Practice Area

Biotechnology

Patterson Belknap’s attorneys are deeply involved in the complex issues facing the biotechnology industry. Our practice includes highly experienced trial attorneys with extensive technical knowledge in the field. A number of our attorneys have Ph.D.s in molecular and cell biology, immunology, and biochemistry.

We represent biotechnology companies in a broad range of litigation matters, including patent infringement cases, patent licensing and other contractual disputes. We represent both patent holders and accused infringers in cases involving a wide variety of subject matters, such as monoclonal antibodies and fragments, expression of recombinant proteins, DNA and RNA probes, analysis of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) products and genetic transformation techniques.

Patterson Belknap litigators try cases in federal court in every judicial Circuit and regularly represent clients in alternative dispute resolution proceedings. We have also assisted in foreign counterpart litigations by coordinating positions, preparing witnesses, and assisting foreign counsel at trials.

The technical knowledge of our attorneys enables the firm to represent clients not only in patent infringement litigation but also in AIA trial proceedings and complex reexamination proceedings before the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. In addition, we negotiate patent licenses, counsel on new product launches and provide opinions concerning validity and infringement of biotech patents.

Our attorneys author BiologicsBlog.com, which tracks and analyzes developments in intellectual property law related to biotechnology and biologic medical products as well as regulatory and legislative changes.

Examples of the firm’s biotechnology matters include the following:

  • We are representing an innovator pharmaceutical company in the first case under one of the first cases under the legislation for biosimilars (BPCIA) and the first involving an antibody product.
  • We are representing the patentee in one of the first AIA trial proceedings involving a biotech patent.
  • In a patent license dispute involving a blockbuster biotech product, we obtained an arbitration award rejecting the entirety of plaintiff’s contract claim for $130 million and an award of attorney’s fees.
  • We successfully represented a leading biotechnology company in a number of multi-billion dollar arbitrations over patent and other IP rights to best-selling monoclonal antibody and recombinant protein therapies.
  • We successfully defended a major pharmaceutical company in a lawsuit arising from a licensing dispute challenging the validity of biotech patents concerning the cotransformation of eukaryotic cells.
  • We resolved a patent infringement action involving analysis of PCR amplified sequences on very beneficial terms for a biotech company.
  • In a case concerning a drug’s mechanism of action, we obtained summary judgment of noninfringement based on a series of antibody tests.
  • In a patent license dispute concerning the use of a recombinant protein as an enzyme replacement therapy, we obtained one of the largest settlement awards over the life of a contract.

Patterson Belknap Team

The following are brief overviews our team members’ relevant experience.

Gregory L. Diskant

Greg is a senior litigation partner at the firm, where he served as Chair from 1997-2007. Greg has tried numerous complex patent cases in federal courts and before arbitration panels involving medical devices, pharmaceuticals and biologics. He has secured billions of dollars in judgments and settlements for his clients, with multiple verdicts greater than $100 million. In jury trials around the country, Greg has successfully represented both patent holders and accused infringers. Two of his jury victories for plaintiffs were cited as major plaintiff's verdicts of the year; two of his jury wins for defendants were cited as major defendant's verdicts of the year. In 2010, he obtained a settlement in a series of patent cases of $1.7 billion, the largest patent settlement ever.

William F. Cavanaugh, Jr.

Bill is Co-Chair of the firm and an experienced trial lawyer. He has spent much of his career representing pharmaceutical companies in a wide variety of cases. He has handled high-stakes patent infringement cases involving drugs, DNA analysis and medical devices, and has represented pharmaceutical companies in arbitrations and litigations arising out of patent licensing disputes and pharmaceutical development agreements. He also has handled a number of major antitrust cases in the pharmaceutical industry and recently served as Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the United States for Civil Enforcement in the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice.

Steven A. Zalesin

Steve is a former Chair of our Litigation Department and Co-Chair of the Biotechnology Practice. He is a nationally recognized trial lawyer with wide ranging experience in representing pharmaceutical companies in intellectual property disputes. For example, Steve represented a leading biotech company in a series of multi-billion dollar arbitrations under license agreements concerning best-selling monoclonal antibody and recombinant protein products. Steve also successfully represented a major pharmaceutical company in a lawsuit challenging the validity of biotech patents concerning the cotransformation of eukaryotic cells, and obtained one of the largest settlement awards in a license dispute involving a patent for an enzyme replacement therapy. He is currently leading the worldwide defense of groundbreaking patents on a biologic that treats a rare genetic disorder.

