Dozen Howrey partners break away to establish IP boutique

Howrey’s European IP head and Europe managing partner are both set to leave along with at least 10 other partners to set up their own IP firm.

Among the 12 partners confirmed as leaving four are based in Brussels, seven in Amsterdam and one in Paris. Fourteen associates are also expected to leave to join the new firm, which will launch on 1 January 2011.

The partners said client conflicts were to blame for their decision to leave.

“It’s with a certain sadness that we had to conclude that forming our own European firm is clearly the best way forward,” said Europe managing partner Willem Hoyng.

“The US should take a serious look at their conflict rules, which are often not in the interest of clients, but are just a tool to outmanoeuvre competition. We had an excellent time at Howrey and we wish our friends at this great firm all the best. We’ll continue to service our mutual clients to the best of our abilities in our new firm in Europe.”

Other partners known to be leaving are head of Europe IP Benoit Strowel, Amsterdam managing partner Bart van den Broek, Amsterdam partner Joris van Manen, Brussels IP head Carl de Meyer and Paris partner Denis Monegier du Sorbier.

“For the past several months we’ve wrestled with the increasingly serious issue of client conflicts – an issue which has presented enormous difficulties for certain European IP partners and for Howrey as those partners developed new business or expanded on existing business,” said Howrey CEO and chairman Robert Ruyak. “For this reason, we’ve come to the mutual decision that it’s in everyone’s best interest for this group to form their own independent firm and they do so with our best wishes.”

“We see this as a win-win situation for both them and us,” said Ruyak. “We intend to work with this new firm to handle IP work for our clients, where appropriate in their jurisdictions, as we have elsewhere in the world.

“For their part, they’ll no longer be burdened with ever-increasing numbers of client conflicts which have become a serious impediment to building their business within Howrey. We’ll support their growth, as they continue to support ours.”