03 Apr 2019

Luxury lawyers award night

Luxury awards showcased importance of IP protection issues and innovation at the annual Luxury Law Awards ceremony last night.


The annual Luxury Law Summit in London was held last night, bringing together over 300 leaders and executives from luxury brands, "including Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Gucci, Chanel, Prada, and Tiffany, and luxury conglomerates, such as Richemont, Kering and LVMH", explained Mary Heaney, CEO of the Luxury Law Alliance. The Luxury Law Awards recognises leaders in the practice of luxury law, and were formally presented at the ceremony by Natasha Fraser-Cavassoni, fashion author and journalist, whose recent ‘After Andy: Adventures in Warhol Land,’is a Warhol-themed memoir about her time in 1970s London, 1980s New York, and 1990s Paris.

IP highlighted

With IP protection issues a highlight of the summit agenda, it was appropriate that Matthew Bassiur, vice president and head of global intellectual-property enforcement at Alibaba Group, won the Luxury Law Innovator in IP Rights and Technology award. Mr Bassiur was recognised for his "extraordinary leadership in IP protection on an international level and his many accomplishments throughout a distinguished career in both the government and private sectors," said Fred Mostert, president of the Luxury Law Alliance. "I'm honored to receive this prestigious award representing Alibaba, and we thank the Luxury Law Alliance for its recognition of our IPR protection efforts," Mr Bassiur said. The Luxury IP Counsel award, sponsored by Hung, Au Yeung & Partners, Bennett Jones and GDLSK, went to Riccardo Frediani, group intellectual property director at Kering. He is recognised for his outstanding management of IP assets and contribution to brand protection.  Mr Frediani is known for his leadership in the IP field and keen understanding of the IP ecosystem and is celebrated by his peers in the international IP community as a thought-leader and as a hands-on, pragmatic and dynamic problem-solver.

Star counsel

Luxury Law Rising Star of the year, sponsored by McCarthy Tetrault, went to Emma Anthony, Head of Legal at Net-A-Porter. As a rising star, Ms Anthony has been described as ‘a role model for in-house lawyers’. She has had a keen eye on the luxury marketplace from early in her career with internships at Harvey Nichols and Jimmy Choo.  Despite initially training for the bar, Emma opted to move to private practice and in-house, preferring business over black letter law.  A move to Selfridges fine-tuned this business acumen and understanding of the luxury marketplace and after five years, she moved on to head up the legal team at Net-A-Porter. Luxury Business General Counsel of the Year, sponsored by Scarpellini, went to Remi Leonforte, General Counsel at Kering Group Operations and Kering Italia. Besides being an outstanding professional, Mr Leonforte is praised for his team leadership, skills in managing a diversified, international legal group and ability to interact effectively with the stakeholders higher in the organisation.  He is also recognised for his ability to build a team and achieve outstanding achievements in terms of business results and internal clients’ satisfaction.  His team admire his ability to combine legal work with the company’s business needs and to work on different deals at the same time.

Two awards

Farfetch won two awards for the Luxury Deal of the Year, sponsored by Kemp Little, and Luxury Business In-House Legal Team of the Year, sponsored by BFKN. This technology fashion company was created 10 years ago with the aim of “redefining how fashion is bought and sold” through technology, data and innovation.  External advisers were consistent in their praise for the systematic and thorough preparation by the legal team, their relentless drive, innovative thinking, calmness under pressure and the team spirit throughout the process.  In 2018, a New York Stock Exchange IPO valued Farfetch at USD$5.8bn sealing its place as the Amazon of luxury fashion. The team award reflects that in just five years, the Farfetch team has expanded from a solo in-house lawyer to 18 lawyers in China, Russia, Portugal and the US. Its lawyers are embedded as business advisors, operating front and centre of strategically and operationally critical deals and company developments in the midst of a hyper-growth business. Not only are they integral in all business, strategy and structural decisions, they are valued for being front and centre of strategically and operationally critical deals and company developments, whilst continuing to support a hyper-growth business. 2018 has been an extremely busy year with a range of transactions but this super-slick team delivered on every score making them our In-house business team of the year.

Sustainable businesses

Luxury Sustainability 2019, sponsored by Fladgate, was won by Tiffany & Co recognising their significant contribution to sustainability. The luxury jeweler recently announced new programme to share the origin of its newly sourced, registered diamonds, Tiffany & Co is also planning to give customers insight into the craftsmanship journey by sharing information on its polishing and workshop locations. Tiffany & Co has been praised by advocacy group Human Rights Watch for taking significant steps towards responsible sourcing in its #BehindtheBling campaign. Luxury Business Leader 2019, sponsored by K&L Gates, went to Edward Enninful, editor-in-chief of British Vogue, who has spearheaded a revolution at this century-old business. By repositioning it to make it more reflective of a global audience, he has created a buzz and cemented his position as one of the world’s top influencers in the fashion business.

Law firms

Luxury Law Firm of the Year – Global, sponsored by Georg Jenson, was awarded to Mishcon de Reya for taking an innovative approach to advising its clients with the launch of a brand management service, a novel innovation by a law firm. Operating in ten international locations through its network, the new service addresses the growing complexity that brand owners face in the global marketplace as creative, commercial, regulatory, digital and legal overlap. Not only is it ground-breaking territory for the UK legal sector, it is a further step helping brand owners of luxury brand owners extract value from their brand by exploring new products, sectors, regions or partnerships. Luxury Law Firm of the Year – Independent, sponsored by Killik & Co, was awarded to Cervieri Monsuárez & Asociados, who represents 6 of the 10 most valued luxury brands according to Forbes 2018.  It was the first law firm in the country to develop its own online monitoring system for all of Latin America, which in recent years has allowed the removal of millions of infringement publications from ecommerce platforms and social networks.

Lifetime award

The final award of the evening was the Lifetime Achievement in Luxury Law, sponsored by Taylor Wessing, which was awarded to Anne Gundelfinger, former head of global IP at Swarovski. Ms Gundelfinger was praised for her substantial contribution to the development of luxury law, to the protection of the luxury brands and to the growth of successful businesses in the luxury sector. She is recognised as one of the most influential IP lawyers in tech and luxury internationally, and one of a small number of IP lawyers who has helped shape the international trademark bar.