After 18 months at King & Spalding, Silicon Valley patent litigator William Abrams is heading to Steptoe & Johnson in what may be an effort to open the firm’s first Bay Area office. King & Spalding’s director of communications Les Zuke confirmed that Abrams had resigned from the partnership as of Wednesday to join the D.C.-based firm. Steptoe doesn’t have an office in Northern California. The firm and partners in its L.A. office didn’t respond to requests for comment Wednesday.

King & Spalding recruited Abrams from Bingham McCutchen in July 2012, with the Atlanta-based head of the patent practice saying he looked forward to Abrams “anchoring and increasing” the firm’s West Coast patent litigation practice. The office, launched in 2008 with eight lawyers, has 19 lawyers today.

Before joining Bingham McCutchen in 2006, Abrams spent seven years at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman. Prior to that he was with Rogers, Joseph, O’Donnell & Quinn, Jeffer Mangels Butler & Mitchell and Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe.

Abrams represents software, hardware, Internet, life sciences and media companies as well as universities and research institutions and wineries. Steptoe & Johnson has offices in Los Angeles, Phoenix and D.C., where the majority of its IP litigators reside, according to the firm’s website.

Zuke said King & Spalding wishes Abrams well.

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