Davies Collison Cave’s history goes back more than 130 years to a time before Federation and the infancy of Australia’s innovation industries.
Charles and Arthur Collison: pioneers of Australian patent law
In 1877—the same year the telephone (patented in the USA by Alexander Graham Bell in 1876) was first used in Australia —Charles Collison and John Conigrave established a patent agent business in Adelaide. Their practice probably included general commercial agency and land broking activities, as patent work alone would not have sustained them at that time.
Conigrave left the practice in 1889 and Charles was later joined by his son, Arthur. Charles was instrumental in developing the first professional body of patent agents, The Australasian Institute of Patent Agents. Arthur was an original signatory to its Memorandum and Articles of Association and was later elected to three separate terms as president of the Institute.
Collison and Co in Melbourne: 1904
When the Australian Patent Office opened in Melbourne in 1904, Charles relocated to Melbourne and established Collison & Co. in the South Australian Insurance building at 483 Collins Street. This original office is now part of a group heritage classification of four buildings, including the famous Rialto building.
Australia’s first trade mark: 1906
On 2 July 1906, the first day for registration of trade marks in Australia, Daisy Williams, a young employee of Collison & Co. Melbourne, queued outside the Patent Office in order to obtain Trade mark No. 1. Daisy remained an employee of the firm for 60 years.
Davies Collison: 1929 – 1991
Upon the death of Charles Collison in 1929, the Melbourne practice of Collison & Co. was acquired by Les Davies and the name was changed to Davies & Collison. That name remained unchanged for more than sixty years.
Davies Collison Cave: 1991
In 1991 the Sydney firm Arthur S. Cave was acquired from Stan Cave and Jim Siely and the present day Davies Collison Cave was born. The Sydney firm already had a rich heritage: Arthur Cave had purchased the 1882-founded firm of Fred Walsh in 1937.
Les Davies became a towering figure in the patent attorney profession. Immediately after the Second World War, Les joined an international taskforce to investigate the German Patent Office records with a view to identifying and claiming valuable inventions as war reparations. He was awarded an OBE in 1965.
During the 1950s the firm became extremely busy as Les embarked on overseas travel and the economy grew rapidly. Ken Rimington, who was a senior partner from 1959 to 1988, had joined Les in 1947.
A Canberra office opened in the late 1960s and was staffed by partner Gunveld Luksteins. Gunveld was extremely ambitious and brought a strong commercial focus to the firm, while successfully cultivating international relationships. Sadly, he died in a fishing accident in 1969.
A focus on staff: 2001 and beyond
Davies Collison Cave principals and staff have always been active in professional activities involving the education, regulation, academic support and leadership of the profession. Principals hold presidential positions on local and international professional bodies and have been appointed to Professional Standards Boards.
From the very beginning, the firm has engaged principals and staff at the forefront of technology. From mechanical agricultural devices of the late 19th century, pre-war metal alloys and war-time gas generation innovations, to post-war plastics, pharmaceuticals and computer developments, through to modern day biotechnology. The patent practitioners have become ever-more qualified, to the point where new staff today have typically completed doctorates or post-doctoral studies.
Davies Collison Cave opens in Singapore
As clients increasingly looked to Asia for future growth, DCC expanded its operations in 2015 to ensure our advice and support for clients’ IP strategies continues to compliment their business plans across jurisdictions seamlessly. One of the world’s most innovative countries, Singapore was an easy choice for the firm. The Singaporean government was successfully encouraged the growth of a thriving international business community, and was renowned for a strong intellectual property regime, providing supportive legal structures for developing and commercialising innovation.
The Singapore team is an integral part of DCC and is supported by the full resources and expertise of DCC professionals.
Davies Collison Cave (A QANTM subsidiary)
At the end of August 2016, QANTM IP Limited (QANTM) acquired DCC and the specialist IP firm FPA Patent Attorneys (FPA) and undertook an initial public offer on the Australian Securities Exchange. With more than 135 highly qualified professionals and over 260 years combined history, DCC and FPA have a strong track record in providing IP services to a broad range of Australian and international clients, ranging from start-up technology businesses to Fortune 500 multinationals, public research institutions and universities. In total, QANTM has over 370 employees across major offices in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Singapore. The firms also represent clients directly in New Zealand and assist clients to secure and enforce IP rights across the world, through a network of trusted associates.
Both DCC and FPA continue to operate as independent businesses. The existing partners and staff of both DCC and FPA remain in place and the former partners of the two firms retain a greater than 50% interest in QANTM. The revised corporate structure provides DCC with an increased capacity to invest in IT and other systems innovation, to expand into other jurisdictions and to retain and attract highly skilled staff. These initiatives will enable DCC to continue to improve the service offering to our clients.