John Hornby


John Hornby is a solicitor advocate with a Natural Sciences degree from the University of Cambridge. John started as a barrister in 1984, spent 20 years at a magic circle law firm (14 as a partner) and has become recognised as one of the United Kingdom’s most highly respected intellectual property lawyers. Through his involvement in concurrent overseas patent litigation (including in Germany, the Netherlands and the USA) and by supporting overseas lawyers in other jurisdictions, John understands the differences in law and practice in many key jurisdictions. More recently, John has leveraged his contentious and non-contentious experience to act as a consultant to various life sciences companies and associate firms throughout Europe, Asia and the United States.

Contentious Work

During his career, John has conducted a large number of intellectual property disputes in the English Patents Court, supported and advised in relation to concurrent foreign litigation and played a significant role in many European Patent Office proceedings. His patent cases have involved a variety of technologies in industry sectors including life sciences, chemicals, telecommunications, electronics and textiles. He is experienced in trademark strategy, opposition and litigation, as well as alternative dispute resolution work, including international arbitration.

Commercial Work

John has advised numerous companies, from multinationals to start-ups, on matters in which IPRs had a significant value. This has ranged from advising a US biotech company on the purchase of a multi-jurisdictional patent portfolio to assessing current, sometimes multi-jurisdictional, patent litigation in which businesses were involved while the subject of a takeover bid. He is highly skilled at drafting and has prepared numerous commercial agreements of many different types.


1979 – 1982
University of Cambridge.
Natural Sciences, BA (Hons).

1982 - 1983
City University, London.
Diploma in Law.

1983 - 1984
Council of Legal Education, Holborn.
Bar Professional Training Course.
Called to the Bar in 1984.

The Law Society of England and Wales.
Solicitors’ Final Examinations.
Admitted as a Solicitor in 1989.

Career History

2006 - 2018
Intellectual Property Consultant, London.

1992 - 2006
Partner, Clifford Chance LLP, London.

1986 – 1992
Associate, Clifford Turner/Clifford Chance.

1984 – 1986
Barrister, Sir Robin Jacob’s set of chambers.