Say hello to Santarelli Group, a new French IP super-firm

It’s the deal of the year in the French intellectual property sphere. Santarelli, Brevalex and Ipside have announced their merger.

Posted Friday, March 19th 2021
Say hello to Santarelli Group, a new French IP super-firm

Operating under the Santarelli Group umbrella, the three firms have joined forces to form a new leader in the French intellectual property market in terms of size, resources, know-how and geographical reach.

With this tie-up, the French IP community has witnessed the emergence of a true giant. Santarelli Group is set to be a name of reference when it comes to patents and trademarks. The three original firms each has a rich history. Santarelli was set up in 1977 and is currently run by Luc Santarelli. Brevalex is an expert in patents and is headed by Eric Augarde, while Ipside, the right-hand man to startups and SMEs, is led by Christophe Cornuéjols, who becomes president of Santarelli Group.

A staff of 300 and an international presence
By joining forces, the firms in the Santarelli Group can offer first-rate services, the agility to respond to the needs of a fast-paced marketplace and the heft to be able to invest in new technologies and services. For the time being each constituent firm will operate under its existing name. With a staff of around 300, including 100 dedicated IP advisors, and a strategic presence in the US and China, Santarelli Group can provide unmatched services in the French industrial property landscape.

“It is a wonderful story, because I once again find myself working with Christophe Cornuéjols after 20 years, about to write a new page in the history of Santarelli,” comments Luc Santarelli enthused by the idea of reuniting with “an amazing professional,” a patent engineer who was his colleague from 1996 to 2000. Cornuéjols joined Schmit-Chrétien in 2008, a firm known today as Ipside, becoming its boss in 2010.

Three, that’s the magic number!
“The strength of this new firm is that each of its constituent parts is very different and, therefore, highly complementary,” stresses Luc Santarelli. “At Santarelli, our clientele is essentially composed of large organizations; this is true of Brevalex too, but in their case they work mainly with public and semi-public bodies. As for Ipside, its strong-suit has always been startups and the startup ecosystem.
There is also relatively little overlap when it comes to territory, and so conflict of interest was a marginal concern.”

This merger will bring the services of Santarelli Group closer than ever to a greater number of people and R&D centers, and give it a larger international footprint. Santarelli Group has offices in Paris, Toulouse, Bordeaux, Quimper, Poitiers, Lille, Marseille, Nantes, Grenoble and Massy-Saclay, with a further five towns (Bayonne, Pau, Montpellier, Brest and Tours) covered by locally based experts.

“Santarelli Group offers an unrivalled level of expertise, international experience and an innovative digital approach”

On the international front, the group will benefit from the work carried out by Ipside over the last number of years, which has two Chinese offices, in Shenzhen and Chengdu, in addition to offices in Las Vegas and San Francisco.

“In addition to pooling our resources and the high level of complementarity in terms of client profile, the shared values of the three firms are a gage of success,” explained Eric Augarde, the CEO of Brevalex, who will be in charge of the patents department at Santarelli Group. “We quickly found common ground in our approach to client service.”

As regards trademarks, designs, models and domain names, “Santarelli Group has reinforced its position as an indispensable part of the IP ecosystem, offering an unrivalled level of expertise, international experience and an innovative digital approach,” stated Eric Le Bihan, the head of the new trademarks department.  

The president of the Santarelli Group, Christophe Cornuéjols, added that it was his ambition to see the firm become “the biggest IP firm in France, as well as being a great place to work. For several years Ipside has been shifting its company culture towards that of a liberated company. At Ipside, employees can devote 10% of their time to activities beyond their main role, if it is for the good of the firm. This principle has been carried over to the Santarelli Group. I believe this is an important step in helping the company attract and retain the best talent, including graduates.”

A multi-faced legal offer
The new group will look to tap into the legal expertise developed by Gwendal Barbaut over the past decade at Ipside. His division, Ipside Avocat, has five lawyers in Paris and Bordeaux. “We are active in all areas of intellectual property, notably Industrial IP. The firm is noted for its success in the Soft IP realm (trademarks, designs and models), is involved in certain patent-law cases and has a significant amount of contractual work,” remarked Barbaut.

“Ipside was one of the first firms to offer both the services of a traditional law firm and intellectual property advice, and did so because we believed in the synergies such an approach would yield, as it would allow the firm to offer clients a complete range of services in the area of intellectual property. Our clients have always appreciated the fact that we are a one-stop-shop,” added the Ipside partner.

The main activity of the newly minted firm will be litigation, with advisory generally handled by the IP department. Barbaut and his team have set up an activity entirely dedicated to personal-data protection and also provide mediation services.

Anne-Sophie David