11 Nov 2020

The Intellectual Property (IP) team at law firm Womble Bond Dickinson (WBD) is assisting Grafton LSR Ltd, the company owning the Bloodhound land speed record project. This is a UK-based project aiming to break the world land speed record using the most advanced straight-line racing car ever built.

The project was rescued from administration by Yorkshire-based businessman Ian Warhurst in December 2018 when he acquired the assets. The project uses pioneering new technologies in engineering design, materials and computational fluid dynamics, and successfully completed a well-publicised high speed testing programme in the Kalahari desert at the end of 2019. The car reached a speed of 628mph (1010 km per hour) producing sufficient data to arm the team with the knowledge required to enable them to complete final developments on the car and attempt the record in the Kalahari desert in 2022.

The project is due to be featured this weekend (Saturday 14 November) in a prime-time documentary on Channel 4 at 6.00pm UK time, detailing the team's achievements during the testing programme. Filmed in the Kalahari Desert in South Africa and supported by local drone operators, 'Building The World's Fastest Car' follows the highs and lows of the Bloodhound LSR team as it runs the car on the desert racetrack.

The WBD team, led by partner and head of IP James Love, is advising Bloodhound LSR on trade mark protection matters. James commented:

"As a firm with a strong focus on innovation and with clients that are amongst the most innovative businesses in the world, we are thrilled to be working with the Bloodhound team to ensure the name and brand of this unique UK-based project is safeguarded. We look forward to watching the Channel 4 documentary and the amazing achievements of the Bloodhound team as they continue to push the boundaries of physics and human endeavour. This project is a celebration of the pioneering and ground breaking initiatives happening across the country and enhances the UK's position as a hive of innovation."

Rick Sturge, Grafton LSR Ltd and project CFO, added:

"We're very grateful to the WBD team for their first rate IP expertise and ongoing support to the project. With the Channel 4 documentary airing this weekend, a global audience will see just what the Bloodhound car and our unique team are capable of achieving. Our key focus is now to secure sufficient funding by early 2021 to ensure we can plan the remainder of the project with absolute certainty. This is the chance to inspire a generation about the magic of science and technology, to promote Great British engineering on a global stage, and to break a 23 year old world record."

Servicing the firm's eight UK offices and working with its 19 US offices on cross-border matters, the WBD IP unit boasts a highly-regarded team of specialist IP solicitors and chartered trade mark attorneys. Last year WBD bolstered its IP presence in the UK through the acquisition of highly ranked practice James Love Legal, and in the US, through the acquisition of Blakely Sokoloff, the well-known Californian patent boutique.

WBD was recently shortlisted for this year's IP award at the Yorkshire Legal Awards. After winning in 2018, WBD was once again nominated on the back of its strong IP expertise, excellent client care and commercial approach. Some of the team's most recent highlights, to name just a few, include: advising Leeds-based manufacturer GEOfabrics on the successful enforcement of its patent against Fiberweb Geosynthetics in the High Court; acting for technology firm Plastic Energy in negotiating its licensing programme with the world's major oil and gas producers; and being independently ranked in the top 35 in the UK of leading EU trade mark filers.

Bloodhound LSR