Elizabeth Haanes, Ph.D.

E: betsy.haanes@fisherbroyles.legal

T: (202) 286-9629

Washington, DC Office


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Practice Areas:

  • Intellectual Property

Bar Admissions:

  • Washington, D.C.
  • U.S. Patent & Trademark Office


  • University of Colorado, JD 2000
  • University of Michigan, B.S. 1980
  • University of Minnesota, Doctor of Philosophy in Microbiology, 1989

Corporate Experience

  • Technical Specialist/Patent Agent, Intellectual Property Group, July 1996-May 1999
    Heska Corporation, Fort Collins, Colorado
  • Project Coordinator, Molecular Vaccines Group, May 1995-September 1996
    Heska Corporation , Fort Collins, Colorado
  • Postdoctoral Research Scientist, July 1992-April 1995
    The Upjohn Company, Animal Health Discovery Research, Kalamazoo, Michigan

Large Law Firm Experience:

  • Thompson Coburn, LLP
    • Partner, January, 2014-March 2018
  • Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox, P.L.L.C.
    • Director, January 2007-January 2014
    • Associate, March 2001-December 2006
    • Patent Agent/Student Associate, May 1999-February 2001

Betsy provides over 20 years of legal experience and 10 years as a professional researcher to firm clients, especially those in the life sciences industries.

Her technical experience gives her a deep understanding of the priorities, concerns and objectives of her clients and allows her to communicate extremely efficiently and effectively with clients. Betsy advises biotechnology companies on best practices for the worldwide protection of their intellectual property. In all aspects of her practice, she focuses on creating innovative, long-term legal strategies that integrate seamlessly into her clients’ technological and business objectives.

As an accomplished scientist with a Ph.D. in microbiology, Betsy speaks the same language as today’s biotechnology innovators. She helps innovators to protect their technological assets even in the face of recent court opinions that have posed significant challenges to patent holders. She counsels her clients on the creation and management of high-value patent portfolios, freedom-to-operate and patentability issues, validity and infringement issues, and due diligence investigations in connection with acquisitions and investments. She has represented a diverse body of entities in technology areas such as therapeutic antibodies, immuno oncology, vaccines, infectious diseases, medical diagnostics, biomarkers, personalized medicine, plant biotechnology, genomics, including gene editing, protein engineering, and gene therapy.

Betsy has lectured and written extensively on the problem of patent eligibility for innovations in the areas of biomarkers, medical diagnostics, and personalized medicine. She co-authored an article in the journal Nature Biotechnology discussing the impact of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2012 decision in Mayo v. Prometheus. She also co-wrote an amicus brief in Merck v. Integra, a landmark U.S. Supreme Court case focusing on the patent infringement safe harbor for drug development research.

As a scientist, Betsy previously performed infectious disease and vaccine research, both in academia and industry. She published widely in the areas of microbial pathogenesis, molecular virology, and vaccines and is an inventor on numerous patents and published applications relating to recombinant vaccines.

Presentations and Teaching Experience

  • Guest Lecturer, Patent Prosecution Course, 2004-2006
  • George Mason University School of Law, Arlington, VA
  • Guest Lecturer, Medical Microbiology, 1988-1990
  • University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN

Amicus Brief

  • Brief of Amicus Curiae Vaccinex, Inc. In Support of Respondents, Kenneth C. Bass, III, Counsel of Record, Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox P.L.L.C., March 22, 2005, In the Supreme Court of the United States
  • Merck KGAA, Petitioner v. Integra LifeSciences I, LTD. and the Burnham Institute.


  • Elizabeth J. Haanes, Refashioning IP Asset Protection Strategies for Biotechnology and BioPharma Clients in View of the New Legal Realities of Subject Matter Eligibility, a chapter in “Inside the Minds: Developing a Patent Strategy”; Aspatore, May 2015
  • Ryan Chirnomas and Elizabeth J. Haanes, Double Trouble: The expanding application of the judicial doctrine of obviousness-type double patenting; Newsletter of the Biotechnology Committee of The American Intellectual Property Law Association, June 2014
  • Elizabeth J. Haanes and Jaume M. Cánaves, Stealing Fire: A Retrospective Survey of Biotech Patent Claims in the Wake of Mayo v. Prometheus, Nature Biotechnology 30:758-760 (2012).
  • Mark A. Semenuk, Timothy D. Veenstra, Gradimir Georgevich, Mark Rochman, Yuriy Gusev, Elizabeth J. Haanes, Branka M. Bogunovic, Michael Lebowitz, Nikolai Daraselia, and Elena I. Schwartz, Translating Cancer Biomarker Discoveries to Clinical Tests-What should be considered? Recent Patents on Biomarkers 1:222-240 (2011).
  • Helene C. Carlson and Elizabeth J. Haanes, Mining for Gold and Avoiding Landmines. Life Sciences Intellectual Property Review 2010, 34-37 (2010).
  • Elizabeth J. Haanes and Carla Ji-Eun Kim, Staying Out of the Sun: Patenting Trends in the Vaccine Industry, Life Sciences Intellectual Property Review 2009, 24-47 (2009).
  • Eric K. Steffe and Elizabeth J. Haanes, Preliminary Injunction Prevents Patent Office from Implementing Controversial New Rules, BIO News, January 2008.
  • Eric K. Steffe and Elizabeth J. Haanes, Patent Board Challenges Federal Circuit to a Deuel. IP Law 360, July 27, 2007.