Tech in the Thames Valley

Sweet Valley High-tech: a look at Osborne Clarke's tech work


“Slough's a big place, and when I'm finished with Slough there's Reading, Aldershot, Bracknell... you know. I've got Didcot, Yateley.”

– David Brent, The Office

The winds of innovation blow strongly through the Thames Valley. As the fertile seat of the UK's knowledge-based industries – that is, IT and life sciences – it's perhaps the UK's answer to the Silicon Valley, albeit with less sunshine and more self-deprecation. Forget London; the towns that flank the M4 are home to a whole load of high-tech companies: Microsoft has its UK headquarters in Reading, as does IT giant Oracle, whose founder Larry Ellison is now the third-richest person in the US. Global networking company Cisco is also a Reading resident. Vodafone's main office is over in the Berkshire market town of Newbury, while O2 is based in Slough (along with Mars – indeed, the first ever Mars Bar was developed here). Finally, Hutchinson 3G – operator of the 3 network – has its base in Maidenhead.

Osborne Clarke is in the thick of digital business in the Thames Valley. The firm recently advised the shareholders of Precise Media, which monitors and analyses how brands are doing in the media, on that company's sale to Kantar, part of advertising giant WPP. It also helped cloud technology experts NewVoiceMedia raise cash from a number of venture capital funds. (Given the 2014 theft by hackers of nude pictures which various celebrities had stored on their iCloud accounts, this type of deal raises cybersecurity issues too.) OC's also helped Bracknell-based Redwood Technologies, a major supplier of network services to the telecoms industry and government, on various contractual, property, payment systems and distribution issues in recent years.

Another company located in Bracknell is Daler-Rowney, maker of artists' materials. OC regularly helps the enterprise out with its IP portfolio and trade mark disputes. Going back to the tech sector, the firm recently represented Korean electronics giant LG – another Slough resident, for the record – on compliance with the Bribery Act and competition rules and a number of commercial disputes.