Professor Lionel Bently

Photo of Professor Lionel Bently

BA; Honorary KC

Professorial Fellow; Member of the College Council
Herchel Smith Professor of Intellectual Property Law


Professor Bently has been heavily involved in policy work at a national and Europe wide level. He was on the Copyright Expert Panel of the Strategic Advisory Board on Intellectual Property (2008-10) advising the UK Government about intellectual property. He led the team of researchers that advised the Gowers Committee reviewing Intellectual Property on Economics of Copyright Term Extension in relation to Sound Recordings (2006) and was part of the team that produced a report for HM Treasury on Models of Exploitation of Public Data by Trading Funds (2008). He was part of the "Wittem Group" of Copyright Scholars who worked up a proposed "European Copyright Code" (2005-2010), and (for 2015-16) is Chair of the Executive Committee of the European Copyright Society. He also led a team of internationally-rated professors for a project for the World Intellectual Property Organisation on Exclusions from Patentability and Exceptions to Patentee's Rights (2010), presented in October 2010 to the Standing Committee on Patents. He has spoken to the JURI Committee of the European Parliament on the issue of Copyright Term Extension (2008). Professor Bently is a qualified barrister (2009, IT), and a door tenant at 11 South Square, Gray's Inn, London. He has held visiting posts at the University of New South Wales, National University of Singapore, Columbia University and University of Toronto.


Professor Bently is an expert in all fields of intellectual property law (copyright, designs, trade marks, trade secrets, patents and geographical indications.) He has written widely on aspects of UK and European Intellectual Property. He is co-author (both with Brad Sherman) of Intellectual Property Law (Oxford, OUP, 2001; 2nd ed, 2004; 3rd ed 2008; 4th ed 2014) and The Making of Modern Intellectual Property Law - The British Experience, 1760-1911 (Cambridge: CUP, 1999). He is author of Between a Rock and a Hard Place: The Problems Facing Freelance Creators in the UK Media Market-Place (London: Institute of Employment Rights, 2002), and co-author of Gurry on Confidence: The Law of Confidential Information (Oxford: OUO, 2012). He is particularly interested in the history of intellectual property law in the UK and the former British Empire. He was co-director of the AHRC funded Primary Sources on Copyright in 5 jurisdictions, and one of the principal investigators on the HERA-funded project "Of authorship and Originality" (with the Universities of Bergen and Amsterdam) (2010-13).