Arnold & Porter boosts IP focus

THE LONDON office of Washington DC firm Arnold & Porter is taking on the founder of the intellectual property (IP) department at Nicholson Graham & Jones.

Sarah Kirk specialises in non-contentious IP and IT work, focusing on commercial IP/IT agreements relating to e-commerce, data protection, outsourcing and corporate deal support.

At Nicholson Graham & Jones Kirk worked with clients that included Londis and The British Film Institute. It is not yet known whether any of those clients will go with her.

Arnold & Porter claims to have the largest IP practice of any US firm in London, with 15 of the office’s 23 lawyers working in the practice area. Clients in the office include the Department of Social Security, America Online and oil group Lasmo.

Arnold & Porter IP partner Julian Thurston says: “We’re now one of the top three practices in the US for IP, combined with overall litigation bench strength and anti-trust. What we’ve been doing here in London is building up the practice to replicate those strengths.”

Kirk will be the firm’s second IP partner to specialise in IT work, with other groups doing life sciences, litigation and telecoms work.

Thurston says: “Our strategy is to focus on IP particularly in the industry sectors. In the US we haven’t been known for our work with dotcoms, but for our work with blue-chip companies like America Online, Intel and Motorola.

“Our strategy is to provide a full service to sectors like technology, media and telecoms and life sciences. We want to do all the things they need.”

At Nicholson Graham & Jones, there are still five partners in the IP and technology department, which is headed by Jane Harte-Lovelace.