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New Partner PHOTO

Synpulse widens circle of Partners

International management consultancy Synpulse has two new partners. The appointments are a result of strong growth in the company’s business with banks and insurers in Singapore and Hong Kong.

Synpulse has appointed Prasanna Venkatesan and Salomon Wettstein as new partners, according to a news release on Thursday. The firm also announced that Yves Roesti has joined its team of managing partners.

Roesti is based in Singapore and responsible for Synpulse’s consulting business in Asia. He studied computer science and economics at the University of Zurich and started his career at Synpulse in Zurich in 2006. Since his relocation to Singapore in 2008, he has led the expansion of Synpulse’s consulting business in Asia.

Promoting Digital Roadmaps

In 2015, he was appointed partner. Under his leadership, Synpulse grew the team in Asia to 150 consultants across three key markets – Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia. In particular, Roesti has been promoting banking operating model transformations and digital roadmaps.

Wettstein joined Synpulse in 2011. He holds a Master in Computational Science and Engineering at the Swiss Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich. Wettstein heads the Hong Kong office and oversees the banking practice in the Greater China region. He manages strategic business and technology transformations for clients in that region and is part of the global Operational Excellence leadership team.

Consulting Private Banks

Venkatesan also started his career at Synpulse in 2011 and is based in Singapore. He holds an MBA from the Nanyang University of Technology (NTU) in Singapore. He specializes in consulting for the private banking sector in the areas of advisory excellence, large scale transformation and leads the regulatory, risk and compliance practice in Asia.

Since its founding in 1996, Synpulse has supported banks and insurers along the entire value chain – that is from the development of strategies and their operational realization to technical implementation and handover. Synpulse stands out due to the industry expertise, passion and commitment of its more than 350 employees. The firm has offices in Zurich, Geneva, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Bratislava, Vienna, Singapore, Hong Kong, New York and London.

IP PHOTO

New patent court in doubt as German challenge looms

Intellectual property (IP) professionals say that plans to create a unified court for patent litigation in the EU could be jeopardised if a crucial court challenge in Germany is not heard swiftly.

Germany’s federal constitutional court, the Bundesverfassungsgericht (BverfG), said last week that it will decide on a challenge to the proposed Unified Patent Court (UPC) this year. However, the BverfG has not provided a firm time frame for hearing the case. The news puts the UPC project in doubt, as German and UK ratification is required before the agreement can be formally implemented.

The BverfG challenge, filed by Düsseldorf IP attorney Ingve Stjerna, questions the constitutionality of the German legislation enabling the UPC’s ratification.

Luke McDonagh, senior lecturer in IP and constitutional law at City, University of London, said that with Brexit looming, it is crucial for the court to make its decision.

‘If a positive ruling comes early there is a chance the UPC could be fully ratified and it might even start hearing cases before March 2019,’ he said. ‘By contrast, if a positive decision does not happen until late in 2018, it makes the timescale very tight. And if ratification does not happen before Brexit, it makes UK membership less likely, and may even throw the UPC’s future into balance.’

He added: ‘A decision that Germany cannot ratify would kill the UPC as Germany is the largest patent litigation territory in Europe.’

Luke Maunder, associate at City IP specialists Bristows, said there has been a ‘frustrating’ lack of information about when the court will make a decision and whether it will come in time for the UPC to come into being before Brexit.

‘That is highly relevant as UPC start-up post-Brexit would add a further layer of complication, especially if the much-talked-about Brexit transitional period does not materialise,’ he added.

The UPC, which will hear disputes related to unitary patents, will be open only to EU member states. One of the court’s major divisions is set to be housed in Aldgate Tower (pictured) in the City of London. It will, on occasion, have to refer certain matters to the European Court of Justice.

The UK is currently undergoing the final stages of ratification, a process requiring the rubber stamp of foreign secretary Boris Johnson.

Linklaters PHOTO

Exclusive: Linklaters opens fifth German office to chase banking work

Linklaters will open its fifth office in Hamburg in the first quarter of this year to capitalise on an increase in banking work for German clients.

The firm has made no lateral hires with the launch, instead transferring two existing partners from Frankfurt and Dusseldorf.

Linklaters LLP is a multinational law firm headquartered in London. Founded in 1838, it is a member of the “Magic Circle” of elite British law firms. It currently employs over 2,000 lawyers across 29 offices in 20 countries.

In 2016, Linklaters achieved revenues of £1.31 billion ($1.97 billion) and profits per equity partner of £1.45 million ($2.2 million), making it the world’s fourth highest-grossing law firm, and the most profitable member of the Magic Circle. In the UK, the firm has top-tier rankings across many practice areas, including corporate/M&A, capital markets, litigation, banking and finance, restructuring and insolvency, antitrust and tax. Linklaters counts more FTSE 100 companies among its clients than any other law firm. For direct deals by institutional investors in the first half of 2016, Linklaters tied for first place. In the 2012 Global Elite Brand Index, Linklaters was named the third strongest global law firm brand.