John Tothill

Head of Engineering Group


John joined Dehns in 1991 and became a Partner in 1999. At Cambridge he studied physics and materials science with options in electronics, microelectronics and optical materials. In 2017, John was appointed as Dehns’ Head of Engineering, with overall responsibility for the firm’s Electronics, IT and Communications, Physical Science and Materials, and Engineering groups.


Type of clients and client work

John and his teams are responsible for large patent portfolios for a number of high-technology multinational corporations. This includes drafting patents for new inventions and prosecuting patent applications in the UK, Europe, the USA and throughout the world, as well as advising on contentious issues and addressing any validity challenges that arise.

He also has particular interest and experience in assisting and advising SMEs, new and start-up companies in high technology industries both in the UK and Europe. This includes developing intellectual property portfolios, exploiting intellectual property assets and addressing the intellectual property of competitors.



John drafts and prosecutes patent applications in all areas of high technology, including electronics, microelectronics and microprocessors, computing, software, telecommunications, optics and other physics and engineering fields. John has particular expertise in drafting patents for filing in the USA and in prosecuting patent applications in the USA.

John also regularly advises on infringement and validity of patents in these fields and on related issues, including the exploitation and use of intellectual property rights.

He has also been heavily involved in a number of major telecommunications cases, including litigation of patents concerning the GPRS standard and mobile email systems, and has particular experience in advising on patents relating to telecommunications standards and in licensing negotiations relating to patents alleged to be essential to standards.


Qualifications and Memberships

  • UK Chartered Patent Attorney, 1996 (Awarded Strode Prize for final examinations)
  • European Patent Attorney, 1996
  • Professional Representative before EUIPO, 1996
  • Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys
  • Member of the European Patent Institute
  • Authorised Representative before the Unified Patent Court (UPC) 2024


Higher Education

MA (First Class), Cambridge University, Natural Sciences (Physical), 1991



John was awarded the Strode Prize by the Chartered Institute of Patent Agents for his performance in the Institute’s final examinations.

John was highlighted in The Legal 500 2022 edition.

John was also named as a “Recommended Individual” in both the 2023 and 2024 editions of the JUVE Patent UK Rankings. 


Contact details

The Brinell Building
30 Station Street
United Kingdom

+44 (0)1273 244 200 +44 (0)20 7353 8895


electronics, physics, software