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German firm Noerr is set to launch an IP office in Alicante after poaching two lawyers from Hogan Lovells.
Hogan Lovells counsel Tobias Dolde and senior associate Michael Hawkins will join the German firm to help launch the Alicante office. Both were based in Hogan Lovells’ Alicante office. Dolde joins as a salaried partner while Hawkins comes on board as a senior associate.
Noerr’s Munich-based co-head of media, IP and IT Georg Jahn will be in charge of the new office, which is slated for a 1 July launch. It will focus on community trademark and design work. Iberian firm Cuatrecasas Gonçalves Pereira is advising Noerr on the legal issues surrounding the launch.
Noerr hopes that having an office in Alicante, home to Europe’s central trademark office, will strengthen its capacity for high-value international IP cases.
“We see great opportunities for us there,” said Jahn. “The increasing number of trademark applications and proceedings, even up to the European Court of Justice [ECJ], plus the intention of the new president of the Office of Harmonisation for the Internal Market [OHIM] António Campinos to expand OHIM to become the centre of IP in Europe, offer a promising environment for us.”
The new office is part of Noerr’s strategy to become one of Europe’s leading players. The strategy was initiated in 2009 and saw the firm open an office in London in 2010.
“Our intention’s not just to open another office,” said Jahn. “If we’d asked to open a Spanish environmental law office partners would have just said no. This new office is part of our strategy to strengthen our competence in IP and strengthen the firm as a serious European player.
“In 2009 we started a campaign to become one of Europe’s premier law firms, and that entails two things - geography and quality. If you want to be a player in Europe you need offices in certain places. We started with the office in London because it’s the main gateway to Europe. We didn’t want to do English law, but international clients go from London to the Continent and we wanted to be close to them.”
“Our experience is that, without an office in Alicante, it’s more difficult to be an accepted player in Luxembourg [at the ECJ]. We’ve looked at the way these things were handled by Hogan Lovells, which has been successful, and we think there’s room for two firms of that kind, or even more.”
Noerr plans to open a temporary service office in Alicante first to make sure it can service clients in the area before its finds a permanent space.
In addition to the two lawyers hired from Hogan Lovells the new office will house three paralegals and Noerr will also second lawyers from its German offices.