Patricia S. Rogowski, a former intellectual property attorney at Novak Druce Connolly Bove + Quigg’s Wilmington, Del., office, has joined Philadelphia-based Panitch Schwarze Belisario & Nadel, where she will lead her new firm’s expansion into Delaware.

Rogowski is a 26-year veteran of Novak Druce. She joined the firm in 1987, when it was Connolly Bove Lodge & Hutz, and served as a partner since 1995, representing clients in the consumer products and food sciences industries. She said it was tough leaving her old firm, but is excited about the opportunity to establish Panitch Schwarze’s Delaware presence. She joined Panitch Schwarze on Monday.

Panitch Schwarze launched its Wilmington office in September after two of its Philadelphia attorneys, John D. Simmons and Dennis J. Butler, became members of the Delaware bar and rented office space in the state. Rogowski said the firm has been looking for office space along Wilmington’s Route 202 corridor to accommodate roughly eight attorneys, but has not committed to a new building. The Wilmington office is Panitch Schwarze’s first satellite location.

It has not yet been determined if Rogowski will bring any former Novak Druce attorneys with her to Panitch Schwarze.

“We expect she will bring some attorneys, but that has not been finalized,” said Martin G. Belisario, a partner at Panitch Schwarze.

Rogowski served as the hiring attorney for 12 years at Connolly Bove and was a member of Novak Druce’s executive committee. She added that her administrative experience will be an asset to launching a new office.

“All of my management experience will help me,” she said.

Belisario said the firm wanted a Wilmington office because it is the nation’s most active jurisdiction for intellectual property litigation. Roughly 24 percent of all patent cases filed in the United States for the first 10 months of 2013 were filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, according to data from law firm Perkins Coie. The District of Delaware recorded 1,015 patent cases between January and September of last year, just topping the 920 cases filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas during the same period.

“It’s the number-one court for patent litigation in the United States,” said Belisario, who noted that Panitch Schwarze’s caseload is roughly 75 percent prosecution and 25 percent patent litigation.

Rogowski represents a mix of small to midsized consumer product manufacturers and food science developers based in the mid-Atlantic region. She said she is bringing all of her clients with her to Panitch Schwarze and the move will not impact her billing rates.

“The clients will not see an increase,” she said.

One of the factors Rogowski said influenced her decision to leave Novak Druce was the rate pressure the firm had placed on attorneys since last year’s merger with Connolly Bove.

“I represent a number of smaller clients with their intellectual properties and there was increasing rate pressure since the Novak Druce merger,” she said. “Raising hourly rates would be difficult for me with the clients I have. I thought, for that reason and the practice I have, I would be well-suited to manage Panitch Schwarze’s expansion into Delaware.”

Rogowski noted that rate pressure has become an issue for larger intellectual property firms.

“It’s very difficult when you do transactional intellectual property work to have rates in the fives and above,” she said. “It’s a nonstarter for most clients and as the firms get bigger, the rate structure becomes really unsustainable. I think sophisticated clients have pushed back and looked for ways to work out arrangements with firms.”

Rogowski said she was attracted to Panitch Schwarze because she had a good relationship with the firm’s attorneys, including a former Connolly Bove litigator. In addition, she developed a friendship with attorneys at her new firm through her work with the Philadelphia Intellectual Property Law Association. She is a past president and vice president of the PIPLA.

“I knew several of the Panitch Schwarze attorneys and I just knew that I liked those folks,” she said. “I made the move because it was a good fit for me and my clients. The size and the ability to lead a new office were both attractive to me.”

Although Jeff Bove, a senior partner at Novak Druce, told Legal sibling publication Delaware Law Weekly in January that Rogowski was “a great person to help build the Wilmington office up,” he said Wednesday that her departure will not impact his firm’s expansion plans.

“Pat decided that she wanted to try a smaller Philadelphia-based firm,” Bove said Wednesday. “Although we will certainly miss her and wish her the very best, we respect her decision to pursue something different. One of our main objectives for our Delaware office is to build our patent litigation practice, given the importance of the District of Delaware. This goal will not be impacted by Pat’s departure.”

“We continue to look for qualified litigators in Delaware and elsewhere who are interested in being part of our growing national IP boutique with offices in major patent litigation venues throughout the United States,” he added.

Rogowski is the latest departure from Novak Druce’s Wilmington office. Thomas McWilliams, Edward “Ted” Behm, Michael Berman and Jefferson Cheatham joined Barnes & Thornburg in late 2012. Mary Bourke joined Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice in October 2012 and brought four former Connolly Bove attorneys to her new firm. Chad Stover joined Barnes & Thornburg in October 2013.

Despite the departures, Bove said in January that Novak Druce had grown 5 percent per month firmwide over the last three to five months and has landed new clients. Bove declined to name the clients, but described some of the companies as “large, multinational corporations in high-tech fields.”

Jeff Mordock can be contacted at 215-557-2485 or jmordock@alm.com. Follow him on Twitter @JeffMordockTLI. •