Leading patent lawyer Ian Wood and his two assistants are leaving Hobson Audley Hopkins & Wood this week for Rowe & Maw, just 15 months after they joined the firm following a merger.

Wood, the only partner at the 14-partner firm who concentrated on “hard” IP work, such as patents, was a name partner at Hopkins & Wood when it merged with Hobson Audley in March last year. He denied that his move had anything to do with Hobson Audley's planned alliance with US firm Feagre and Benson (see page 1).

“My field is moving a lot more quickly these days,” said Wood. “There's a lot more pressure and people need more back up if we are to keep on doing the big work.” He added that last December he had been forced to fly to Hong Kong and then to San Francisco at 24-hours' notice. “You need the back up of a team to cope with that sort of thing year in, year out,” he said.

Wood joins Rowe & Maw's existing two-partner IP department with his assistants Mark Finn and Mary Bagnall. Managing partner Richard Powles said Wood's expertise in patent law would complement his existing team's strength.