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Thomas Elias

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Thomas Elias

Areas of Expertise

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Year of Call: 2008 clerks@serlecourt.co.uk

Overview

Thomas has a wide-ranging commercial chancery practice with an emphasis on civil fraud, commercial disputes, intellectual property, insolvency and company law.  He has regularly appeared as sole Counsel in the High Court and the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court, and has also been instructed as junior counsel in a number of high value civil fraud and company cases.  Thomas has also been instructed in relation to various off-shore trust disputes and continues to advise in relation to actions brought against the Comptroller of Customs in The Bahamas.

Areas of Expertise and Cases


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Civil Fraud

Sukhoruchkin v van Bekestein: a multi-party, multi-jurisdictional dispute arising out of the management and subsequent liquidation of an off-shore investment fund. A freezing order was successfully set-aside at first instance but was reinstated by the Court of Appeal [2014] EWCA Civ 399 (instructed by Mishcon de Reya).

Monde v LeeLanes LLP (2013):  a dispute arising out of agreements to provide a power station in Iraq, involving claims for breach of contract and unlawful means conspiracy and allegations of bribery and illegality (instructed by Withers).

Viken v Tiberius Investments & Capital (2012): claims regarding alleged misuse of investment monies in an off-shore investment fund (instructed by Peters & Peters)

Architectural Association v Livett (2011): obtained a freezing injunction on behalf of claimant charity against its former finance director in relation to claims of equipment leasing fraud (instructed by Peters & Peters)

Cherney v Neuman [2011] EWHC 2156 (Ch): 12 day trial of claims for breach of fiduciary duty and negligence against a firm of solicitors (instructed by Fladgate).


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Company

Thomas has been involved in a number of cases involving issues of company law, often at the interface between company law, civil fraud and insolvency. Notable matters include:

Apex v Fi Call Ltd: Thomas has been involved in this high-profile and wide-ranging litigation regarding unfair prejudice petitions, notably he appeared (with Daniel Lightman) for the successful Respondents in the Supreme Court in October 2014.

Sukhoruchkin v van Bekestein: a dispute arising out of the management and subsequent liquidation of an off-shore investment fund, in which permission was sought by shareholders in a holding company to bring a double derivative claim on behalf of the subsidiary. A freezing order was successfully set-aside at first instance but was reinstated by the Court of Appeal [2014] EWCA Civ 399 (instructed by Mishcon de Reya).

Abouraya v Sigmund (2013): a claim to bring proceedings by way of double-derivative claim on behalf of a company against a director for breach of fiduciary and tortious duties (instructed by Asserson Law Offices).

Amin v Amin [2009] EWHC 3356 (Ch).  Assisted in a lengthy High Court trial involving an unfair prejudice petition and issues of partnership law.


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Intellectual Property

Thomas has appeared in the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court, the High Court and the European Court in intellectual property disputes relating to trade marks, registered and unregistered designs, passing off and copyright.    He has also appeared in the Trade Marks Registry and before the Appointed Person.  He is frequently instructed on his own account but also in conjunction with Michael Edenborough QC, also of Serle Court.  As well as dealing with pure I.P. matters, Thomas has been involved in several commercial cases which have an intellectual property element.  Significant cases include:

The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain v Clausen & another [2015] E.T.M.R. 40, [2015] EWHC 1772 (IPEC).  Acted for the defendants in a claim for passing off, trade mark infringement and infringement of copyright in dramatic works, and successfully invalidated the claimant’s Community trade mark. Also successfully resisted an early application for an interim injunction [2014] EWHC 3789 (IPEC) (instructed by Fladgate LLP).

Karen Millen Fashions v Karen Millen OBE [2014] EWHC 1408 & 1409 (Ch): Acted for Claimant successfully resisting a strike-out application and obtaining permission for survey evidence (instructed by Heatons).

Moroccanoil Israel Ltd v Aldi Stores [2014] EWHC 1686 (IPEC) - successfully defended Aldi in a passing-off action based on packaging "get-up" (with Michael Edenborough Q.C.) (instructed by Freeths).

