CMS wraps up Slovakian alliance ahead of Bratislava launch

CMS’ UK and Austrian member firms have called time on their alliance with Slovakian law firm Ruzicka Csekes, with plans to open a Bratislava office later this year.

The Slovakian firm of 40 lawyers had been in association with CMS Cameron McKenna and Austrian member firm CMS Reich-Rohrwig Hainz for five years, but now CMS is planning to launch its own fully integrated office in the country.

The alliance will end on 31 May 2017 and Camerons and Reich-Rohrwig Hainz aim to have an office in place by the summer with a newly created Slovak team of lawyers.

The firms have not decided whether the new office will be a joint venture, similar to the offices run by CMS in Russia or Istanbul, or a standalone office managed under the Camerons LLP or by Reich-Rohrwig Hainz.

A new office in Bratislava would bring the CMS group total to 66 worldwide. CMS operates as a European Economic Interest Group of firms, which includes 10 European members.

According to the firm’s latest LLP accounts, the share of joint venture turnover attributable to Camerons UK business was around £4m for the financial year ending 2016, up from £3.7m the previous year.

The UK business also operates further Central and Eastern European offices. Expansion in the region was originally led by executive partner Duncan Weston, prior to his appointment as managing partner in 2008. Camerons currently has offices in the region in Czech Republic, Poland, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary.

CMS recently added three new member firms from Chile, Peru and Columbia to its international group – increasing the total number of member firms in CMS to 13 earlier this month.

Brexit: Supreme Court says UK Parliament must give Article 50 go-ahead

Parliament must vote on whether the government can start the Brexit process, the Supreme Court has ruled.

The judgement means Theresa May cannot begin talks with the EU until MPs and peers give their backing – although this is expected to happen in time for the government’s 31 March deadline.

But the court ruled the Scottish Parliament and Welsh and Northern Ireland assemblies did not need a say.

Brexit Secretary David Davis will make a statement to MPs at 12:30 GMT.

During the Supreme Court hearing, campaigners argued that denying the UK Parliament a vote was undemocratic.

But the government said it already had the powers to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty – getting talks under way – without the need for consulting MPs and peers. It wants to do this by the end of March.

Reading out the judgement, Supreme Court President Lord Neuberger said: “By a majority of eight to three, the Supreme Court today rules that the government cannot trigger Article 50 without an act of Parliament authorising it to do so.”

The court also rejected arguments that the Scottish Parliament, Welsh Assembly and Northern Ireland Assembly should get to vote on Article 50 before it is triggered.

Lord Neuberger said: “Relations with the EU are a matter for the UK government.”

Outside the court, Attorney General Jeremy Wright said the government was “disappointed” but would “comply” and do “all that is necessary” to implement the court’s judgement.

 

NRB expands South African presence with takeover of boutique firm

Keller Snyman Schelhase’s four lawyers join Norton Rose Fulbright in Cape Town.

Norton Rose Fulbright has acquired four-lawyer commercial law boutique Keller Snyman Schelhase (KSS) in Cape Town, a move that comes six years after the global legal giant launched in South Africa via a merger with one of the country’s largest firms.

KSS partners Andrea Keller, Anton Schelhase and Lauren Fine are joining the firm’s South African partnership as directors. The Cape Town firm, which was formed in 2012, advises clients in the energy, infrastructure, real estate, retail, transportation and financial services sectors.

Peter Franke

Peter Franke has the depth and breadth of experience to bring a clear focus to your IP strategies.

Peter holds the degrees of Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Science, with a major in physics, from the University of Melbourne. He qualified as an Australian Patent and Trade Mark Attorney in 1990, and is also registered to practice in New Zealand. Peter has previously held senior roles, including as Chairman, in a major Australian patent attorney firm. Peter’s patent practice has encompassed a wide range of technologies and industries, including: medical devices, including mechanical, electrical, software and materials aspects of implantable, surgical and external devices, imaging and diagnostic methods; software and internet services; sustainable technologies, including power storage, hydrogen generation, water treatment, solar thermal systems, and photovoltaics; electronic and mechanical devices; building products; computer hardware; telecommunications systems and services; gaming systems including slot games and table games; and optical systems including fibre optics. Peter also has an active trade mark practice, having acted for major Australian and international companies.

PATENTS PRACTICE:

You invest a lot of time, money and effort into the development of new technologies that represent a competitive advantage for your products or services. You need to prevent competitors from gaining an income at your expense by copying.

Franke Hyland drafts patents for a wide range of technologies and then manages the entire application process in Australia, New Zealand and internationally to achieve the best protection for your invention.

