Background

Venner Shipley LLP is a modern and innovative firm of European patent and trade mark attorneys and litigators with a history stretching back over more than 80 years. With offices across the UK and a presence in Germany, Venner Shipley offers full-service international intellectual property (IP) services to a global client base, priding itself on a client-focused approach and a reputation for technical excellence.

Venner Shipley is known for its strong and reputable patent practice areas, but wanted to further strengthen its trade mark practice. This case study examines how Adamson & Partners helped Venner Shipley and Brookes IP realise their goals through a merger. Similarly, we explore why such integration proved an ideal opportunity for Brookes IP.

Knowing our strong reputation and in-depth IP market knowledge, Venner Shipley approached Adamson & Partners to assist them in this new growth plan. Adamson & Partners is uniquely placed, as an international IP executive search specialist, to draw on its strong network of clients and individuals. In addition to this, Adamson & Partners has proven success in bringing together likeminded individuals and businesses to realise future development plans. Adamson & Partners was pleased to partner with Venner Shipley to find a suitable solution for the strengthening and development of Venner Shipley’s trade mark function.

The Challenge

As a highly reputable and successful firm, Venner Shipley continually reviews its standing in the market as well as the breadth of its offering. Although the trade mark practice had grown steadily over the last few years, Venner Shipley felt that the current business model was too heavily weighted on the patent side. Initially it was thought that a key strategic hire on the trade mark side would be vital to sustain and strengthen the firm’s offering on trade mark work. However, Venner Shipley wanted to keep their options open in terms of the shape this appointment should take; whether it might be a high profile senior individual to grow the practice or perhaps a merger with a smaller trade mark and patent focused business. Venner Shipley were mindful that any appointment or merger would need to take into account a suitable cultural fit as well as maintaining their high professional standards. Further to this, any addition to the trade mark practice would require a solution that would complement both the existing team members and client base.

Our Solution

Milli Bouri, Partner and Practice Head – M&A Transactions at Adamson & Partners, met with Venner Shipley to learn about the proposed expansion and strengthening of the trade mark team. Venner Shipley explained their ideas for developing the trade mark function and were keen to have flexibility to consider all options. Any options offered would need to ensure that neither the existing set up nor the firm’s integrity would be compromised.

Milli was able to accommodate this flexibility by suggesting the possibility of running a search for a potential senior trade mark professional whilst, at the same time, exploring the market for a suitable team hire or firm merger.

In targeting potential individuals and firms, Adamson & Partners was keenly aware of the need to find a like-minded partner with a vision for the future that was in line with Venner Shipley’s progressive and distinctive culture. Ensuring momentum, commitment and positivity on both sides was key as well as facilitating clear and open lines of communication. Adamson & Partners’ confidential approaches ultimately yielded a potential partner in the form of Brookes IP.

With a history dating back over 160 years, Brookes IP was created in 2017, following a rebranding of the firm Brookes Batchellor. A boutique IP firm based in Tunbridge Wells, Brookes IP has an established and successful trade mark practice alongside a patent offering focusing on technical areas of electronics, engineering, life sciences and chemistry. Venner Shipley recognised the potential not only to merge with an experienced trade mark practice and new potential lead partner, but also gain additional resource on the patent side.

Conscious of the challenges experienced by smaller firms in a highly competitive market, Adamson & Partners approached Brookes IP to gauge their openness to a potential merger with Venner Shipley. Brookes IP recognised that for a firm of their size and location, organic growth was proving difficult and slow. In addition to this, attracting high calibre candidates outside of London was also becoming a further challenge.

Outcome

In merging with Brookes IP, Venner Shipley was able to realise their vision to grow and develop their trade mark practice. By merging with ready-made, successful trade mark and patent practice they gained a new set of trade mark clients and partners. In addition to this, they gained an office location in Tunbridge Wells, which would add to their UK national presence.

Brookes IP were able to realise their own professional development ambitions by joining a bigger team, allowing an expansion of their busy trade mark practice. On the patent side they will join together their significant experience to enable to the merged business to provide enhanced services to their combined clients.

During the negotiations, Adamson & Partners worked hard to ensure there was clear communication and understanding on both sides, to minimise potential stumbling blocks and to ensure a mutually beneficial, and successful, outcome.

Looking to grow your practice through mergers and acquisitions? We would love to assist you with your M&A transaction, contact us for a confidential discussion.

For more information, please contact

Milli Bouri

Partner