Born: November 2, 1944;

Died: February 3, 2021.

THE Scottish business community and global Intellectual Property industry was saddened by the sudden passing of Ian Murgitroyd, after a short illness in the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow.

For almost 45 years he was at the helm of the company he founded, Murgitroyd Patent and Trade Mark Attorneys.

Starting in an office in Glasgow’s Bath Street, the company grew initially across Europe before expanding into North and Central America. Employing more than 350 people in offices from Newcastle to Nicaragua, from Nice to North Carolina, Ian was one of the giants within the field of IP.

After attending Shawlands Academy (he was nicknamed “Big Murgie”), he graduated in mechanical engineering from Strathclyde University. A post on a university noticeboard looking for trainees in IP attracted him. He applied, despite not knowing what they actually did; and for the next five years worked at the well-established Fitzpatrick’s IP practice – a company he would later buy.

Over the years he continued to push the boundaries of what was expected of an IP firm, differentiating himself as “someone who provided advice to his clients whilst they still remembered what they had asked for” – a disruption of the older, slower, more established ways of legal practice.

As the business grew, Ian instilled many of his own philosophies and disciplines, building solidly on his strong family values. He always said integrity, loyalty and trust were the cornerstones of any successful business and from these values long and fruitful relationships would blossom and grow.

He informed all his new employees he would never criticise them for trying something new, grasping an opportunity or introducing a new efficiency. However, he would almost certainly have a word in their ear if he found out they had thought about it and not taken any action.

Ian once wryly reflected that “luck and opportunity will come your way in many different guises. Like it being bad luck when British Steel get your name wrong when they send you to Norway for three months as a graduate apprentice – meaning you’ll have to share your accommodation with five females rather than bunking in the male dorms. You’ll cope with difficulties like these”.

Ian Murgitroyd was born on November 2, 1944, to George and Mary, in their flat on St Vincent Street, Glasgow. The family moved to Pollok where he grew up with his big sister, Joyce. He remained a true “Southsider” for the rest of his life. Whether travelling across the globe for business, or holidaying at his homes in the south of France or Florida, he enjoyed nothing better than being back in his beloved Glasgow, the place where he truly felt at home.

Home life revolved around his family, the most important thing in his life. Although business colleagues and partners saw someone who was firm, focused and powerful, he was actually shy, quiet and gentle.

That was evident from his first meeting with the love of his life, his wife Pat (nee Toner). She had to ask the mortified Ian up for their first dance when he couldn’t summon the courage to approach her.

They were married on September 1, 1969 (his parents had been married on the same day in 1939, just days before the Second World War began). It was a perfect union, enduring for more than 50 years. Ian’s love for Pat was exemplified by his total commitment to be at her side for several years after she had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. She sadly passed away in 2019.

Two children, Liz and Ed, blessed their marriage. Both followed Ian into the family business, Liz as a trademark attorney and Ed as a patent attorney, with Ed going on to become CEO of the global Murgitroyd Group. Liz currently looks after the family’s extensive property portfolio.

Ian did not hold back on exploring new opportunities. A prime example of this was his recent passion for investing in and developing forestry projects across Scotland.

He was also passionate about developing young talent in the IP industry and contributing to local and international communities. He provided sustained financial support to a hospital in South Africa that provided help for children with HIV. He sponsored many charities and was quick to react when people most needed help. Most recently, he contributed to the funding shortfall that threatened the survival of the Scottish Youth Theatre.

Ian set up the Murgitroyd Foundation on the death of his wife. The family have confirmed that people and organisations will continue to benefit from his philanthropic generosity

A fit man well into his seventies, Ian played reasonable golf at Gleneagles, was a dab hand on the tennis court and had renewed his clay-pigeon shooting licence. He had recently taken up woodworking and carpentry, inspired by his grandfather, a woodworker who counted restoration work in Glasgow Cathedral as one of his most privileged projects.

He was hugely proud of his family, with five grandchildren (Connie, Dylan, Andrew, Brooke and Cece) lighting up his life and bestowing on him his favourite title, “Grandpa Ian”. Life threw up some challenging moments for Ian, particularly related to his family and their health. However, he always found the resolve and the courage to handle everything that was thrown at him.

Ian would often reflect on his own father’s advice to him – to use the “ladder of life” when faced with challenges. Anything serious to do with family or business was a 10, anything like Scotland losing a World Cup qualifier was a one.

He is survived by his sister Joyce, and Ed and Liz.