Cipa and Itma: too close for comfort

Despite being siblings in the nuclear IP family, patent agents and trademark attorneys have not always seen eye-to-eye. But the fallout from the Clementi report might force them to work a little closer together than they would like in the future.

Clementi singled out IP professional bodies the Chartered Institute of Patent Agents (Cipa) and the Institute of Trademark Attorneys (Itma) as ripe for a merger, and they are already in talks to form a single IP regulator.

But Sir David might have sparked a messy argument at the dinner table. According to an official, Cipa could offer trademark attorneys a vote in the organisation, much to the chagrin of Itma.

Phil Harris, the newly appointed president of Itma, told The Lawyer: “It’s up to them to extend membership to who they see fit.

“If we’re doing our job properly, people will stay with us. It’s a challenge, something we’ll meet with enthusiasm.”

Paul Hastings’ real estate in a real state

Paul Hastings Janofsky & Walker’s London real estate woes show no signs of abating. Despite London head Mark Eagan claiming that lateral hires are imminent, the Los Angeles-based firm appears to be rapidly losing ground in the London market.

Following the loss of rated property partners Jeffrey Bailey to DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary in February and Nigel Heilpern to Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson in December, associate Ranjeev Kumar decided to up sticks to join Heilpern at Fried Frank last week.

The losses leave Paul Hastings with little in the way of a UK real estate capability. Emma Bucknall and Linda Fletcher may have been made up to the partnership to plug the gap, but Sean Magee and Katie Graham remain the only dedicated UK associates in the team – a slim one for a firm that counts real estate as one of its core practice areas.

No wonder Eagan is pushing so hard for laterals, especially given the fact that the firm attributes 41 per cent of its $12m (£6.7m) UK gross revenue for 2005 to its now vastly diminished real estate capability.

Wembley war produces firm friends

The construction of the new Wembley Stadium has been a mess of delays, wrangles and rows, and last week the dispute between Australian builders Multiplex and steel company Cleveland Bridge reached court. Clifford Chance client Multiplex is claiming £38m from Cleveland Bridge for breach of contract, with Cleveland Bridge counterclaiming for £22m.

While the companies are at loggerheads, each throwing damning accusations at one another in opening statements, the word is that Clifford Chance and Leeds firm Walker Morris (acting for Cleveland Bridge) are being terribly grown-up about the whole affair and are getting on rather well.

The case is the first high-profile construction dispute to be presided over by Mr Justice Jackson since he took over as the full-time judge in charge of the Technology and Construction Court. With Jackson J living up to his reputation as a hard-working, efficient judge, it looks as if the Multiplex dispute could be one of the few aspects of Wembley to run to schedule.

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