Aveda Corp v Dabur India Ltd  [2013] E.T.M.R. 33 – appeal to the High Court from the Trade Mark Registry involving the issue of the correct analysis of composite trade marks (instructed by Cresco Legal).

Kavaklidere-Europe v OHIM [2012] E.T.M.R. 45 - Acted with Michael Edenborough Q.C. in proceedings in the General Court of the European Union on behalf of Yakult Honsha Kabushiki Kaisha successfully opposing the registration as a Community Trade Mark of a word mark similar to the client's mark "YAKULT".

Smart Technologies v OHIM [2012] E.T.M.R. 49 - Appeared with Michael Edenborough Q.C. on an appeal to the Court of Justice of the European Union on a trade mark matter. Addresses issues regarding the registrability of slogans as Community Trade Marks.

Celebrity Pictures v B Hannah [2012] EWPCC 32 - Copyright infringement trial in the Patents County Court in front of Floyd J.

Pass J Holdings Ltd v Spencer, Trade Marks Registry (Appointed Person), [2012] R.P.C. 16 Appeal, inter alia, on the basis that the original decision was vitiated by serious errors arising from the Hearing Officer cutting and pasting from an earlier decision.

Harrison v Harrison [2010] FSR 25, 604, one of few reported cases on the moral rights of derogatory treatment and false attribution.

Evans (t/a Firecraft) v Focal Point Fires Plc [2010] E.T.M.R. 29; [2010] R.P.C. 15, summary judgment on a passing off claim based on an estoppel arising from an invalidation decision of the trade mark Registry.


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Commercial Litigation

Office Depot Inc v Office Depot (Israel) (2013): instructed as sole counsel in a dispute in the High Court regarding monies due under a contract of sale of a subsidiary company in Israel, with counterclaims of misrepresentation, involving jurisdiction issues in light of related proceedings in Israel (instructed by Meyer Brown)

Water’s Edge v Laing (2013): several interlocking claims in the Bahamas brought in relation to an alleged property joint venture.

Hess v Stena (The Stena Forth) (2010): settled pleadings regarding the interpretation of a contract for hire of a mobile offshore drilling unit.


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Insolvency

Thomas regularly appears in insolvency matters in the High Court and elsewhere. Notable instructions include:

Tiberius Investments & Capital Limited v Viken Securities Inc. BVIHC (COM) 57 OF 2012: instructed for a one day hearing in the BVI Commercial Court to set aside a Statutory Demand (instructed by Peters & Peters).

Pace Europe Ltd v Dunham [2012] EWHC 852 (Ch); [2012] BPIR 836: an appeal to the High Court against an order setting aside a statutory demand as it was based on an order of a United States court for multiple damages (instructed by Premier Solicitors).




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Offshore

Thomas has acted in contentious trust disputes involving trusts in Jersey and Mauritius, has been involved in numerous cases in The Bahamas including a major commercial dispute regarding an alleged joint venture valued at more than $50 million and judicial review proceedings regarding customs duties, was called to the bar of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court in 2013 and has appeared in the BVI commercial court in an insolvency dispute.   

  • Currently acting for a Mauritius Trust in litigation regarding land development.
  • Ongoing advice to clients in The Bahamas regarding the 2015 VAT legislation.
  • Involved in several cases against The Comptroller of Customs in the Bahamas, both private law and judicial review (instructed by Callenders & Co)
  • Previously acted for a Jersey Trustee in relation to allegations of negligence in managing an investment fund (instructed by Voisin).
  • Tiberius Investments & Capital Limited v Viken Securities Inc. BVIHC (COM) 57 OF 2012: hearing in the BVI Commercial Court , insolvency issue in the context of a multi-million dollar hedge fund dispute (instructed by Peters & Peters).

All Quotes

"He's exceptionally bright, good on the detail and won't miss a point": Chambers and Partners 2016

"He is so persuasive in writing, he can fashion something out of nothing.": Chambers and Partners 2016

Recommendations

Company (Chambers and Partners 2017)

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Thomas Elias

Thomas Elias

Year of Call: 2008

Overview

Thomas has a wide-ranging commercial chancery practice with an emphasis on civil fraud, commercial disputes, intellectual property, insolvency and company law.  He has regularly appeared as sole Counsel in the High Court and the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court, and has also been instructed as junior counsel in a number of high value civil fraud and company cases.  Thomas has also been instructed in relation to various off-shore trust disputes and continues to advise in relation to actions brought against the Comptroller of Customs in The Bahamas.

