Dutch M&A heavyweight Stibbe is to restructure its intellectual property (IP) department following the departure of two of its partners, Jan Brinkhof and Kurt Stöpetie. The pair are leaving Stibbe along with two assistants to set up their own technology and pharmaceutical law boutique on 1 January. The departures will leave Stibbe with five fee-earners in its IP group. It will be subsequently folded into the firm’s litigation team. Brinkhof, the more senior of the two, is a former judge while Stöpetie has been at Stibbe for 16 years. The departure was described by Stibbe managing partner Joost van Lanschot as "amicable", although he admitted the reason was a dispute over the prominence of IP at the firm. "They felt the IP team should expand," he said, " and we thought that the current size was ok. They concluded that their work would be better done outside Stibbe, and we will refer matters to them."