Richard Gearhart, former head of US patents for multinational drugmaker Novartis, left that job eight years ago to set up Gearhart Law Firm in Summit, N.J. He now heads a group of five attorneys and two agents, who claim 900 patent clients. And he's opening new offices: in New York at 5 Penn Plaza -- and Philadelphia, at the Innovation Center, University City Science Center, 3401 Market St.

Why Philly? "Philadelphia, especially the Science Center area, has some really exciting things going on in terms of entrepreneurship and technology development," Gearhart told me. Lots of medical scientists and software engineers, cheaper rents than in the New York area: "It's a good fit."

Developer Chris DePaulo was among Gearhart's first clients, for his lab-construction firm ProTecs. Seeking more local clients, Gearhart says a North Jersey tech incubator referred him to the University City Science Center, where sci-tech vp Chris Laing and colleagues "just really completely amazed me with everything that was happening, and I said, 'We want to be a part of this.'" Gearhart will bring in experts and practicioners for a Global Intellectual Property Law symposium March 30 at the Science Center, info here.