US firm Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld has merged with Philadelphia intellectual property firm Panitch Schwarze Jacobs & Nadel.
Panitch Schwarze founding partner Ronald Panitch becomes managing partner of Akin Gump's Philadelphia office. He says: "Although a number of firms expressed interest in us over the years, we consistently concluded a merger did not make sense.
"However, we began talking with some of the partners at Akin Gump last year and as we got to know each other better there was greater appeal in joining forces."
The Panitch Schwarze merger is Washington-based Akin Gump's second with an IP firm this year, giving it some 80 IP lawyers in the US. The firm acquired Houston firm Pravel Hewitt in January.
Akin Gump chairman Bruce McLean says: "Our strategic business plan calls for the expansion of our IP presence on the east coast and internationally. With Ron Panitch and his team, we have met that objective overnight."