Areas of expertise

Recommendations

Company (Chambers and Partners 2017)

Quotes

"He's exceptionally bright, good on the detail and won't miss a point": Chambers and Partners 2016

"He is so persuasive in writing, he can fashion something out of nothing.": Chambers and Partners 2016

Civil Fraud

Sukhoruchkin v van Bekestein: a multi-party, multi-jurisdictional dispute arising out of the management and subsequent liquidation of an off-shore investment fund. A freezing order was successfully set-aside at first instance but was reinstated by the Court of Appeal [2014] EWCA Civ 399 (instructed by Mishcon de Reya).

Monde v LeeLanes LLP (2013):  a dispute arising out of agreements to provide a power station in Iraq, involving claims for breach of contract and unlawful means conspiracy and allegations of bribery and illegality (instructed by Withers).

Viken v Tiberius Investments & Capital (2012): claims regarding alleged misuse of investment monies in an off-shore investment fund (instructed by Peters & Peters)

Architectural Association v Livett (2011): obtained a freezing injunction on behalf of claimant charity against its former finance director in relation to claims of equipment leasing fraud (instructed by Peters & Peters)

Cherney v Neuman [2011] EWHC 2156 (Ch): 12 day trial of claims for breach of fiduciary duty and negligence against a firm of solicitors (instructed by Fladgate).

Company

Thomas has been involved in a number of cases involving issues of company law, often at the interface between company law, civil fraud and insolvency. Notable matters include:

Apex v Fi Call Ltd: Thomas has been involved in this high-profile and wide-ranging litigation regarding unfair prejudice petitions, notably he appeared (with Daniel Lightman) for the successful Respondents in the Supreme Court in October 2014.

Sukhoruchkin v van Bekestein: a dispute arising out of the management and subsequent liquidation of an off-shore investment fund, in which permission was sought by shareholders in a holding company to bring a double derivative claim on behalf of the subsidiary. A freezing order was successfully set-aside at first instance but was reinstated by the Court of Appeal [2014] EWCA Civ 399 (instructed by Mishcon de Reya).

Abouraya v Sigmund (2013): a claim to bring proceedings by way of double-derivative claim on behalf of a company against a director for breach of fiduciary and tortious duties (instructed by Asserson Law Offices).

Amin v Amin [2009] EWHC 3356 (Ch).  Assisted in a lengthy High Court trial involving an unfair prejudice petition and issues of partnership law.

Intellectual Property

Thomas has appeared in the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court, the High Court and the European Court in intellectual property disputes relating to trade marks, registered and unregistered designs, passing off and copyright.    He has also appeared in the Trade Marks Registry and before the Appointed Person.  He is frequently instructed on his own account but also in conjunction with Michael Edenborough QC, also of Serle Court.  As well as dealing with pure I.P. matters, Thomas has been involved in several commercial cases which have an intellectual property element.  Significant cases include:

The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain v Clausen & another [2015] E.T.M.R. 40, [2015] EWHC 1772 (IPEC).  Acted for the defendants in a claim for passing off, trade mark infringement and infringement of copyright in dramatic works, and successfully invalidated the claimant’s Community trade mark. Also successfully resisted an early application for an interim injunction [2014] EWHC 3789 (IPEC) (instructed by Fladgate LLP).

Karen Millen Fashions v Karen Millen OBE [2014] EWHC 1408 & 1409 (Ch): Acted for Claimant successfully resisting a strike-out application and obtaining permission for survey evidence (instructed by Heatons).

Moroccanoil Israel Ltd v Aldi Stores [2014] EWHC 1686 (IPEC) - successfully defended Aldi in a passing-off action based on packaging "get-up" (with Michael Edenborough Q.C.) (instructed by Freeths).

