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About Us

History of the Firm

J.Y. & G.W. Johnson can trace its roots back to the law practice of John Henry Johnson, which was operating in London and Glasgow from 1850. John H. Johnson was one of the first specialist patent agents and became the founding President of the Institute of Patent Agents (now the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys) on its formation in 1882. He was the co-author of The Patentee's Manual, which was one of the early manuals of patent practice.  He was succeeded by his sons James Yate Johnson and George William Johnson, under whose names the firm was to be known for most of the twentieth century.

In the late 1920s Harold Newby joined the firm, ushering in a Newby family connection that would last for three quarters of a century. Harold, his nephew Raymond and his son John were successive senior partners until John's retirement from that position in 1995. Raymond’s son Martin remained a partner until his retirement in 2003. Stephen Hale joined the partnership in 1970, retiring in 2006. Ross Manaton and William (Bill) Hanson became partners in 1995 and 2000 respectively.

Bromhead & Co. was formed in 1889 by Sydney Bromhead, a Blacksmith/Engineer who became skilled in the work of writing patents and changed profession to become a Patent Agent. He was a close relative of Lieutenant Bromhead of Rourke’s Drift (played by Michael Caine in the film Zulu). Sydney Bromhead continued as a sole practitioner until Henry Fairbrother took over the practice in 1910.

Mr. Fairbrother ran the practice until the start of the Second World War. In 1920 he took on a sixteen year old trainee draftsman, Albert Holter, who in due course succeeded him as proprietor of Bromhead & Co. In 1963 Derek Heath joined Albert Holter in partnership, and the latter finally retired at the age of seventy-four in 1978.  David Crouch joined Derek Heath in partnership in 1982. In 1995, Dr. Michael Spencer joined the practice as a partner, and shortly afterwards Mr. Heath retired from the partnership, although he remained as a consultant for the next five years.

J.Y. & G.W. Johnson and Bromhead & Co. shared a common ethos of high-quality professional service to clients of all sizes, and it was therefore a natural step that they should come together as a united practice in 2004.  That ethos was also shared by E. Eder & Co., which made the union with that firm a further logical step.  Today, the commitment to efficient professional service on a personal level continues to flourish under the Bromhead Johnson banner.