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Olswang’s patent prosecution co-head exits amid merger talks

Olswang has lost the co-chair of its patent prosecution group to Dentons as the TMT firm prepares its mega merger with CMS Cameron McKenna and Nabarro.

Described by the Legal 500 as ‘one of the pre-eminent patent prosecution attorneys in the EU’, Justin Hill specialises in advising on the preparation and prosecution of UK, European and international patent applications, designs, trademarks, know-how and copyright issues.

He also founded Olswang’s EquIP programme, providing legal advice to UK scale-ups and entrepreneurs with a focus on IP, corporate and commercial advice.

Hill will join Dentons as its head of its European patent prosecution and opposition practices.

Dentons’ UK managing partner Brandon Ransley said: ‘Justin brings heavyweight patent filing experience to the UK team, adding to the patent litigation experience of Campbell Forsyth who joined the firm earlier this year. Clients from the US and Asia increasingly require patent advice in Europe, and Justin’s arrival enhances our capacity to meet this demand, while also representing a further step towards achieving our objective of building a leading global patent capability.’

In August Dentons picked up a four-partner team from Irwin Mitchell. London real estate head Rob Thompson joined Dentons with partners Lewis Myers, Rupert Dowdell and head of corporate real estate Jayne Schnider. In June, Dentons also hired Nabarro corporate partner Jonathan Cantor.

Hill joins more than 30 partners who have left Olswang in the last 20 months as the firm prepared itself for a merger, which was voted through by the three partnerships in October.

The latest exits from the troubled tech player include co-head of life sciences and intellectual property partner Stephen Reese departing the firm in favour of Clifford Chance, the firm’s Spanish managing partner, Pablo Bieger Morales, who left for Broseta Abogados, and in Paris, experienced corporate partner Christophe Gaschin joined Groupe Bertrand as general counsel.

These latest departures add to those of Brussels partner Sylvie Rousseau, a former head of TMT for Linklaters in Paris, who quit the firm to become a consultant in July. Reading real estate partner Carol Phillips left the practice earlier this year to become head of real estate at Virgin Media.