Toronto (Benson Kua)
The deal, effective Nov. 1, combines one of Canada’s top IP shops into the 3,756-lawyer Swiss verein that is DLA Piper. Dimock Stratton, founded in 1994, has been involved in one out of every five patent trials in Canada. Dimock Stratton’s co-founder, Ronald Dimock, now in his mid-60s, has handled more patent trials than any other lawyer in Canada, arguing before the Supreme Court of Canada in several of the country’s most important cases in IP law.
Despite the fact that Canada’s economy remains in the doldrums, global firms remain keen on increasing their presence up north, drawn by the country’s high level of professional expertise, its petroleum and other natural resources, and its connections to the Asian market.
The latest expansion by DLA Piper comes just a week after a pair of rival global legal giants announced notable moves in Canada. Norton Rose Fulbright absorbed 92-lawyer Vancouver firm Bull, Housser & Tupper, while Dentons announced a joint venture with a consultancy led by former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
DLA Piper entered the Canadian market in a big way 18 months ago by combining with 260-lawyer Davis. (DLA Piper shuttered Davis’ small outpost in Whitehorse earlier this year.) In July 2015, DLA Piper added four corporate partners from Wildeboer Dellelce to bolster its profile in Toronto. The latest bid to join forces with Dimock Stratton bumps DLA Piper’s office in the city to about 73 lawyers, according to its website, and to just shy of 300 nationally, said the firm’s Canada managing partner Robert Seidel.
But the firm still lags behind other vereins in Canadian brand recognition. DLA Piper ranked 15th in brand recognition in Canada this year, according to market research firm Acritas, while Dentons and Norton Rose Fulbright ranked third and 10th, respectively, on the national scale.
Dimock Stratton, meanwhile, has an enviable client list, including the likes of A&W Restaurants Inc., Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (BMW), Cisco Systems Inc., Easton Hockey Canada Inc., Magna International Inc. and The Procter & Gamble Co. In recent years, the firm represented Arctic Cat in a patent infringement suit by Bombardier Recreational Products Inc. and SNF Inc. in a patent suit against chemical giant BASF Corp.
“[Dimock Stratton was] looking for opportunities to go beyond what a boutique platform could provide,” Seidel said. “DLA Piper, because of its towering presence in the area of IP, was a very, very attractive offer for them.”
Asked about the cultural fit between both firms, Seidel, a former leader of legacy firm Davis, said that the union “was a perfect complement.” Dimock added in a statement that DLA Piper’s brand would help his firm’s better leverage their expertise globally.
“The multijurisdictional reach and vast network of resources of DLA Piper’s global platform will give our clients a significant advantage in meeting their IP objectives and protecting their investments,” Dimock said.