Melanie L. Mayer, Ph.D.

206-389-4569
mmayer@fenwick.com
Industry Co-Lead
Life Sciences
Partner
Litigation

Melanie L.
Mayer, Ph.D.

Melanie L.
Mayer, Ph.D.

Melanie L.
Mayer, Ph.D.

Partner
Litigation
Industry Co-Lead
Life Sciences
Industries

Melanie’s strong technical background and commitment to clients’ business objectives help inform her strategy in high-stakes intellectual property disputes.

With a Ph.D. in molecular biology and genetics, and an undergraduate degree in biochemistry, one of Melanie’s essential differentiators as a litigator is her ability to understand her client’s technology at a sophisticated level, and to distill those complex technical issues into compelling arguments before a judge or jury.

Melanie co-leads Fenwick’s life sciences practice group. Her practice encompasses intellectual property litigation and dispute resolution, including patent infringement and licensing disputes.

Recognized by IAM Patent 1000 as a top patent litigator, Melanie has led cases involving a range of technologies—from biotechnology to e-commerce and high-performance computing systems—for some of the world’s most innovative companies. She is particularly well-versed in life sciences matters, including those related to pharmaceuticals, medical devices, enzyme variants, polymers, and drug screening and delivery platforms.

Melanie has a strong record of success in the courtroom, including landmark cases such as representing Cray in a venue decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, setting forth the standard for determining what constitutes a “regular and established place of business” under 28 U.S.C. § 1400(b).

Melanie serves on the board of Invent at Seattle Children’s Postdoctoral Scholars Program, which supports young scientists from diverse backgrounds by providing extensive education, mentorship, biotech infrastructure and financial resources. Melanie also serves as the diversity lead in Fenwick’s Seattle office. She is involved in efforts to encourage more women lawyers to pursue careers in IP litigation, and advocates for programs that can advance the retention and professional development of women attorneys, such as meaningful mentorships and flex time.

Prior to joining Fenwick, Melanie was an associate in the Seattle office of one of the oldest IP boutique firms in the U.S. Prior to that she worked as a legal intern for Rosetta Inpharmatics, a subsidiary of Merck.

Melanie has many years of scientific research experience and has published numerous articles in her field of expertise.

Read more

  • Amazon.com
  • Cray
  • Meril Life Sciences
  • Novozymes
  • Quest Diagnostics

  • Amazon.com
  • Cray
  • Meril Life Sciences
  • Novozymes
  • Quest Diagnostics

  • Mayer, ML, Pot, I, Chang, M, Xu, H, Aneliunas, V, Kwok, T., Newitt, R, Aebersold, R, Boone, C, Brown, GW, and Hieter, P, “Identification of protein complexes required for efficient sister chromatid cohesion,” Mol. Biol. Cell. (2004) 15(4): 1736-45.
  • Mayer, ML, Gygi, SP, Aebersold, R, and Hieter, P, “Identification of RFC (Ctf18p, Ctf8p, Dcc1p): an alternative RFC complex required for sister chromatic cohesion in S. cerevisiae,” Mol. Cell. (2001) 7(5): 959-70.
  • Mayer, ML and Hieter, P, “Protein networks – built by association,” Nat. Biotechnol. (2000) 18(12): 1242-3.
  • Nava, VE, Cheng, EH, Veliuona, M, Zou, S, Clem, RJ, Mayer, ML, and Hardwick, JM, “Herpesvirus saimiri encodes a functional homolog of the human bcl-2 oncogene,” J. Virol. (1997) 71(5): 4118-22.
  • Bassett, DE Jr, Basrai, MA, Connelly, C, Hyland, KM, Kitagawa, K, Mayer, ML, Morrow, DM, Page, AM, Resto, VA, Skibbens, RV, and Hieter, P, “Exploiting the complete yeast genome sequence,” Curr. Opin. Genet. Dev. (1996) 6(6): 763-6.

  • Mayer, ML, Pot, I, Chang, M, Xu, H, Aneliunas, V, Kwok, T., Newitt, R, Aebersold, R, Boone, C, Brown, GW, and Hieter, P, “Identification of protein complexes required for efficient sister chromatid cohesion,” Mol. Biol. Cell. (2004) 15(4): 1736-45.
  • Mayer, ML, Gygi, SP, Aebersold, R, and Hieter, P, “Identification of RFC (Ctf18p, Ctf8p, Dcc1p): an alternative RFC complex required for sister chromatic cohesion in S. cerevisiae,” Mol. Cell. (2001) 7(5): 959-70.
  • Mayer, ML and Hieter, P, “Protein networks – built by association,” Nat. Biotechnol. (2000) 18(12): 1242-3.
  • Nava, VE, Cheng, EH, Veliuona, M, Zou, S, Clem, RJ, Mayer, ML, and Hardwick, JM, “Herpesvirus saimiri encodes a functional homolog of the human bcl-2 oncogene,” J. Virol. (1997) 71(5): 4118-22.
  • Bassett, DE Jr, Basrai, MA, Connelly, C, Hyland, KM, Kitagawa, K, Mayer, ML, Morrow, DM, Page, AM, Resto, VA, Skibbens, RV, and Hieter, P, “Exploiting the complete yeast genome sequence,” Curr. Opin. Genet. Dev. (1996) 6(6): 763-6.

Recognition Recognition Recognition

Recognition Recognition Recognition

Recognition
Managing Intellectual Property

2020 - 2024

Litigator of the Year for Washington (2024)

Washington's Practitioner of the Year for Litigation (2021 - 2022; shortlisted in 2023)

Top 250 Women in IP (2022)

IP Star (2020 - 2022)

IAM Patent 1000

2018 - 2023

Leading patent litigator in Washington

The Legal 500

2020 - 2022

Healthcare: Life Sciences (2021 - 2022)

Patent Litigation (2020)

The Recorder

2019

Co-led a significant case for a leading client, a win noted by The Recorder as a key success when the publication honored Fenwick as a Tech Litigation Department of the Year finalist

Recognition
Managing Intellectual Property

2020 - 2024

Litigator of the Year for Washington (2024)

Washington's Practitioner of the Year for Litigation (2021 - 2022; shortlisted in 2023)

Top 250 Women in IP (2022)

IP Star (2020 - 2022)

IAM Patent 1000

2018 - 2023

Leading patent litigator in Washington

The Legal 500

2020 - 2022

Healthcare: Life Sciences (2021 - 2022)

Patent Litigation (2020)

The Recorder

2019

Co-led a significant case for a leading client, a win noted by The Recorder as a key success when the publication honored Fenwick as a Tech Litigation Department of the Year finalist