (the British Group of the leading international non-government organisation for research into and formulation of policy for the law relating to the protection of intellectual property) and involved in the international work of AIPPI as secretary of AIPPI’s designs committee.  She is also Honorary Secretary of the British Group of UNION-IP (the UNION of European Patent Practitioners), and on INTA’s Parallel Imports Committee.  

She is 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 a member of the Committee that runs the course. 

She is a contributor to both the Community Designs Handbook and the Community Trade Marks Handbook on the subject of enforcement.

Recent talks and articles have included:

  • October 2016, FICPI 16th Open Forum, St Petersburg, Russia: ‘Unauthorised use of trade marks on the Internet: how can trade mark law help?’
  • ‘The UK Supreme Court and the Trunki case: missed opportunities, mysteries, and misunderstood’, published (2016) 38 E.I.P.R, Issue 9 (European Intellectual Property Review)
  • March 2016, Cambridge CIPLP seminar (Centre for Intellectual Property & Information Law): ‘The scope of designs’
  • January 2016, Lexis Nexis webinar: ‘Enforcing copyright across Europe’
  • September 2015, AIPPI Congress, Rio de Janiero: ‘Industrial designs: form over function?’


      The Legal 500 - The Clients Guide to Law Firms       


  • Representing Elkamet, a German automotive component company, in proceedings for unjustified threats, declarations of non-infringement and invalidity, adverse glass company Saint-Gobain.
  • Representing Novartis in parallel import litigation.
  • Representing Deutsche Börse and its subsidiary in its claim for copyright infringement and breach of contract in relation to news services offered by Realtime Analysis & News Limited.
  • Representing a variety of clients in the field of medical devices in relation to patent infringement and validity matters.
  • Acting for Leica Camera, a leading German optical instruments company, in patent infringement and validity proceedings in the High Court and the Court of Appeal (Swarovski v Leica Camera – riflescopes).
  • Acting for the claimant Oka Direct in trade mark infringement proceedings against Occa before the IPEC.
  • Acting for Agent Provocateur in UK and Community unregistered design infringement proceedings before the IPEC concerning bikini designs.
  • Acting for a major computer game publisher in systematic enforcement and policing strategy to stamp out infringements both of copyright computer game content as well as unauthorised merchandising of the brand concerned.
  • Acting for Ensus Limited in patent entitlement proceedings before the IPEC (Elsworth Ethanol v Ensus – bioethanol production).
  • Acting for a major software house in serial litigation over six years, for trade mark and copyright infringement and passing off against, for example, systemic parallel imports from outside Europe; including a damages inquiry and preliminary issues concerning competition law defences.
  • Acting for claimants Titon Hardware in patent and design infringement proceedings before the High Court (ventilation heat exchanger units).
  • Acting for the international publisher Harlequin in High Court proceedings relating to registered trade mark and copyright infringement in the context of the unauthorised reproduction and distribution of Mills & Boon eBook titles.
  • Acting for Earlex Limited in its successful defence of patent infringement and invalidity proceedings in the High Court (Wagner v Earlex - HVLP spray gun technology).
  • Acting in respect of a claim for misuse of confidential information in the context of a patent and know how licence for insulation materials.
  • Acting for the claimants in proceedings against a competitor and ex employees for breaches of privacy and confidential information as a result of email interception.
  • Acting for the successful claimant Boegli-Gravures, a Swiss company, in patent infringement and validity proceedings in the High Court and the Court of Appeal against Russian defendants (Boegli-Gravures v Darsail – embossing).
  • Acting for the claimant pharmaceutical companies in ten years of leading parallel import litigation through High Court, Court of Appeal and two references to the Court of Justice of the European Union (Boehringer Ingelheim and Glaxo Wellcome v Dowelhurst and Swingward).
  • Acting for the successful defendants in the leading Court of Appeal authority on the test for obviousness (Pozzoli -v- BDMO – CD packaging).
  • Acting in various IP contractual disputes: including on an expedited trial basis for the licensor of a major ski-wear brand in a dispute with its former licensee; for a licensee of a consumer product brand in a dispute concerning wrongful termination of the licence by the licensor; concerning ownership of goodwill between principal and (UK based) distributors in the clothing sector.
  • Urgent interim injunction matters have included: preventing the launch of branded toothpaste products into the UK market; forcing the name change of a new suncream product in advance of the summer selling season; clearing the shelves of a national retailer of its Christmas stock of soft toys which would otherwise have destroyed the premium value of products made to a series of Community designs.

Sara studied law at Oxford University before training with Gouldens, a commercial law firm based in the City of London.  Admitted as a solicitor in 1996, Sara started life as a general commercial litigator, but soon developed a broad IP disputes practice and become a core member of Gouldens’ highly regarded intellectual property team.  Sara stayed with the firm through its merger with Jones Day in 2003, undertaking a six month period of secondment to a busy and well respected trade marks department of a major pharmaceutical company along the way, before founding Redd with partners Simon Chalkley and Charters Macdonald-Brown in 2004.

She is ranked as a leader in her field by the legal directories.   

  • Who’s Who Legal (Trade Marks) (2016).
  • Who’s Who Legal (Patents) (2016).
  • "very approachable, hardworking and responsive, and is really strong in the design sector." - IAM Patent 1000 (2016).
  • "She gives timely and thoughtful advice on suitable options and alternative routes to manage disputes and the overall negotiation process." - Chambers UK (2016).
  • an "experienced and tenacious litigator" - Legal 500 (2015).
  • "She's very proactive, lively, knowledgeable and practical - exactly what I want in a lawyer." – Chambers UK (2015). 
  • "capable and pragmatic" - IAM Patent 1000 (2015).
  • "a reassuring presence on protracted disputes" - WTR 1000 (2015).
  • “does work of the highest quality and is going from strength to strength” - IAM Patent 1000 (2014).  
  • “will always go the extra mile” - Chambers Global (2014).   
  • “bright, pragmatic and sensible” - WTR 1000 (2014).
  • “a razor sharp litigator and a good strategist” - Legal 500 (2013).
  • "first-class"  - Chambers & Partners (2013).
  • “prodigiously intelligent and a really tenacious litigator”  - IAM Patent 1000 (2012).
  • Who’s Who Legal (Trade Marks) (2014).
  • IAM IP Star (Intellectual Property) (2014).

t: +44 (0) 20 7776 4760