Merchant & Gould, an intellectual property law firm with five offices in the United States, and Welsh & Katz, a Chicago-based IP firm, have agreed in principle to merge, effective Jan. 1, 2006.

The combined firm, Merchant Gould Welsh & Katz, will have more than 160 attorneys and six offices in Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Minneapolis, Seattle and Washington, D.C.

“It’s a year in the making,” said D. Randall King, managing director and CEO of Merchant & Gould, of the merger plans that began with his discussion with A. Sidney Katz, managing partner of Welsh & Katz, at an Association of Patent Law Firms meeting.

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