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Who we are

Our history

Over a decade of Intellectual Property (IP) protection and enforcement.

A guiding light through the complexities of the Intellectual Property (IP) landscape

In 2010, Charlotte Watkins and Jason Boakes had the idea of setting up a boutique firm of patent attorneys to provide an alternative to the big firms.

They defined a forward-thinking approach to IP protection and enforcement, whilst maintaining a high quality, client-focused outlook. They knew they could offer the professionalism of the big firms without the high running costs and were keen to create a working environment where people enjoy being at work and feel supported and valued.

Secerna was born.

People often ask where our company name comes from. It is based on the Latin transitive verb “Secern”, meaning to separate or distinguish. We spend a lot of our time trying to distinguish what has and hasn’t been invented or created and how that is different from what the world has known before. 

Did you know that swordsmiths were the first to mark their work to identify the creator? That’s why the swords feature in the Secerna brand identity, as well as representing the essence of the work we do: protecting and enforcing the rights of our clients. The crossed swords were designed to look a little like a star, indicating our desire to be a guiding light through the complexities of the IP landscape.

The colours in the Secerna brand represent the red, white, and blue associated with the tradition and reputation of Great Britain and the industry’s professional bodies – with a twist, to acknowledge the modern approach we take to our work.

Today, we work with clients across the world, helping them develop robust IP strategies that are both commercially driven and cost effective.

Find out more about our approach.


Our business timeline

  • 2011: Founding partners Charlotte Watkins and Jason Boakes established the firm, based in York, UK. The new office opened with just a few attorneys and a legal secretary


  • 2014: Due to the expansion of our client base we opened an office in Newcastle, in the north of England.


  • 2016: We expanded the team further, with the appointment of new attorneys and support staff.


  • 2019: Secerna featured in an independent Financial Times (FT) ranking as a leading European patent law firm.


  • 2020: Due to expansion plans, the firm moved to a purpose-built city centre headquarters in York, UK.


  • 2021: Continued growth resulted in our first European office in Dublin, and the team celebrated our 10th year in May 2021, along with a listing in the prestigious IAM Patent 1000 directory.


  • 2024: Looking ahead, we aspire to broaden our partner base and add more qualified attorneys and trainees to the team. We aim to continue to attract high quality people whose values match ours and who are looking for opportunities to grow with the firm.
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