Our services include conducting searches of patent and other publications to determine and advise on the patentability of new technologies, and can also advise on whether your new project might infringe other people’s patent rights.

Patents form a very important part of an overall Intellectual Property strategy that allows you the achieve the most useful protection available within the constraints of your budget.

IP strategy, and balancing the intersection of IP law, business and technology underpin all of Peter’s work.  Peter has extensive experience in drafting and prosecuting to grant patents in Australia, and taking them to grant around the world.  He is also experienced in pre and post grant procedure in Australia, including oppositions, re-examination and amendment processes.  He regularly provides expert reports to assist due diligence, IPO and related activities.  Peter also counsels clients and provides opinions on infringement and validity issues.

 

KWM China speaks out on Europe demise “there’s nothing we could have done differently”

King & Wood Mallesons’ new European partnership – which consists of 32 partners – has been invited to a partner conference in China in February where they will be told about the new strategy for the global firm following the LLP going into administration this week.

The news comes as KWM Shanghai M&A partner Mark Schaub has become the first Chinese partner to speak out about the European administration.

Speaking to The Lawyer he said: “We’ve reached out to clients whose matters are continued to be worked up on. Some Chinese clients have raised concerns, but we’ve been able to deal with their concerns.”

He added there was a “sense of sadness” in the Shanghai office today about what has happened with the European firm. “People here are thinking about their former colleagues in Europe today,” he said.

“At the heart of it, all of us would have preferred a different outcome, but it was unfortunate that the legacy SJ Berwin partners couldn’t commit to the rescue offer made by the Chinese and Australian firms a few months ago.

“We’re doing our best to minimise the impact on clients and we are more looking forward to see what we need to do to make it work.

“There was a feeling that the failure in Europe has nothing to do with the Chinese firm or Australian firm or the verein. Many people said the legacy SJ Berwin had issues prior to the merger and those issues percolated to the top a few years after.

“We’ve tried to support Europe and refer matters to our European colleagues as well as the rescue offer last year. There is a sense that nothing we could have done differently that could have changed the outcome.”

Schaub was the first foreign partner to join Chinese legacy firm King & Wood in 2000.

The lawyers who are remaining with KWM in London following the administration will move to a small serviced office in St. Paul’s in the next few days.

The Lawyer has learned EUME managing partner Tim Bednall, a legacy Mallesons partner, is likely to return to the Australian partnership following the European collapse.

It has not yet emerged who will run the European arm of KWM.

The partners remaining with KWM in London are: disputes partners Andrei Yakovlev, Dorothy Murray and Darren Rosier, corporate finance partner Greg Stonefield, M&A partner Joseph Newitt, corporate partner Mike Wang and structured finance partner Vanessa Docherty.

The Chinese-Australian firm will also maintain “core practices” in Frankfurt, Dubai and Riyadh, plus affiliated offices in Madrid, Milan and Brussels. It has closed the office in Luxembourg, while the Paris office has moved en masse to Goodwin Procter and Willkie Farr.

The Madrid office will keep 10 partners; Milan will keep five; Brussels one; Dubai four; Riyadh two and Frankfurt three.

The new European platform will continue to operate under the Swiss verein structure. KWM China established a new LLP in Germany, KWM Deutschland LLP, late last year.

Each office has received financial support from China this week. The Europe offices will operate as single entities and report their financial results individually, in accordance with local regulations.

KWM’s reduced London office will consist of 12 associates and 12 staff, including consultants, plus the seven partners.

Around 30 partners from the EUME operation, which is now in administration, will join KWM China. The Dubai office has been led by SJ Berwin lifer and former litigation head Tim Taylor QC.

KWM global chairman Wang Junfeng said in a statement: “I am proud and excited by the determination of our partners who have worked so hard with us to realise this practice in deeply challenging circumstances. This is a very good outcome for international clients and for the continued development of our firm.”

On Tuesday restructuring specialists Quantuma confirmed it had been appointed administrators to KWM LLP.

All of the firm’s remaining assets and control of the business will now transfer to Quantuma administrator Andrew Hosking.

Hosking has appointed a number of advisers to the administration process which have been approved by KWM lender Barclays. The advisers are CMS Cameron McKenna partner Rita Lowe, who famously advised on the Dewey & LaBoeuf administration, Pinsent Masons partner Steve Cottee, and Ashfords, which is providing regulatory advice. Ashfords head of financial risk Sam Palmer has been appointed solicitor manager to the administration.

