Smith, Gambrell & Russell has added eight intellectual property litigators to its Washington office by acquiring the D.C. office of Boston firm Murphy & King.

Edward Pennington, the group’s leader, will head Smith Gambrell’s IP litigation practice. Two additional partners, Stephanie Scruggs and Sid Pandit, plus three counsel and two associates also made the move.

Smith Gambrell’s managing partner, Stephen Forte, said the eight lawyers add litigation heft to his firm’s IP team, an important practice for the firm.

The group, which also handles patent licensing and opinion work, adds IP litigation capabilities and more than doubles the size of Smith Gambrell’s Washington office, which had seven lawyers handling IP prosecution and opinion work. About 30 of the firm’s 180 lawyers practice IP law.

“We wanted a marquis litigator,” Forte said of Pennington, who’s developed a national trial practice in patent and trademark litigation in his 30 years practicing IP law. “He has been with major firms and run an IP litigation practice in Washington for a long time.”

Pennington was managing partner of the D.C. office of now-defunct IP firm Morgan & Finnegan, then started an IP practice for Swidler Berlin, which was acquired by Bingham McCutchen in 2006. He then joined Murphy & King.

He has handled a variety of patent infringement disputes, ranging from suits over wireless telecom patents to smallpox vaccines to cooling systems for automatic weapons.

“We are trying to build IP firmwide,” said Forte, noting Smith Gambrell in October recruited a partner, Gregory Kirsch, who handles patent prosecution, from Ballard Spahr.

The IP group is the second major addition for Smith Gambrell in recent months, following its acquisition in October of a 19-lawyer New York firm, Hartman & Craven, which doubled the size of its New York office.