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In patent law, attorneys sometimes get to see the beginning of the next big thing.
It might be a game-changer, like an innovation in the fast-moving tech or biotech fields. But sometimes it's a lot closer to home, like when a law firm makes big changes in the field.
That's happening at Venable, which is acquiring intellectual property firm Fitzpatrick, Cella, Harper & Scinto. The emerging practice will be near the top in the patent field and one of the biggest law firms in the country.
With the merger effective Nov. 1, Venable will have about 800 attorneys. It will be one of the largest firms in New York City and a top 50 in the nation.
It will also jump up the ladder among intellectual property firms, as 104 Fitzpatrick lawyers will double the size of Venable's IP practice. Fitzpatrick was already near the top nationally in the specialty field.
"Fitzpatrick has been one of the top IP firms in the country for nearly 50 years," said Venable chairman Stu Ingis. "Its attorneys will be an excellent fit with the existing Venable IP practice and will also benefit our client base requiring broader IP support."
According to IPwatchdog, Fitzpatrick ranked 22nd among the best patent law firms in 2017. Large law firms like Greenberg Traurig -- with about 1,800 attorneys -- didn't break the 100 mark.
Changes in IP
The firm name will continue to be Venable, while Fitzpatrick IP lawyers will be known initially as Venable Fitzpatrick. The changes come as the boutique firm downsized over the past two years.
Fitzpatrick lost more than 25 percent of its lawyers from 2016 to 2017, due partly to retirements. The ABA Journal reported that the head count stabilized in 2018.
The merger will have an immediate impact in the IP field. Fitzpatrick's pharmaceutical clients will have access to Venable's product liability resources. According to reports, nearly have of Venable's cases involved product liability.