Irena Royzman

Irena is a partner in our Litigation Department and Co-Chair of the Biotechnology Practice. She has significant experience in biotech and pharmaceutical patent litigation. Irena has a Ph.D. in Biology from MIT, where she was an NSF fellow and studied DNA replication. Through her research at MIT and the Whitehead Institute, Irena has hands-on experience in recombinant DNA technology, cell biology and genetics. Irena has represented biotech and pharmaceutical companies on a wide range of subject matters. For example, in a case involving a drug’s mechanism of action, Irena obtained summary judgment of noninfringement based on a series of antibody tests. Irena is representing an innovator pharmaceutical company in one of the first cases under the legislation for biosimilars and the first involving an antibody product. In addition to patent infringement litigation, Irena is defending the patent owner in one of the first inter partes reviews (IPRs) involving a biotech patent. She has also successfully represented clients in patent license disputes, and, in a dispute concerning the use of a recombinant protein as an enzyme replacement therapy, obtained one of the largest settlement awards over the life of the contract. Irena is a registered patent attorney and provides strategic counseling and opinions in the area of biologics and pharmaceuticals.

Aron Fischer

Aron Fischer is a partner in our Litigation Department, with significant experience in intellectual property litigation. He has represented both plaintiffs and defendants in successful patent trials and appeals involving pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and biotechnology products. Aron is currently representing an innovator pharmaceutical company in one of the first cases under the legislation for biosimilars, focusing on procedural issues of first impression under the statute. Before joining the firm, Aron was an attorney in the Honors program at the New York State Attorney General’s office and a researcher at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Andrew D. Cohen

Andrew is an associate in our Litigation Department with biotech and pharmaceutical patent experience in the areas of litigation, interference, due diligence, opinion, and prosecution. He has a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from Johns Hopkins University and an undergraduate degree in Chemistry from Princeton University. He has experience with a wide range of biotech and pharmaceutical subject matters, including small molecule pharmaceuticals, humanized antibodies, recombinant DNA technology, and protein-polymer conjugates. Andrew is a registered patent attorney.

Zhiqiang Liu

Zhiqiang is an associate in our Litigation Department with experience in biotech and pharmaceutical patent litigation. Prior to joining the firm, he was a Senior Research Scientist at Colgate-Palmolive Company in their Oral Care Research Department, where he was developing new actives and formulations and studying their mode of action. Zhiqiang holds a Ph.D. in Chemistry from Columbia University, where he studied the properties of zeolite particles and synthetic polymers. He was also a postdoctoral fellow at Columbia in a joint program between the Chemistry Department and the Genome Center, focusing on the development of a parallel gene sequencing technology and the development of a rapid PCR and mass spectrometry-based platform for simultaneously detecting multiple viruses and bacteria in clinical samples. Zhiqiang is a registered patent attorney.

Ryan M. Mott

Ryan is an associate in our Litigation Department and an electrical engineer. Before attending law school, Ryan's work focused on digital electronic design, including the design of bioelectrical DNA detection systems as part of research sponsored by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research and the National Science Foundation. After passing the patent bar in 2009, Ryan worked on patent prosecution matters, including drafting patent applications and patentability opinions, and also worked at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) as part of its Office of Legal Counsel. Since joining the firm, Ryan has litigated patents in the pharmaceutical and electrical fields, including patents on chemical compounds, syntheses, methods of treatment, polymorphic forms, and electrical devices and methods. Ryan's patent litigation experience ranges from actions in various district courts to inter partes reviews before the USPTO.

Charlene Choi

Charlene is an associate in our Litigation Department where she focuses on patent litigation. Charlene holds a B.S. in Biology from Stanford University, where she completed an honor thesis on cellular and molecular changes in the brain due to alterations in the environment. Charlene has experience representing pharmaceutical and medical device companies in patent infringement litigation. Charlene is a registered patent attorney.

Lachlan Campbell-Verduyn

Lachlan is an associate in our Litigation Department with experience representing pharmaceutical companies in patent infringement litigation. She has a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, in the Netherlands, where she developed new radiolabelled tracers for disease imaging, and an undergraduate degree in Chemistry from Mount Allison University, in Canada.

Elizabeth Callahan

Elizabeth is an associate in our Litigation Department with experience in patent litigation. She holds a B.S. in Biochemistry from the University of Notre Dame.