Aveda Corp v Dabur India Ltd  [2013] E.T.M.R. 33 – appeal to the High Court from the Trade Mark Registry involving the issue of the correct analysis of composite trade marks (instructed by Cresco Legal).

Kavaklidere-Europe v OHIM [2012] E.T.M.R. 45 - Acted with Michael Edenborough Q.C. in proceedings in the General Court of the European Union on behalf of Yakult Honsha Kabushiki Kaisha successfully opposing the registration as a Community Trade Mark of a word mark similar to the client's mark "YAKULT".

Smart Technologies v OHIM [2012] E.T.M.R. 49 - Appeared with Michael Edenborough Q.C. on an appeal to the Court of Justice of the European Union on a trade mark matter. Addresses issues regarding the registrability of slogans as Community Trade Marks.

Celebrity Pictures v B Hannah [2012] EWPCC 32 - Copyright infringement trial in the Patents County Court in front of Floyd J.

Pass J Holdings Ltd v Spencer, Trade Marks Registry (Appointed Person), [2012] R.P.C. 16 Appeal, inter alia, on the basis that the original decision was vitiated by serious errors arising from the Hearing Officer cutting and pasting from an earlier decision.

Harrison v Harrison [2010] FSR 25, 604, one of few reported cases on the moral rights of derogatory treatment and false attribution.

Evans (t/a Firecraft) v Focal Point Fires Plc [2010] E.T.M.R. 29; [2010] R.P.C. 15, summary judgment on a passing off claim based on an estoppel arising from an invalidation decision of the trade mark Registry.

Commercial Litigation

Office Depot Inc v Office Depot (Israel) (2013): instructed as sole counsel in a dispute in the High Court regarding monies due under a contract of sale of a subsidiary company in Israel, with counterclaims of misrepresentation, involving jurisdiction issues in light of related proceedings in Israel (instructed by Meyer Brown)

Water’s Edge v Laing (2013): several interlocking claims in the Bahamas brought in relation to an alleged property joint venture.

Hess v Stena (The Stena Forth) (2010): settled pleadings regarding the interpretation of a contract for hire of a mobile offshore drilling unit.

Insolvency

Thomas regularly appears in insolvency matters in the High Court and elsewhere. Notable instructions include:

Tiberius Investments & Capital Limited v Viken Securities Inc. BVIHC (COM) 57 OF 2012: instructed for a one day hearing in the BVI Commercial Court to set aside a Statutory Demand (instructed by Peters & Peters).

Pace Europe Ltd v Dunham [2012] EWHC 852 (Ch); [2012] BPIR 836: an appeal to the High Court against an order setting aside a statutory demand as it was based on an order of a United States court for multiple damages (instructed by Premier Solicitors).

Offshore

Thomas has acted in contentious trust disputes involving trusts in Jersey and Mauritius, has been involved in numerous cases in The Bahamas including a major commercial dispute regarding an alleged joint venture valued at more than $50 million and judicial review proceedings regarding customs duties, was called to the bar of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court in 2013 and has appeared in the BVI commercial court in an insolvency dispute.   

  • Currently acting for a Mauritius Trust in litigation regarding land development.
  • Ongoing advice to clients in The Bahamas regarding the 2015 VAT legislation.
  • Involved in several cases against The Comptroller of Customs in the Bahamas, both private law and judicial review (instructed by Callenders & Co)
  • Previously acted for a Jersey Trustee in relation to allegations of negligence in managing an investment fund (instructed by Voisin).
  • Tiberius Investments & Capital Limited v Viken Securities Inc. BVIHC (COM) 57 OF 2012: hearing in the BVI Commercial Court , insolvency issue in the context of a multi-million dollar hedge fund dispute (instructed by Peters & Peters).

Qualifications

Kings College, Cambridge: BA (English) Double first class honours; MPhil; PhD (16th century music and literature)

City University: GDL (distinction)

Inns of Court School of Law: BVC (outstanding)

Scarman Scholarship (1st overall in BVC at ICSL)

OUP prize for advocacy and procedure in BVC

Inner Temple Major Scholarship

ICSL Scholarship

Appointments

Called to the Bar of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (BVI) (2013)


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