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Dutch M&A heavyweight Stibbe is to restructure its IP department and exit patent law following the departure of partners Jan Brinkhof and Kurt Stöpetie.
As first revealed on www.thelawyer.com (22 November), the pair are leaving Stibbe 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 and a patent law specialist. Stöpetie, also a patent and trademark expert, has been at Stibbe for 16 years.
The departures were described by Stibbe managing partner Joost van Lanschot as “amicable”, but he admitted they were due to a dispute over the prominence of IP.
“They felt the IP team should expand,” he said, “and we thought that the current size was okay. They concluded that their work would be better done outside Stibbe, and we’ll refer matters to them.”
Van Lanschot confirmed that Stibbe would continue to advise on IP matters but would no longer advise on patents.