UPDATE 5/5: Our colleagues in New York were able to get through to Fitzpatrick Cella managing partner Colleen Tracy. She said the rumors that her firm is in discussions with Townsend are "not true" and said the firm has "never" been in discussions with them.
After ATL reported that Townsend and Townsend and Crew was in talks with Atlanta’s Kilpatrick & Stockton this morning, I did a little calling around to find out what’s going on at the ‘not denying that it’s looking for a merger’ patent boutique.
Sources familiar with the firm said that Townsend has indeed been in talks with Kilpatrick. They also mentioned another name: Fitzpatrick Cella, Harper & Scinto — a New York IP boutique.
Townsend spokesman Brian Colucci said that it’s all “rumor and speculation” and that the firm doesn’t comment on that sort of thing.
One thing to keep in mind with any merger talk involving Townsend: the firm’s partnership has more patent prosecutors than litigators. What does this mean besides the fact that partners play D&D instead of poker on Friday nights? It means that prosecutors — who file patents and whose rates are lower — would probably be more skeptical of a general practice firm where prosecution is generally not as welcome. And it means that they could vote down any merger if they didn’t like it.
Kilpatrick is a general practice firm, but its profits per partner are similar to Townsend’s in the $700k-$800k range. Other sources say that Kilpatrick has been looking to get into the California for a while. In keeping the with the time-honored flock of sheep law firm management system, Kilpatrick probably wants to keep up with the other Atlanta firms, King & Spalding and Alston & Bird (free reg. req.), that have offices here.
On the other hand, Fitzpatrick Cella is a patent boutique that is similar to Townsend but focusing more on the life sciences side of things.
If you know anything that I don’t, and I’m sure you do, email me.