South African firm Adams & Adams has merged with corporate rival Bowman Gilfillan's IP practice.
Fifty-nine new staff including 19 lawyers joined the IP specialist's 60-lawyer practice on March 1. The former Bowman Gilfillan team will work out of the firm’s Pretoria office where its IP practice is based.
Five Bowman Gilfillan partners, Eugene Honey, Darren Olivier, Marius Gerber, Johnny Fiandeiro and Debbie Marriott will retain the same position at Adam & Adams. Partner Marius Haman has moved in-house at Microsoft.
Bowman Gilfillan, which had arguably the strongest IP practice of any corporate and commercial firm in the country, will now only offer clients IP due diligence services related to M&A deals.
Commenting on the merger, Dario Tanziani, chairman of Adams & Adams, said the move would be mutually beneficial for everyone concerned: "It will improve our client base and the clients will benefit from the combined experience of the two firms and a larger IP-directed infrastructure, especially into Africa."
South Africa saw two other mergers in 2011 between firms with strong IP capabilities. Corporate firm ENS joined forces with Morrison Forster in May, and Norton Rose combined with Deneys Reitz in June.