The firm has been very mindful of that trend in the past few years and has looked to grow accordingly, he said. "IP is our third-largest practice group in the firm," Soroko said. "It has been a very important ingredient in our success over the last few years."
There are more than 100 Duane Morris lawyers practicing between the firm's five California offices. About 70 of those lawyers are in San Francisco. That office started in 1999 with an energy and natural resources focus and has now become full-service, including lawyers practicing across the spectrum of IP work, Soroko said.
Khachatourian focuses her practice on intellectual property litigation. She represents high-tech clients in Northern California in patent, trade secret, trademark and related commercial litigation and counsels clients in the area of IP enforcement. Khachatourian's technology focus includes computer hardware and software, with an emphasis on encryption technology, related consumer electronics and computer peripherals, and video gaming technology.
Khachatourian's work includes high-tech and design patent infringement and licensing disputes; inventorship and ownership issues; trade secret misappropriation, particularly with competitors and departing employees; and trademark infringement issues.
Originally from the East Coast, Khachatourian relocated to the Silicon Valley area in 1998 and spent time with a few other law firms before landing at K&L Gates three years ago. She said the opportunity to lead a new office at Duane Morris was something she couldn't pass up.
In the short term, the other California offices and Atlanta can help handle the work that comes into Palo Alto, because that's what they've been doing, Khachatourian said. But the plan is to grow the new location and the firm has enough office space to do that, she said.
Aside from her practice, Khachatourian is an advisory board member of IP Counsel Cafe; chair of the strategic development board and co-leader of General Counsel Network for Watermark, a group for executive women; a partner with Leading Women in Technology as well as with ChIPs, an organization that advances women in IP law; and the co-founder of Salonnieres, a social organization for women professionals.
Khachatourian said Duane Morris' decision to put a woman in charge of the new office says a lot about the firm, considering most of her counterparts in the Silicon Valley are men.
K&L Gates declined to comment on Khachatourian's move.
CREATING A FOOTHOLD IN THE VALLEY