The merger of Novak Druce + Quigg and Connolly Bove Lodge & Hutz in January created one of the nation’s biggest intellectual property superboutiques — and put the new firm squarely in the spotlight.

Houston-based Novak Druce Connolly Bove + Quigg, now with more than 120 lawyers, has been inundated with calls from lateral partners interested in joining, said Gregory Novak, managing partner and chief executive officer.

"Since our merger, there’s been just an amazingly increasing frequency of us being contacted by partners at other major firms, for the most part coming from AmLaw 50 and definitely AmLaw 100 firms," Novak said. "So that’s been a bit of a surprise."

The sudden wave of interest has accelerated the firm’s plans to expand. On December 31, Novak Druce opened its Boston office with the addition of seven attorneys. The firm also plans to boost operations in the Los Angeles area and in Silicon Valley, where it has "run out of room," Novak said.

Besides those cities, the firm maintains offices in San Francisco; Washington; West Palm Beach, Fla.; and Wilmington, Del.

"We are experiencing a lot of potentially serious lateral movement of highly regarded partners active in the California market," Novak said. "And if they do in fact move to our firm, some of that could result in the opening of these additional California offices." Some recent laterals, all in California, have come from Seyfarth Shaw, Dentons and Winston & Strawn.

Meanwhile, clients are unloading more work on its attorneys, Novak said. The firm continues to represent Apple Inc. in patent cases against its competitors over smartphone patents.

The firm defended Germany’s Julius Glatz GmbH in a case brought by competitor Schweitzer-Mauduit International Inc. before the International Trade Commission over patents related to cigarette paper wrappers. The commission on June 5 refused to prevent Julius Glatz from shipping its self-extinguishing cigarette papers to the United States.

The merger has expanded the focus of the firm, which already represents Merck & Co. Inc., on clients in the pharmaceutical and chemical industries.

On February 27, 2012, Novak Druce settled a case for Pfizer Inc. in a matter asserting that Canadian competitor Apotex Inc. had infringed on its Lipitor patents when marketing a generic version of the cholesterol-reducing medication.

— Amanda Bronstad