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For more than four decades, Fenwick & West LLP has helped some of the world’s most recognized companies become, and remain, market leaders. From emerging enterprises to large public corporations, our clients are leaders in the technology, life sciences and cleantech sectors and are fundamentally changing the world through rapid innovation.  MORE >

Fenwick & West was founded in 1972 in the heart of Silicon Valley—before “Silicon Valley” existed—by four visionary lawyers who left a top-tier New York law firm to pursue their shared belief that technology would revolutionize the business world and to pioneer the legal work for those technological innovations. In order to be most effective, they decided they needed to move to a location close to primary research and technology development. These four attorneys opened their first office in downtown Palo Alto, and Fenwick became one of the first technology law firms in the world.  MORE >

From our founding in 1972, Fenwick has been committed to promoting diversity and inclusion both within our firm and throughout the legal profession. For almost four decades, the firm has actively promoted an open and inclusive work environment and committed significant resources towards improving our diversity efforts at every level.  MORE >

At Fenwick, we are proud of our commitment to the community and to our culture of making a difference in the lives of individuals and organizations in the communities where we live and work. We recognize that providing legal services is not only an essential part of our professional responsibility, but also an excellent opportunity for our attorneys to gain valuable practical experience, learn new areas of the law and contribute to the community.  MORE >

Year after year, Fenwick & West is honored for excellence in the legal profession. Many of our attorneys are recognized as leaders in their respective fields, and our Corporate, Tax, Litigation and Intellectual Property Practice Groups consistently receive top national and international rankings, including:

  • Named Technology Group of the Year by Law360
  • Ranked #1 in the Americas for number of technology deals in 2015 by Mergermarket
  • Nearly 20 percent of Fenwick partners are ranked by Chambers
  • Consistently ranked among the top 10 law firms in the U.S. for diversity
  • Recognized as having top mentoring and pro bono programs by Euromoney

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We take sustainability very seriously at Fenwick. Like many of our clients, we are adopting policies that reduce consumption and waste, and improve efficiency. By using technologies developed by a number of our cleantech clients, we are at the forefront of implementing sustainable policies and practices that minimize environmental impact. In fact, Fenwick has earned recognition in several areas as one of the top US law firms for implementing sustainable business practices.  MORE >

At Fenwick, we have a passion for excellence and innovation that mirrors our client base. Our firm is making revolutionary changes to the practice of law through substantial investments in proprietary technology tools and processes—allowing us to deliver best-in-class legal services more effectively.   MORE >

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Patenting Nature and Seattle Biotech

April 29, 2010

April 29, 2010 (Seattle, WA) - Andrew T. Serafini, Ph.D., partner in the Life Sciences Group at Fenwick & West LLP, was recently featured on the National Public Radio KUOW segment "Patenting Nature and Seattle Biotech."

On March 29, 2010, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York issued a decision in Association for Molecular Pathology v. U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, No. 09-Civ-4515 (S.D.N.Y. 2010), holding that several claims in patents drawn to isolated DNA sequences encoding the BRACA1 and BRCA2 genes, and methods of using those sequences to detect or screen for cancer, are invalid because the claims were not drawn to statutory subject matter under 35 U.S.C. §101.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) initiated, organized and led the effort to invalidate the patents. Plaintiffs argued that the patents are invalid because they claim subject matter that is not patentable under 35 U.S.C. §101 of the Patent Act, as well as that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office had exceeded its constitutional authority in granting the patents at issue.

"The ACLU was very candid in saying they wanted to use this suite as a test case to basically invalidate all DNA patents. Their arguments were so sweeping that this decision, if affirmed by the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit after appeal by Myriad Genetics, might also apply to patents in the plant, bacterial, viral and other medicinal fields. All biotech platforms will be affected by this ruling," Dr. Serafini said.

While supporters of this ruling say it diminishes the legal roadblocks in the way of potentially life-saving technology, opponents argue that it marginalizes any market incentive to invest in biotechnology.

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