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It could have been one heck of a name: Townsend and Townsend and Crew and Lyon & Lyon. But Friday, the prospects for the tongue-twisting firm faded as word got out that merger negotiations between Los Angeles-based Lyon & Lyon and San Francisco’s Townsend and Townsend and Crew had run into a dead end. According to Townsend Managing Partner of Operations Susan Spaeth, the merger wouldn’t have been in line with Townsend’s strategic plans for growth. As a result, she said, discussions were called off on Friday. The two firms confirmed they were at the deal table two weeks ago, with the goal of creating one of the region’s largest intellectual property shops. Both firms have well-developed patent prosecution practices, as well as some degree of IP litigation. “I think of them as both being in the same space, and I’m not sure what size gives them in that practice area,” said legal consultant Peter Zeughauser, who wasn’t involved in the negotiations. “The jewel in the IP practice is in the litigation, not the prosecution.” Townsend boasts 150 attorneys in five offices across the United States. Lyon & Lyon also has five offices, though the fate of its New York outpost is uncertain. Ten of the New York attorneys are moving to Proskauer Rose. John McConaghy, the de facto managing partner at Lyon & Lyon, said he was unaware that merger talks had been officially called off. He said the discussions between the two firms had achieved a “rough outline,” but that there were still issues to be resolved. “As one of the administrative leaders around here I had met a number of Townsend people. I liked them very much,” said McConaghy. The limited contact between other members of the two firms seemed to be positive as well, he said. Partners at Lyon & Lyon are weighing what direction to steer the firm in, said McConaghy. “Things are up in the air. We’re considering what we’re going to do.” Senior writer Renee Deger contributed to this report.

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