About us

  1. 1930

    Siegmund Sokal

    Venner Shipley is a modern and innovative firm of European patent and trade mark attorneys and litigators with a history stretching back over more than 80 years.

    The origins of the firm go back to the 1930s when Siegmund Sokal established a patent agency practice in London and built up a significant portfolio of German clients. Siegmund died in 1945 and his widow offered the practice for sale. In the immediate post-war years, this did not seem to the profession at large to represent a great business opportunity.

  2. 1947

    Post-war rebuilding

    Harold Venner purchased the practice in 1947 and set about resurrecting pre-war clients and finding new ones. Early clients were ZF Friedrichshafen AG (the manufacturers of ZF gearboxes) and, when the German Democratic Republic was formed in 1949, VEB Carl Zeiss Jena, the East German part of the pre-war Carl Zeiss. Through the 1950s, before the advent of the European Patent Office, clients were largely domestic and European, with some from the USA. Harold's son, Alan Venner joined the firm in 1961 and the 1960s proved to be a period of client development. For example, Harold Venner acted on behalf of Rael-Brook Ltd to patent the first drip-dry shirt.

  3. 1966

    Warwick Shipley

    In 1966, Warwick Shipley, a chemist, joined Harold in partnership and the practice continued to grow throughout the 1970s. Alan Venner became a partner in 1978 and there has been a Venner as a partner in the firm right up until late 2008 when Alan retired.

  4. 2004

    Change and expansion

    In 2004, the firm became a UK limited liability partnership. In 2006, we opened our second office in Cambridge.

  5. 2016

    More Expansion!

    Over the last decade, the firm has continued to evolve. Our emphasis has been on developing a breadth of service for clients and this has inevitably led to growth and change. 2014 saw the opening of two new offices in Guildford and Munich. In 2015 we opened our fifth office in Manchester. 

    This growth has led to us being one of the largest firms in both the UK and Europe – to date we have 25 partners and 45 other fee earners all of whom are assisted by over 40 support staff. We continue to be ranked among the best patent and trade mark firms and are proud of our international reach.

    In 2016 our commitment to offering our clients the best service possible has seen us bring in a team of lawyers to enable us to provide the full range of dispute resolution and legal services.