Dorsey & Whitney gains two Hewitsons partners

US firm Dorsey & Whitney's London office is poaching two top intellectual property (IP) partners from Cambridge-based corporate and commercial firm Hewitson Becke + Shaw.

Hewitsons head of IP Ian Craig and fellow partner Niel Ackermann will relocate to London at the beginning of May to head Dorseys' new IP practice. Craig and Ackermann, who are regarded as two of the UK's best IP lawyers, handle contentious and non-contentious work, as well as advising and providing consultancy on IP issues in the IT, e-commerce and biotech industries.

“We're moving because it's a good firm with a good profile, and they have exciting high-tech clients,” says Craig.

Dorseys, known for its US IP practice, is expanding its European focus to include IP. The London office currently handles corporate, commercial and corporate finance work. It represents technology teams in a number of investment banks such as Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse First Boston and Deutsche Bank. It also advises on pan-European venture capital projects, acting for investors in European high-tech companies.

Senior partner John Byrne says the office wants to offer an IP service to its corporate clients and is planning to recruit more IP partners and associates in the next few months. He says that Craig and Ackermann will work mainly with the firm's existing clients.

“A lot of our corporate work is for technology companies, and many of them will be developing their businesses. We want to offer IP expertise because, unlike traditional businesses, many of their assets are in IP,” he says.

Dorseys is opening an office in Shanghai, where there are a number of concerns about piracy on software, and Byrne wants to develop links between the Shanghai and London offices.

Hewitson Becke + Shaw was unavailable for comment.