Two former partners of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips have launched their own trademark and copyright-focused intellectual property boutique in New York.
The five-attorney shop, Peroff Saunders, which opened in June, is led by partners Mark Peroff and Darren Saunders. The firm includes three associates, Cassandra Tam, as well as Bryan Peroff and Michael Peroff, who are sons of Mark Peroff.
The attorneys have signed a year-long lease at 745 Fifth Avenue, while one associate will work out of Chicago.
The launch marks the second time the partners have changed firms in about a year. Peroff and Saunders were formerly partners at K&L Gates and then spent more than six years at Manatt Phelps, which they left in May 2017 to join Wilson Keadjian Browndorf, a small firm with a flagship office in Irvine, California, as partners. Peroff was managing partner of the firm’s New York office and chair of the IP group.
Explaining the decision to open his own firm just a year after joining Wilson Keadjian, Peroff said it wasn’t over money. “My reasons for this were not financial,” he said. “We weren’t masters of our destiny, that was really the main factor.”
He said the partners wanted more control over the direction of their practice, client cases, expansion and personnel, rather than working at a larger firm that may channel support to other practices that wouldn’t impact their own. “By virtue of being in our own IP firm, all of our resources are very focused on our core business, without any other competing business,” Peroff said.
“Clients come to us because of us, rather than the name on the door of a commercial firm,” he said. “We just felt we were much more willing to do it ourselves, without having to confer with partners in California and elsewhere about things we wanted to do that would benefit our practice.”
Peroff said larger firms can see trademark work as conflict-ridden because it may foreclose an opportunity to take on a much larger matter in the future.
Peroff said the group has developed a “substantial practice,” such as representing Takeda Pharmaceutical Co., retailer H&M and Rubik’s Brand Ltd., owner of the famous puzzle cube, in trademark protection in the United States. Other clients include those in luxury goods, software and computer game industries.
The group’s trademark practice ranges from the initial clearance of a brand to trademark registration and to litigation, disputes and enforcement work in the United States and internationally. A small portion of their practice is related to design patents.
Peroff said the five attorneys left the Wilson Keadjian firm on amicable terms.
A spokesman for Wilson Keadjian declined to comment on their departure. Earlier this year, Wilson Keadjian’s New York office hired Jonathan J. Faust, formerly a partner at Katten Muchin Rosenman.