US IP shop Finnegan opens in London, shuts down in Brussels

Washington DC-based intellectual property (IP) firm Finnegan Henderson Farabow Garrett & Dunner has launched in London but has confirmed the closure of its office in Brussels.

Anthony Tridico
Anthony Tridico

The London move, first revealed by The Lawyer in August (16 August 2013), is on the back of the relocation of two partners from Brussels with a third partner set to join in January

The office officially opened this week and is headed by London managing partner Anthony Tridico, the former managing partner of Finnegan’s Brussels office and one of the two partners to relocate. Tridico has been joined by partner and patent specialist Martin Hyden, who prior to joining Finnegan in 2010 was head of the UK patents practice for Rouse & Co, along with additional lawyers practising both UK and US law.

The firm said the focus of its new London office would be on strengthening its European patent practice. Finnegan’s Brussels office will close in the early part of next year once the logistics of transferring to London have been finalised.

“We’re focused on the expansion of our European patent practice and having a strong presence in London is a definitive sign of our commitment to the market,” said Tridico. “We’ve already hired new European patent attorneys who’ll be joining us in the coming weeks and months, and look forward to continued growth. The combination of a US and European patent practice offers greater opportunity and options for our clients.”

Tridico said the closure of the firm’s Brussels office, which opened back in 1994, reflected the fact that Finnegan’s business model had changed. In the 1990s, added Tridico, it had focused on US attorneys working with European clients. Now the firm’s strategy was focused on growing its European practice and the Brussels office was less of a good fit, said Tridico.

“To grow that practice you really have to be in one of the European centres of IP,” added Tridico. “That really means Munich or Paris or London. That’s the reason to move the office.”

Tridico confirmed Finnegan was “looking at our growth” and would consider other office openings in cities such as Munich or Paris but that there were “no immediate plans”.

Finnegan, which has more than 350 lawyers globally, is looking to recruit approximately 20 patent attorneys and lawyers to its new London office and is expected to announce its third London partner shortly.

The firm has a number of major clients active in Europe including Schlumberger, ConocoPhilips, BTG, Pronova BioPharma Norge, Grünenthal GmbH, Swiss Post and Tetra Pak.

In addition to London, Finnegan has international offices in Shanghai, Tokyo and Taipei. The firm, which is headquartered in Washington, has five US offices.