Merged firm hits top 10 in trade marks

TWO US intellectual property firms are to merge in a move they claim will put them in the top 10 list of firms ranked by the number of US trade marks issued.

Minneapolis-based Oppenheimer Wolf & Donnelly will join forces with niche intellectual property practice Poms, Smith, Lande & Rose, of California in January. The merger will boost the size of Oppenheimers' intellectual property group from 17 to 47 attorneys.

In all, the merged firms will employ 250 attorneys in offices throughout the US and Europe, where Oppenheimers has offices in Paris and Brussels.

The merger is the second this summer involving a large firm snapping up a smaller IP practice. In August, California-based Pillsbury Madison & Sutro, the world's 18th largest law firm, merged with Cushman Darby Cushman, which is based in Washington DC.

According to US law firm management consultant Brad Hildebrandt, intellectual property is “the single hottest practice area in the US”.

Oppenheimers' chief executive officer Michael Bleck said: “This merger strategically positions us to encompass our clients' growing demands.”