Hosking will attempt to repay some of KWM’s substantial debts in the UK and Europe, including its £35m loan from Barclays.

KWM first filed its notice of intention to appoint administrators on 22 December, and renewed it last week to buy itself more time to sell off parts of the business.

A number of teams, including trainees, associates and support staff, have been sold off by KWM managing partner Tim Bednall to other firms in recent weeks.

Goodwin Procter took a 26-strong team last week. Other groups have moved to DLA Piper and Reed Smith, with more set to move to Macfarlanes, Covington & Burling and Keystone Law.

Last week Bednall broke the news to all remaining employees that it would not be able to pay salaries owed for January after Barclays rejected a call for extra funds from the firm.

On the same day KWM’s former administrators AlixPartners pulled out of the administration, with the firm instead turning to Hosking.

In total, more than 40 partners left KWM across the UK, Europe and Middle East in the last two months of 2016 as the LLP’s finances reached crisis point and an administration became inevitable. Around 90 partners left the firm in total over 2016.

Trump transition leaves DC legal market “saturated”

The inauguration of president elect Donald Trump is a topic that reaches pretty much every aspect of life, something that is apparent in this comment from one Washington legal market specialist: “I was talking to my therapist last Friday and she told me that every one of her patients was obsessing with Trump. Nothing is in equilibrium. It’s like Brexit, you simply cannot think of anything else.”

José Juan Pintó Sala

Mr. Pintó is a partner of Pintó Ruiz & Del Valle, a firm he joined in 1975. He is an expert in both Corporate and Sports Law, his expertise in said areas involving also litigation and arbitration. In addition to his extensive experience in connection with family companies, he has participated either as an arbitrator or as an attorney in more than 250 arbitration procedures, most of them of international nature, in several languages, such as Spanish, English, French and/or Italian.

He is Secretary to the Board of Directors of several quoted and non-quoted companies. He is, and has been in the past, the Chairman of several companies, as well as of national and international associations. As an arbitrator at the Tribunal Arbitral du Sport (TAS), he has participated at the Ad Hoc Divisions of the Football European Championship held in Portugal in 2004, the Winter Olympic Games of Vancouver 2010 and the South-Africa World Football Championship held in 2010.

Sports Law Practice:

This is one of the firm’s most comprehensive departments and provides the following services:

  • Legal advice to sports organizations, clubs, associations, sports groups and football players
  • Appearing in Discipline Committees and Sport Courts
  • Drafting of athletes contracts
  • Sponsorship and Image Rights
  • Designations of sports entities as public-interest organisations.
  • Representation before Spanish and international Sports Courts.
  • Database including legislation, sport-related jurisprudence and precedents.
  • Litigation and arbitration

Pintó Ruiz & Del Valle:

Pintó Ruiz & Del Valle, Lawyers and Economists, was born from the merger, in 1999, of two of the oldest, most prestigious law firms in Spain, Bufete Pintó Ruiz and Del Valle Abogados (founded in 1903 and 1910 respectively). Both of them brought into the new firm a highly-specialised profile and their considerable prestige in the practice of Law, thus enabling us to meet our clientele’s ever-growing requirement for the provision of fully comprehensive legal services.

The firm currently consists of more than sixty lawyers distributed in the offices of Madrid, Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca and Alicante.

Pintó Ruiz & Del Valle offers counselling, both in Spain and also internationally, in every field of the legal practice, such as civil, corporate, tax, sport, criminal, litigation, arbitration, procedural, labour, industrial and intellectual rights, and maritime Law, including logistics and transport.

 

Baker & Mckenzie predict plunge in M&A activity as Brexit uncertainty continues

Corporate deals in the UK will continue to drop on last year in the wake of Brexit uncertainty, according to one law firm.

Baker McKenzie’s medium-term forecast report on M&A activity predicts that in the event of an “amicable separation Brexit will have only a modest impact on transactions in most of Europe”.

However, the immediate outlook is less positive, with the report arguing that the value of deals this year would plunge by more than 60 per cent compared to last year, resulting in a total of about £102.5 billion.

In the rest of the EU, however, the forecasters expect the value of deals to soar by almost 44 per cent to £376bn.

Tim Gee, a partner at the firm, said: “Given Brexit’s impact on business confidence, we expect M&A values to fall by two thirds in 2017 after numerous large deals in the first half of last year boosted 2016.”

He added M&A activity should stabilise next year “as greater certainty emerges about the UK’s new relationship with the EU and the rest of the world”.

