The Indianapolis office of Taft Stettinius Hollister LLP is bolstering its intellectual property practice by bringing aboard four patent lawyers from rival Bose McKinney & Evans LLP.
Chief among the new arrivals is Jim Coles, who will lead Taft’s IP practice along with Margaret Lawson, who is based at Taft’s Cincinnati headquarters. The others joining Taft are partners Ryan White and Anthony Filomena II, who is based in Raleigh, N.C., and associate Stephen Rost. They begin on Monday.
“Certainly, Jim Coles is on the short list of anybody in town,” said Robert Hicks, managing partner of the Taft’s local office. “We’ve always had our eye on him but never pursued him.”
Coles, who led Bose McKinney’s IP practice, has 35 years of patent and trademark experience. He worked at the former Jenkins Coffey Hyland Badger & Conard firm when it merged with Barnes & Thornburg LLP in 1982. He remained there until 1996, when he joined Bose McKinney.
Coles said he had been in discussions with Taft’s leaders for about a year but decided to wait until he was satisfied that the firm’s presence in Indianapolis was stable. Taft absorbed former law firm Sommer Barnard PC two years ago to establish an Indianapolis office.
Taft now has more than 90 lawyers in the city, ranking it as the seventh-largest firm, according to IBJ statistics. With the new arrivals, it boasts 13 intellectual property lawyers.
“It just seems like a great place to work,” Coles said. “It’s exciting for me, because I’m big into developing new client relationships.”
Besides Cincinnati, Taft’s Ohio offices are in Cleveland, Columbus and Dayton. The firm’s additional resources and lawyers, as well as its larger client base, drew Coles to Taft, he said.
Any lateral moves lawyers make likely can be attributed to the soft economy, said Hal Moore, a partner at Indianapolis-based Maginot Moore & Beck, an intellectual property boutique.
“It reflects that there’s definitely a tightening in the amount of work that’s out there,” he said. “People are seeking to get to the places where they can leverage their skill set and their client contacts.”
The intellectual property practice area gained prominence in the early 1980s when federal courts began recognizing and enforcing stronger patent-protection laws. A decade later, an explosion in software, computer and Internet usage has given rise to new demand for patent, trademark and copyright safeguards.
Patent attorneys typically have a technical degree in an area such as engineering, chemistry or physics and must pass the United States Patent and Trademark Office examination.
Bose McKinney, meanwhile is in discussions with intellectual property lawyers to replenish its practice, Managing Partner Jeff Gaither said. The firm has six lawyers in its intellectual property group, including one patent lawyer in Indianapolis and one part-timer in West Lafayette.
“We wish Jim and his group well and think this will be best for both firms,” he said.