NZ IP specialist expands to Australia with Brisbane acquisition

The bullish firm takes a shot at the large listed IP holding companies it’s going up against

NZ IP specialist expands to Australia with Brisbane acquisition

James & Wells has crossed the Tasman and opened its doors in Australia with an acquisition in Brisbane.

New Zealand’s largest privately-owned intellectual property practice has acquired Innofy IP, and there couldn’t be a better match for its Australian expansion, it said.

“Both firms share an ethos of championing innovation and working with clients to ensure their success. Further, both firms are aligned in their commitment to independence, which has drastically diminished in the Australasian market in recent years,” James & Wells said.

The firm said that it believes that the trend of publicly-owned companies consolidating most of Australia’s larger IP practices, and prioritising shareholder profit over client needs, is a “negative development” for the sector. In the last four years, about 70% of the profession became employed by listed companies.

Even the large Australian listed IP firms have themselves been consolidating. QANTM Intellectual Property and Xenith IP Group agreed to a merger last year, before IPH Ltd counterbid in March and ultimately acquired Xenith in August. IPH also acquired New Zealand’s AJ Park in 2017.

QANTM is the holding company for Davies Collison Cave, FPA Patent Attorneys, and Advanz Fidelis. IPH is now the holding company of the former Xenith businesses, including Griffith Hack, Shelston IP, and Watermark.

Ceri Wells, James & Wells founding partner, said that with so many firms now members of listed IP holding companies, there is a lack of independent firms for clients to turn to.

“Joining forces with Innofy represents a significant step in our strategy to fill that void and offer clients the independence they seek. It also opens up opportunities for ambitious and talented IP professionals who are looking for a future with a growing independent IP firm,” he said.

James & Wells said that Dr Andrew Clarke, founder of Innofy, will head the practice in the Queensland capital. It said that Clarke’s knowledge in biotechnology and immunology strengthens and complements the existing James & Wells practice.

“I’m excited to become a part of a growing IP practice that shares the same ethos of working and partnering with innovative clients at every stage of the journey – from experimental design to commercialising IP assets, and beyond,” Clarke said. “I’m also delighted that James & Wells is an innovative firm with a strong reputation for delivering a high standard of client service and leading technical expertise. It’s a genuinely great fit and we’re looking forward to the next chapter.”

Related stories

Free newsletter

Subscribe to our FREE newsletter service and we’ll keep you up-to-date with the latest breaking news, cutting edge opinion, and expert analysis affecting both your business and the industry as whole.

Please enter your email address below and click on Sign Up for daily newsletters from Australasian Lawyer.

Recent articles & video

"Stay in Sydney" – NSW hit by "very serious" outbreak

KWM bolsters partnership with 10 promotions

Baker McKenzie advises HSBC on billion-dollar sustainability-linked loan

UK Bar Council voices support for trans-inclusivity in the legal profession

Australasian Lawyer opens entries for its Fast Firms 2021 report

Money no longer the biggest drawing card for New York’s legal talent, study finds

Most Read Articles

New CEO steps up at MinterEllison

Sydney trademark law star named NRF’s new global IP head

Australasian Law Awards 2021 crowns the winners of the industry and firm categories

‘Being a commercial lawyer is about more than just the law,’ Lander & Rogers partner says