Background

Bardehle Pagenberg is a leading international IP firm with five offices located in Munich, Dusseldorf, Paris, Barcelona, and Singapore. Founded more than 40 years ago and employing 240 IP professionals, the firm provides the full spectrum of IP services, from prosecution through to litigation, and is renowned globally for its high standards of quality and professionalism.

The Paris office, opened in 1992, services both domestic French and international clients. Historically, the office had a well-established patent prosecution practice in mechanics, electronics and computer sciences, before adding soft IP to its range of services. It then gained recognition for its capability and expertise in patent litigation. More recently, Bardehle Pagenberg engaged Adamson & Partners on a targeted project to create a fully dedicated pharmaceuticals and life sciences patent prosecution practice, to capitalise on increased activity and opportunities in the field and to complement and grow the firm’s existing offering in Paris.

In order to appeal to experienced Patent Attorney Life Sciences practitioners in the French IP market, the Paris office, led by Julien Fréneaux, considered it important for the firm to acquire ‘pluri-professionnel’ or multi-disciplinary status in the market. This status allows a firm to be officially recognised as a ‘mixed’ IP practice, namely offering both prosecution and litigation services, bringing together qualified lawyers (‘Avocats’) and French and European Patent Attorneys (‘Conseils en propriété industrielle‘ and ‘Mandataires européens’) in the same practice. As one of the few firms enjoying such status in the Paris market, Bardehle Pagenberg was able to position itself as a true strategic partner to clients for all areas of their IP, in keeping with the practice in Germany. Adamson & Partners’ mandate was thus to seek a French/European Patent Attorney in France with significant experience and track record within the pharmaceutical and life sciences markets to lead and develop a practice.

Solution

Given our extensive network in France, we were quickly able to identify and prioritise key targets, albeit in a market with a limited number of individuals possessing the requisite level of experience and leadership credentials. Additionally, the firm was ideally seeking an individual and/or team with an existing book of business to ensure an operational practice from day one, further restricting the potential candidate pool. We proceeded to map the entire France life sciences patent market, combining research with our own network of contacts – the latter serving as both possible candidates and ‘sources’ – to generate a longlist of targets. While our initial search yielded several potentially interested senior candidates, most of whom running relevant practices within the larger more generalist firms, the vast majority did not possess the required book of client business. It was thus necessary to adapt our search strategy towards smaller, specialist life sciences firms that could potentially be open to acquisition or merging their practice with Bardehle. Indeed, this strategy proved more successful as such firms are typically owner-managed, free from the question of client ‘ownership’, non-compete clauses, and restrictive covenants. Consequently, we were able to engage with a small but select number of such specialist practices. Discussions centered around the size of the practice and the ease of integration into Bardehle, allied to cultural fit and the long-term aspirations and motivations of the founders to join forces with a larger, more established international IP firm. As ever, notwithstanding all the above, the timing was everything and we were ultimately able to successfully assist Bardehle Pagenberg with concluding negotiations with Lionel Vial, a highly respected French and European Patent Attorney in the Life Sciences market running the firm Cabinet Lionel Vial – Saclay IP. Lionel was also joined by his highly capable Associate Margaux Esselin, further enhancing the team’s credentials.

Outcome

The official on-boarding and integration of Cabinet Lionel Vial – Saclay IP into Bardehle Pagenberg in June 2021 aligned well with the firm’s newly acquired multi-disciplinary status. Bardehle Pagenberg was delighted with the acquisition of the practice, enabling the firm to build a significant capability in life sciences to stand alongside its strong existing technology-centric expertise. Furthermore, the move has allowed Lionel and Margaux to leverage the firm’s greater overall brand to create opportunities with both new and existing Bardehle Pagenberg clients and provide a broader range of IP services to their existing clients.

Julien Freneaux, Managing Partner at Bardehle Pagenberg stated, “Our Paris office has been cooperating with Adamson & Partners for several years, so it is therefore quite natural that we turned to them once again for the search of an experienced high-quality team to strengthen our patent department in the specific field of Pharma and Life Sciences. Once again, trusting the team led by Chris Adamson proved to be the right choice: they carried out this mission with determination, perseverance, and flexibility, which led to a perfect outcome.”

If you are looking to develop and grow your IP and Legal departments, we would be delighted to assist. Whether you are looking for your next career opportunity, help expanding your team, or assistance with mergers and acquisitions, contact us today for a confidential discussion.

Want to keep informed on the latest Legal and IP news and insights? Sign up for our monthly newsletter to receive the latest industry insights from Adamson & Partners. 

For more information, please contact

Chris Adamson

Managing Partner