Patrick Arben helps clients to investigate and resolve their disputes and manage risk quickly, commercially and cost-effectively. Patrick was recognised in 2017's prestigious Acritas Stars database as a 'star lawyer'.
The law of IT is a fast-moving discipline that is constantly responding to developments in the ways information technology are delivered and used. Software engineering contracts, IT and business process outsourcing contracts, data hosting agreements and software licences are often high value business-critical projects, and so when disputes and disagreements arise both suppliers and customers need an adviser who can work with them to maximise their legal and commercial leverage. That way, where possible and desirable, parties can keep a project or relationship on track and resolve any dispute with a minimum of cost and disruption to their business.
Patrick is a partner in the commercial litigation team and specialises in the technology sector. He leads Gowling WLG's IT & Outsourcing Dispute Resolution team. His practice encompasses a variety of specialisms within the technology sector, including software engineering and systems integration projects, IT and BPO outsourcing, software licensing, data security and data protection.
Patrick is also head of the firm's Corporate Investigations practice. If a business thinks it may have been a victim of a fraud or misconduct it needs to act, sometimes very quickly, in order to understand what has happened, to put a stop to any wrongdoing and identify the culprits, be they internal or external. Steps then need to be taken to recover any assets, manage its reputation and liaise with regulators and law enforcement agencies to address any regulatory and criminal issues that may arise.
Patrick leads a cross-disciplinary team that is experienced in undertaking high profile and sensitive investigations in both the public and private sector. Ensuring that every investigation is tailored to the client's needs and objectives from the outset - be they asset recovery, reputation management, regulatory compliance or to improve corporate governance by ensuring that the lessons from any mistakes are learned.
Patrick worked on a highly complicated, multinational dispute involving a high-profile hedge fund. Patrick's clients were software developers who had been instrumental in developing the software and algorithms used by their former employers. They were caught in the fall-out from a dispute between the fund's founding partners, and as a result had lost millions of pounds of income and bonuses, and stood to lose more as a result of spurious legal claims made against them over the quality of the software they had developed.
In this highly technical and at times visceral dispute Patrick's team wrestled with issues of law and fact, and after numerous successful interim hearings before the Technology and Construction Court, were able to force their opponent's hand. Under sustained pressure they caved in, agreeing to pay Patrick's clients the sums owed.
Patricks acts for both the buyers and sellers of IT systems, services and software in both the private and public sectors. He also acts for public and private sector organisations who need corporate investigation and Bribery Act compliance advice.
His clients include Capgemini, CGI, CACI, Verint and SCC.
Patrick helped a global publishing house resolve through arbitration a complex dispute over the failed design, build and implementation of a new highly automated distribution centre. The case turned on the quality of the software managing the centre and difficulties in integrating the software with our client's existing back office systems.
He settled at mediation a £50 million damages claim for a global IT services provider. The customers claim focused on alleged performance problems experienced in the bespoke CRM system developed by the client. Early use of technical and forensic accounting evidence allowed Patrick to persuade the other side that its claim was technically unsound and vastly inflated.
He assisted a local authority with an early exit from a 15-year £300 million IT and BPO contract, devising a strategy that enabled the client to avoid any liability for early termination charges.
Patrick helped a supplier of contact centre management software to recover very substantial unpaid software licence fees after an audit of one of its major customers revealed that it might be very substantially under-licensed. By making an application to the court for pre-action disclosure against the customer, Patrick was able to secure the evidence that demonstrated the scale and extent of the under-licensing and forced the customer to come to the table at an early stage in order to reach a negotiated settlement.
He advised a British university on UK Bribery Act compliance in connection with the provision of donations to fund a research project by Chinese-based pharmaceutical businesses.
He forced a claimant to abandon its litigation against his client, which was facing a claim for substantial damages for referral fees for sales of its hardware allegedly introduced by the claimant, a value-added reseller. Patrick was able to show that it was likely the contract had been fabricated by the claimant in conjunction with a former employee of our client, which persuaded the claimant to discontinue its litigation following a successful mediation.
He assisted an automotive manufacturer in recovering its data in a dispute with its legacy data hosting provider. This was a bet-the-company dispute, where the client needed to recover its data in a structured and orderly way in order to transition to its new provider in a way that ensured business continuity. Ambiguities in the contract meant the legacy provider was seeking to hold the client's data to ransom so as to extract inflated charges for exit assistance. By bringing proceedings for an injunction for delivery up of the data the legacy provider was forced to compromise and an acceptable negotiated settlement was reached.
He led an investigation for a not-for-profit organisation into the reasons why a recently-acquired subsidiary had become insolvent and had to be rescued by his client. The investigation focused on management failings and in particular looked at possible fraudulent conspiracies between former employees and third party providers. The objectives of the investigation were to recover any sums lost as a result of wrongdoing and to satisfy the client's regulator that any problems had been identified, rectified and that lessons had been learned.
Patrick advised a sports business on UK Bribery Act compliance in connection with proposed contracts with third party intermediaries, providing access to potential overseas sponsors.