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While some of the bigger firms, such as Linklaters, edge away from IP like jilted lovers, the smaller firms are lining up to pick up the pieces.
Technology firm Kemp Little will be the latest niche player to have a go at the IP market.
Associate Paul Garland is set to join from White & Case as a partner in mid-April, bringing litigation experience to a firm that has traditionally focused on technology transactions.
On the face of it, the hire might not seem like a big deal.
But it's all part of a grand plan to grow the firm's satellite practice areas that surround its technology core. Kemp Little promoted two partners this year, in corporate and employment.
The idea is that the firm's technology clients will use it for tasks other than outsourcing, such as IP litigation.
This means that firms that traditionally saw Kemp Little as harmless may have to revise their opinions.
If Kemp Little's tech client list, which includes Microsoft, becomes an IP, employment or corporate client list, the 12-partner firm could cause a few upsets among the big boys.Get the latest news and an irreverent commentary delivered to your desktop every day by subscribing to Lawyer News Daily.