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


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 >

Mountain View Office
Silicon Valley Center
801 California Street
Mountain View, CA 94041

San Francisco Office
555 California Street
13th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94104

Seattle Office
1191 Second Avenue
10th Floor
Seattle, WA 98101

New York Office
1211 Avenue of the Americas
32nd Floor
New York, NY 10036

Shanghai Office
Unit 908, 9/F, Kerry Parkside Office
No. 1155 Fang Dian Road
Pudong New Area, Shanghai 201204
P.R. China
+86 21 8017 1200

Melanie L. Mayer, Ph.D.

Associate, Litigation  

Seattle 206.389.4569


Melanie Mayer's practice focuses on intellectual property litigation and arbitrations as well as counseling. She also represents clients in Inter Partes Review proceedings before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, advises on freedom to operate and due diligence issues, and provides non-infringement and validity opinions, including opinions for Paragraph IV certifications. Melanie has represented clients in a variety of jurisdictions around the country including the Northern District of California, the Eastern District of Michigan, the District of Delaware, the Northern District of New York, the Western District of Wisconsin, the Eastern District of Texas, the Western District of Washington, and before the Federal Circuit.

Before attending law school, Melanie worked in biotechnology and earned a Ph.D. in molecular biology and genetics from the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. She also has a B.S. in biochemistry. Although Melanie has represented clients in matters involving a range of technological fields (e.g., high performance computing systems, networking, ecommerce, and semiconductors), her practice focuses on matters involving biotechnology. Melanie’s strong technical background allows her to understand her client’s technology at a sophisticated level and then to effectively communicate those complex technical issues to a judge or jury.

Melanie has also been recognized for her pro bono work. In 2015, Melanie was awarded the Outstanding Volunteer in Public Service Award by the Justice & Diversity Center of the Bar Association of San Francisco. In 2014, she obtained a significant settlement for a California state prisoner who was denied medical care for appendicitis and a ruptured appendix. Melanie also assists the Northwest Innocence Project.

Recent Legal Publications and Presentations

  • BIO Intellectual Property Counsels Committee Conference, How Corporate Engineers Derail the Patent Train, March 2016
  • Fenwick & West’s Patent Law Year in Review, January 2016
  • Melanie L. Mayer and David K. Tellekson, U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Ban on Post-Patent Expiration Royalties, September 2015
  • Melanie L. Mayer, Navigating § 101: Patentable Subject Matter, April 2013.
  • Melanie L. Mayer, Reverse Payment Agreements, April 2013.
  • Melanie L. Mayer and David K. Tellekson, IP Litigation Alert: U.S. Supreme Court to Weigh In on Reverse Payment Deals, April 2013. 
  • Ewa M. Davison, Melanie L. Mayer and Stuart P. Meyer, Final Patent Rules Provide Few Surprises, August 2012.
  • Ewa M. Davison, Melanie L. Mayer and Stuart P. Meyer, IP Litigation Alert: PTO Publishes Final Rules for Contested Patent Cases, August 2012.

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.