Omar M. A Obeidat

Partner, Regional Head of Intellectual Property

Education

Yarmouk University, Jordan – LLB degree              1996

University of Georgia at Athens, USA – LL.M. degree      1997

Admission Details/Call to Bar

Jordan Lawyers Bar Association 1997

Languages

  • English
  • Arabic

Experience

Omar Obeidat is a Partner in Al Tamimi & Company and the Head of Intellectual Property Department and enjoys over 18 years of experience in this field.

Omar obtained his LL.B degree in 1996 from Yarmouk University, Jordan, and his LL.M. degree in 1997 from the University of Georgia at Athens, USA. His main field of specialisation is in Intellectual Property, Competition, Media, Data Protection, Regulatory Affairs and Compliance, Consumer Protection. In the UAE and also in the Arab region.

He has extensive experience in IP Audit Due Diligence having managed the entire IP Audit for Qatar Rail, Emaar Malls and Meraas Holding IPO.

Omar helped his clients protect their managing intellectual property rights in the UAE, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt and Iraq, by way of managing trademark portfolios and advised on protection of IP rights, and enforcing trademarks and copyright throughout the region whether through Customs authorities for in-bound and out-bound shipments or through local police and administrative authorities in respect of offending goods in-market. His experience in the field of intellectual property enabled him to train judges, police officers and custom officials on the laws and practice of enforcement and prosecution of rights.

Omar is also particularly strong on pharmaceutical regulatory affairs and acted for the main organisation and members of the pharmaceutical organisation (PhRMA) on challenging unauthorised marketing approvals. Omar also advises tobacco clients on standards and specifications conformity and also in acting against Contraband and illicit trade. Omar further advises on Marketing Campaigns and Promotions and clearances for advertisements. Omar also took on high profile cases of defamation in favour of major broadcasters and advises on false advertisement and unfair commercial practices.

On the legislative side, Omar assisted in drafting or commenting on Trademarks Regulation, Industrial Property (Design & Patent) Law, Trade Secrets Draft, Competition draft, Cyber Crimes Law, Plant Varieties Law, and E-commerce Law.

Omar has spoken at tens of seminars, conferences, round tables on mostly intellectual property and, is regularly hosted on Televised programs including BBC’ World; Middle East Business report, Dubai TV, One TV and Abu Dhabi TV and has extensive publications.

Omar is member to many organisations locally and internationally including Dubai Quality Group, Board member of Brand Owners Protection Group (BPG). Jordan Bar Association and International Trademarks Association. (INTA) and chaired and sat on various committees with INTA.  Omar is on the editorial board of the Trademark Lawyer Publication.  He is also a Trustee and Board member to the Dubai Advisory Board for Intellectual Property.  This Board advises the Dubai Government on high level matters and strategies in relation to Intellectual Property. In addition to be a member of the Advisory Board for the Middle East North Africa Franchise Association (MENAFA).

Omar is ranked Band 1 in Chambers and Tier 1 in Legal 500, The World Trademark Review ranked Omar as Gold and states “IP head Omar Obeidat is the star of the show; he is strongly endorsed for his anti-counterfeiting know-how and his in-depth understanding of IP law”. Omar was also a Winner of the Client Choice Awards 2015 under the practice Intellectual Property-Trademarks. He was also chosen by Managing Intellectual Property in the IP Stars Handbook of 2014 and 2015.

 

Carlton Fon Akkum

Cameroon / African Intellectual Property Organization, (OAPI)

Carlton is the Managing Partner of the firm with more than fifteen years of outstanding practice. He studied Law and Economics and has many qualifications. Admitted to the Cameroon Bar Association in 1996, he advices local and international clients in all aspects of corporate transactions and corporate Law as well as venture capital investments. He also has extensive experience in Intellectual Property Law, Mining and Hydro-carbons, Civil Aviation and Labour and Trade Relations. He is currently advising Rodeo Resources and Grynberg Petroleum Company, United States based Corporation, on the Exploration, Exploitation, Development and Marketing of the on-shore Logbaba natural Gas/Condensate Field project in Cameroon. He has advised Ansette World Wide Aviation and G.E. Capital Aviation Ltd., with respect to five (5) Air-Craft Lease Transactions contracted with the Cameroon Airlines. Carlton has also handled other highly complex structured finance transactions.

The firm is a full-service IP firm, accredited before the 17 Memberstate Countries of the  African Intellectual Property Organization,(OAPI). 

Prior to joining AKKUM, AKKUM & Associates LLP, he constituted one of the two (2) partners in the Nico Halle & Co Law Firm and was the Assistant Managing Partner for several years. Carlton has a well established practice and is proficient in both English and French.