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Edward H. L. Playfair

Partner and Global Intellectual Property Team Leader

In service to my clients, I work hard to generate favorable outcomes that don’t initially look achievable. For example, if a trademark application faces a roadblock, I welcome the challenge of crafting and deploying multifaceted strategies to drive that application to the finish line. Yet sometimes I find that a simple and direct approach acts as the most effective way to solve problems. I respond quickly to clients’ inquiries, using succinct, clear communication that’s easily digestible.

Edward Playfair serves clients’ intellectual property needs across the nation and around the world with a three-pronged practice: He counsels them on their transactional, enforcement and monetization matters, drawing on years of experience as both an IP attorney and in his previous career as a business consultant. While Edward enjoys collaboration with clients, he also understands that many of them don’t want to micromanage. They want someone they can trust who they know has both their back and their brand’s back.

In his transactional practice, Edward helps clients roll out global brands, including trademark portfolio development and protection strategy. He partners with them to build brands, domestically and internationally, through trademark counseling, clearance, registration, and portfolio management. Edward also drafts privacy policies and website terms of use (including cost-effective localization and compliance in multiple jurisdictions), and he performs due diligence in corporate transactions, securities and mergers and acquisitions.

On the enforcement front, Edward works to protect intellectual property rights, including trademark infringement actions, opposition and cancelation proceedings. He also handles domain name disputes and anti-cybersquatting actions.

Regarding monetization matters, Edward manages all legal aspects of trademark licensing and has a particular focus on domestic and multinational franchise systems including disclosure, registration, operations manual, franchise and ancillary agreements, renewal, termination and enforcement of rights against rogue and former franchisees.

Clients say they value Edward’s creativity and flexibility in his approach. For example, in one trademark matter before the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), Edward realized he needed to attack a blocking registration from the side rather than head on. This less-obvious strategy worked – at about a quarter of the cost of the direct frontal approach.

Born in Australia, raised in the United Kingdom, and now living in the United States, Edward brings an international perspective to advising clients. He practiced international law in the United Kingdom and is admitted as a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of England and Wales. Multinational clients often turn to Edward because of this global experience and insight. They appreciate his ability to create and implement large, coordinated multijurisdictional strategies while ensuring that everything works together seamlessly, from one jurisdiction to the other, and not at odds with each other.

Edward also draws on his pre-legal career to bring a business mindset to his practice, having served as an independent consultant to The Coca-Cola Company on sponsorship and brand promotion initiatives at the XIX Olympic Winter Games, Salt Lake City 2002, and at The Masters golf tournament. He also worked as an appraiser and then-youngest auctioneer at Sotheby’s, specializing in the fields of sports antiques and military medals.

Edward serves as the firm’s Team Leader for the Intellectual Property Team.

My international experience and connections have afforded me the opportunity to advise clients who are active in more than 100 jurisdictions around the world.

Education

  • University of the West of England, L.P.C., 2005
  • University of the West of England, G.D.L., 2004
  • University of St. Andrews, M.A., 1995

Bar Admissions

  • Tennessee
  • England and Wales (non-practicing)

Professional Affiliations & Memberships

  • American Bar Association, Intellectual Property Law section and Forum on Franchising
  • International Trademark Association, former Enforcement Committee Member
  • International Franchise Association
  • Nashville Bar Association
  • Tennessee Bar Association
  • The Law Society - England and Wales
  • St. George's Kindergarten, former Board Member
  • St. George's Institute of Church and Cultural Life, former Advisory Committee Member
  • Regular charity auctioneer