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Professor Phillip Johnson

Professor Phillip Johnson

Professor of Law

School of Law and Politics

+44(0)29 2087 4575
1.24, Law Building, Museum Avenue, Cardiff, CF10 3AX
Media commentator


Phillip is the Professor of Commercial Law at Cardiff Law School. His main area of interest is intellectual property law, but he additionally has interests in legal history, sports and entertainment law, private international law and public law.

He is a practising barrister at the Intellectual Property Bar, and a member of the Irish Bar, the Californian Bar and the Washington DC Bar. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, and a Member of the American Bar Association as well as the Intellectual Property Bar Association. As an Appointed Person (tribunal judge), he hears appeals from the Intellectual Property Office on trade marks and design disputes. He is a member of the Advisory Council on National Records and Archives, which is chaired by the Master of the Rolls and which advises the Secretary of State on matters relating to access to public records and represents the public interest in deciding what records should be open or closed.

He has consulted to the UK Intellectual Property Office, the World Intellectual Property Organisation, foreign governments, as well as industry, and he has given expert evidence in foreign proceedings.

He studied law at the University of Durham before being called to the Bar of England and Wales, where he originally practised criminal law. Subsequently, he studied for an LL.M at Queen Mary, University of London and then for a Ph.D entitled Private International Law, Intellectual Property and the Internet. Whilst researching for his Ph.D he worked as a government lawyer advising the Patent Office (now the Intellectual Property Office). In this role he worked on implementing a number of Directives and Treaties in the field of intellectual property, including the Patent Law Treaty, EPC 2000, the Information Society Directive, the Enforcement Directive and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty. He also worked on the modernisation of the designs and patents rules as well as numerous references to the Court of Justice.

As a practising barrister, he has advised well-known fashion brands, pharmaceutical and agriculture companies, broadcasters and publishers as well as national newspapers and celebrity magazines.

He is an author of leading texts on patent law (The Modern Law of Patents), confidential information (Gurry on Breach of Confidence), internet issues (Gringras: The Laws of the Internet) and ambush marketing and sponsorship (Ambush Marketing and Brand Protection). He is also on the editorial board for the Journal of Intellectual Law and Practice, the Intellectual Property Quarterly and the Queen Mary Journal of Intellectual Property and has acted as a referee for law journals from around the world as well as for numerous University and other presses.

He is a Fellow of the European Law Institute, a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.  He has previously been a Visiting (Full) Professor at University College Dublin, and a Visiting Professor at Paris Nanterre and at the Jersey Law Institute, where he taught Jersey Constitutional Law. He has also been an examiner for the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys.
























Phillip is interested in supervising doctoral research in any area of intellectual property law, policy, history or practice and in relation to the commercial aspects of sports law.

Externally funded research

2013-5: The Business of Being an Author and What are Words Worth Now? research conducted for the Author's Licensing and Collecting Society. The interim findings were published in July 2014 and was reported by, amongst others, the BBC, the Guardian, the Daily Telegraph and the Evening Standard. The final report, along with an updated version of What are Words Worth Now?, was published in April 2015. The final findings were reported again by the BBC, the Daily Telegraph, the Guardian as well as, amongst others, the Independent.

2011-3 "The Impact of Lookalikes" research conducted for the Intellectual Property Office on lookalike products and consumer perceptions. The research was mentioned during the debates on the Intellectual Property Act 2014 in both the House of Lords and House of Commons. It was also mentioned in the subsequent consultation held by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills.

2010-2 The Automation of Invention Step research conducted for TELES

2006-10 The "Games at Large" Project, Chair of External Ethics Committee