Duane Morris has opened a new office in Palo Alto, Calif., making for the firm's fifth outpost in California.
The new location will focus, to start, on intellectual property litigation. To that end, the firm hired K&L Gates partner Karineh Khachatourian and associate Patrick S. Salceda.
Duane Morris already has offices in San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego and Truckee, Calif., which is near Lake Tahoe. The firm said the Palo Alto office will give Duane Morris attorneys more efficient and direct access to clients across the high-tech hub that is the Silicon Valley. Attorneys in the firm's existing four offices will help to service clients in the Palo Alto location.
The firm said Palo Alto is a natural fit for Duane Morris' work in patent litigation and prosecution, trademarks, copyrights, venture capital, private equity and related commercial litigation.
The intellectual property practice, particularly in California, has been a strategic growth target for Duane Morris recently.
L. Norwood "Woody" Jameson, chairman of the practice, said in a statement that the launch in Palo Alto was a direct response to client feedback. He said the IP practice leadership is making a "substantial commitment" to the West Coast with a priority on hiring in Palo Alto and other California offices.
Duane Morris Chairman John Soroko told The Legal Intelligencer the firm wanted to get closer to the types of clients that fall into the firm's IP "sweet spot," which he said was in the computer, high-tech and telecommunications space. Khachatourian said she would be bringing clients with her to Duane Morris, including video game makers, video game console makers and software manufacturers.
Duane Morris changed the leadership of the IP practice in early 2012. Lewis F. Gould Jr. stepped down and Atlanta-based Jameson took his place.
Jameson's practice has a strong emphasis on patent litigation for electronic engineering companies, making the firm's goals in Palo Alto and San Francisco a natural evolution for the practice, Soroko said.
"Companies are being much more circumspect about where they are willing to invest dollars in litigation efforts, but things that continue to be important to our clients are issues that surround intellectual property," Soroko said.