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Buy-back: Bird & Bird shelves trademark and IP consultancy spin-off

After a management shake-up at its IT consultancy arm, Bird & Bird has shelved its intellectual property and trademarks spin-off, just two years after launch and after almost 50% the partnership put capital into the business.

Aves Brands, a consultancy set up by the IP and technology focused firm in 2013, was re-acquired by Bird & Bird over the summer from Aves Enterprises. The firm applied for a change of name in July, rebranding the spin-off as Bird & Bird IP Services.

Lawyers at the 285 partner firm could invest in Aves Enterprises – the parent company of Aves Brands and Bird & Bird technology and IT consultancy Baseline – including using amounts from quarterly profit distributions, Legal Business understands. However, only 157 current and former Bird & Bird partners and other employees are currently invested in the Aves Enterprises LLP.

While the consultancy’s website has been shut down, its marketing material claimed it could save companies 30-50% in IP support services costs, as its ‘broad range of transactional services allows you to offload your administrative burden.’

In its latest financial results, Aves Brands reported turnover of £660,000 for the year ending December 2015, but also recorded losses of £200,000 with costs mostly related to recruitment and marketing.

Partners at Bird & Bird currently control much of the £500,000 worth of shares invested in the company. The spin-off was led by chief executive Jade Thompson, a former global marketing director at CPA Global, with the company’s directors including senior Bird & Bird IP partners Morag MacDonald and Katherine Stephens.

Around 150 former and current Bird & Bird partners and other employees have shares in Aves Enterprises – the parent company of Aves Brands and Bird & Bird technology and IT consultancy Baseline.

Baseline has also experienced significant changes this year, losing its chief executive Dominic Cook, a senior Bird & Bird partner, who quit the firm earlier this year. Cook left following a failed leadership challenge against long-standing Bird & Bird chief executive David Kerr. It recently appointed Edoardo Monopoli, founder of Valeocon Management Consulting, as its new chief executive.

Baseline’s reported turnover dropped from around £1m in 2014 to less than £250,000 for the year ending 2015, according to its Companies House accounts. Partners at Bird & Bird invested capital in the startup in 2015 to work on IT project consultancy, with a deal to channel Baseline’s legal work back to the firm.

Bird & Bird declined to comment.