THE BOOM in intellectual property (IP) law in Victoria coupled with an aggressive desire to take on the national firms has seen Brisbane-based Fisher Adams Kelly open an office in Melbourne.
“As we end our 10th year in Brisbane, we recognise that to continue our growth, we need to expand into other states,” senior partner Peter Fisher said. “We have a number of key clients in Victoria, so this was the obvious first choice for expansion.”
According to partner Mark Horsburgh, the move is also a response to the attention some of the big national firms have been paying to the legal market in Brisbane.
“The market in Queensland continues to have pressure on it from southern firms,” Horsburgh said. “Queensland seems to be a growing market, and indeed it is, and we continue to get a lot of firms from the south come up and try to make an impact here.”
When it comes to maintaining current IP clients and luring new ones, Horsburgh said attack was the best form of defence.
“We see that the Melbourne market is also growing, and there are as many opportunities in Melbourne as there are in Brisbane,” he said.
“So rather than continue to be defensive, fighting [the national firms] all the time, we ought to be on the offensive, and go down to Melbourne as well.”
Having existed under its current name for a decade, the firm has grown to seven partners and approximately 40 staff. It hopes to aggressively target the market in Victoria for IP work arising out of biosciences, electronics and information technology.
“IP has quite a rapid rate of growth at the moment. There’s a lot more awareness in the business community of the value of IP, so there’s a lot more general IP management than there’s been in the past, which means that people identify valuable ideas,” he said. “And they’re coming to us to assist in getting protection and to exploit them.”
The move to Melbourne makes good sense, statistically speaking, Horsburgh said. There is three times as much IP work in Melbourne as there is in Brisbane, with twice as much to be found in Sydney. All things going to plan, further expansion to Sydney would mark a sensible next step for the firm.
“Sydney is the logical next step,” he said. “If we continue to grow I certainly see opportunities to have offices in other cities as well.”
Establishing bases around the country is a commercially necessary step for a small firm wanting to mix it with the top tier.
“If we’re going to be facing a national practice, then we may as well be a national practice,” Horsburgh said.
Fisher Adams Kelly’s new office in Carlton will open for business in March 2007.