Just announced today, IPH will integrate Watermark into Griffith Hack (or Hacks as they are affectionately known). The co-location of staff into Griffith Hack’s Melbourne, Sydney and Perth offices will take place from April 2020 and the Watermark brand retired at that time. It is anticipated that this integration will provide annualised net financial benefits of between $2m and $2.5m from FY21 onwards – Watermark’s rent ain’t cheap!
Ever since IPH acquired XIP, it was only a matter of time before individual firms under the XIP banner would begin to be integrated, amalgamated or merged. And Watermark was low-hanging fruit. The only real question mark was whether Watermark would be brought into the Spruson & Ferguson brand or the Griffith Hack brand.
The choice of Griffith Hack is interesting. To my mind, it shows that IPH consider that the Griffith Hack brand is strong enough overseas to be worth retaining. More importantly, it shows that IPH were not taking the easy option of bolstering their Spruson’s presence in Melbourne by folding in Watermark. Given that Spruson’s has recently lost their Melbourne trademark practice to Allens, and have a very light patent presence, it may show that they consider their Spruson’s office in Melbourne to be unsustainable. Get ready to see Spruson’s Melbourne merged with Griffith Hack.
Are there any other mergers/integrations on the cards in the IPH stable? Well, I can’t imagine Shelstons will last forever and it might be worth merging this with Hack’s Sydney office to give this practice a strong and sustainable presence. And AJ Park? In time, it is hard to see this firm retaining its brand as it becomes part of the Spruson’s south pacific patent solution.
Have a good day!