Ropes & Gray to spin off 100-strong patent prosecution team

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Ropes & Gray is to spin-off its patent prosecution practice into a new firm – a move that will affect around 100 lawyers and staff. 

The independent firm will be set up by Ropes’ co-head of intellectual property rights management Joe Guiliano, who is based in New York and joined Ropes in 2005.

Ropes’ London privacy and data securities partner Rohan Massey said the spin-off will not affect any lawyers in the firm’s London office.

Joe Guiliano

“We don’t have a patent prosecution team in London, and the growth of the City patent transaction practice will be unaffected,” Massey said.

The move is also not expected to affect Ropes’ IP litigation practice, which sits independently of the patent prosecution group, which is understood to be a high volume, low margin practice. It is also understood to have led to a number of conflicts in Ropes’ wider IP team.

The new firm will house the majority of Ropes’ patent prosecution business, with IP lawyers, technical advisers and staff also set to join in the coming months. It will operate as a separate entity but is expected to have a “close relationship” with the firm in the US.

Ropes’ chairman Brad Malt said in a statement: “We are restructuring our IP practice groups to a configuration that we believe best serves our clients. We remain committed to providing worldclass IP litigation capabilities, and we will continue offering our industry-leading IP transactions practice to clients.

Guiliano added: “We’re excited to start a new firm that will specialise in IP rights management. The new firm will be positioned to offer the kind of specialised, focused counsel on patent prosecution and related matters that our clients have come to expect.”

Ropes currently has up to 40 partners in its IP team. All are based in the US, while a number also divide their time between the firm’s Asia offices. Edward Kelly is the only partner who switches between the US and London. 

The divestment is not unheard of in US legal circles. McDermott Will & Emery made a similar move in 2013, when IP prosecution head Justin Hill moved to Olswang in London.

The post Ropes & Gray to spin off 100-strong patent prosecution team appeared first on The Lawyer | Legal News and Jobs | Advancing the business of law.



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