Bird & Bird IP office strives to be Lyon king

Bird & Bird IP office strives to be Lyon king” />Bird & Bird has become the first Anglo-Saxon firm to open in France’s second city of Lyon as it integrates new IP hire Yves Bizollon.

Bizollon joined the firm along with four associates on 1 March from French independent Lamy & Associés, which has offices in both Paris and Lyon.

Bird & Bird chief executive David Kerr told The Lawyer that the new office was a result of an opportunity offered by Bizollon’s hire.

Kerr said that Lyon held plenty of work for IP lawyers, with its mixture of companies, which include pharmaceutical and biotechnology giants such as Aventis, and IT and telecoms powerhouses such as IBM and France Telecom.

“We’re planning to develop as the clients’ businesses develop in Lyon,” Kerr added.

He said the move had been greeted positively so far by clients and competitors.

“I think that, in general, market reaction has been that Bird & Bird is already quite a highly rated player on the IP scene in France,” Kerr said. “This has taken us to the highest level of IP groups in France.”

Several large French firms, including CMS Bureau Francis Lefebvre, have teams in Lyon, but most practise principally tax law from the city, and no other Anglo-Saxon firms are present there.

Bizollon practises both contentious and non-contentious IP, with a particular focus on patent litigation. He will work with Bird & Bird’s French IP head Isabelle Leroux to develop further the firm’s domestic and international IP team. He will spend time in both Paris and Lyon.