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Ian Murgitroyd – an innovator and pioneer with unparalleled industry vision

We are shocked and saddened by the passing of Ian Murgitroyd, the founder of Murgitroyd & Company, a remarkable international business which grew and prospered through his insight, passion and innovation, which Ian led for over 40 years with an unstinting determination and ambition.

Ian was at the helm of the Company he founded in 1975 for almost 45 years, ultimately as Chairman, before leading the business through a successful sale process in late 2019. Ian was widely admired and respected throughout the IP industry and wider business community. Our condolences are with Ian’s family and in particular his daughter, Liz and son, Ed at this hugely difficult time.

Ian started Murgitroyd & Company with a conviction to bring something new to the IP industry and this led to him building a Patent and Trade Mark Attorney practice which would become one of Europe’s flagship IP Firms.

Starting out from a single office at Bath Street in his native Glasgow, Ian was joined by partners, Norman Pattullo and Paolo Pacitti, and together they initially grew a successful local and then UK wide firm.

As the Company grew, Ian instilled many philosophies and disciplines, many of which continue to underpin the workings of the business today. The Company had a strong identity built upon values which attracted and retained a large number of loyal and highly capable staff, who thrived under the company’s continued growth and expansion.

As Ian often articulated “we set out to differentiate ourselves from our competitors by providing advice to our Clients, while they could still remember why they had asked us for that advice”. But the growth of the Company extended far beyond that.

As the Company grew it moved to Scotland Street in Glasgow, south of the River Clyde, a location special to Ian through a historical family connection. Initially, the Company was based at 373 Scotland Street, before acquiring and renovating the building at 165-169 Scotland Street, which remains the company’s global headquarters and which is now known as Murgitroyd House.

Ian had a strong commitment to introducing trainees into the IP profession and led a progressive programme of structured in-house training. This created an enduring legacy within the profession as can be seen by the many UK based firms founded by Attorneys trained at Murgitroyd over the years.

Ian’s children Liz and Ed both followed him into a career in IP, Liz qualifying as a Trade Mark Attorney working in the Glasgow and Aberdeen Offices, while Ed qualified as a Patent Attorney in Glasgow before moving to the US to lead the Company’s significant expansion into North America, subsequently becoming Chief Executive.

Over the years, Ian continued to push the boundaries of what could be expected from an IP Firm. This saw the creation of a pan-European office network, initially through the opening of offices in Dublin, Munich and Nice. In 2001, the Company took a further step into new territory for a professional services firm, by being the first firm of Patent & Trade Mark Attorneys in the world to become a public listing.

The sustained growth phase that followed market listing included several acquisitions and the Company also focused on the development of services such as Spectra (illustration and translation) and Sceptre (specialised IP services to solicitors). A permanent office was established in the United States and a sales office opened in Japan.

The Company broke new ground in the IP sector, following Ian’s philosophies of trying new things and taking advantage of opportunities when they presented themselves, as was seen with the acquisition of the company’s Managua office, which provides specialised IP support services.

A sustained and significant investment in technology to support efficiency and excellence in service delivery was a further example of a core philosophy Ian instilled in the business. Murgitroyd was one of the first firms in the industry to have a computer-based renewals system.

Ian was passionate about contributing to local communities and in supporting causes close to his heart, providing sustained financial support to build Nazareth House in South Africa, a facility which provides care for children affected by HIV. Closer to home, Ian was quick to act when a funding shortfall threatened the survival of the Scottish Youth Theatre. His philanthropic work continues through the Murgitroyd Family Foundation.

During the Company’s 40th Anniversary celebrations, Ian remarked that the initial plan when starting his Company was to make enough money to buy an E-Type Jaguar. His life-time achievements significantly surpassed that ambition and he leaves a lasting legacy which spans not just the IP sector, but the business community more generally and indeed touched any area where he focused his considerable talents and capabilities.

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