Duane Morris has opened a new office in Palo Alto, Calif., making for the firm’s fifth office in the state.

The new location will focus, at the 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, Truckee, Los Angeles and San Diego, Calif. 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 California 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.

“Duane Morris lawyers will now be able to work from an office close to our clients, supported and augmented by our lawyers based throughout California and more broadly throughout the firm,” Duane Morris Chairman John Soroko said in a statement. “Karineh Khachatourian brings to Duane Morris a stellar reputation, established relationships with local companies and proven skills as an IP litigator.”

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.

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-technology and design patent infringement and licensing disputes; inventorship and ownership issues; trade secret misappropriation, particularly with competitors and departing employees; and trademark infringement issues.

“The firm’s entrepreneurial culture, technical know-how and drive to find innovative solutions for clients match up well with the character of Silicon Valley,” Khachatourian said in a statement.

Khachatourian is an advisory board member of IP Counsel Café; 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 Salonnières, a social organization for women professionals.

Read more about it in Friday’s Legal.