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-chairs 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 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

  • Publications and Speaking Engagements
  • Scientific Publications
    • 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.
  • Additional Recognition
    • The Legal 500 has recognized Melanie for patent litigation (2020) and life sciences (2021)

Representative Clients

  • Cray
  • Meril Life Sciences
  • Novozymes
  • Quest Diagnostics

Education & Admissions

Ph.D., Molecular Biology and Genetics
Johns Hopkins University

J.D., University of Washington School of Law

B.S., summa cum laude, Biochemistry
Alma College

Admitted to practice in Washington


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