Charles D. Cathey, Ph.D.

Associate, Intellectual Property  

San Francisco 415.875.2382


​Charles Cathey’s focuses his practice on patent prosecution, intellectual property due diligence and strategic patent counseling for clients in the fields of software, cryptography, semiconductor, computer systems, optics, lasers and alternative energy. He has also assisted in preparing validity and enforceability opinions.

Prior to joining Fenwick & West, Charles was an associate with Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP. Before starting his law career, he worked as a teaching and research assistant at the University of Southern California, worked as a physics engineer at Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems, and served as an intelligence officer in the U.S. Army.

Charles' graduate work focused on non-thermal plasma discharges in combustion applications. He is also experienced in the development and application of high voltage pulse generators for ignition, emissions and biological applications.


  • “OH Production by Transient Plasma and Mechanism of Flame Ignition and Propagation in Quiescent Methane-Air Mixtures”, Combustion and Flame, August 2008 (first author)
  • “Nanosecond Plasma Ignition for Improved Performance of an Internal Combustion Engineer”, IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science, December 2007 (first author)