Elizabeth A. Doherty, PhD

Elizabeth A. Doherty, PhD
McNeill Baur PLLC                                    3111 Camino Del Rio North                      Suite 400
San Diego, CA 92108

Liz brings substantial experience in both European and US patent law

Liz Doherty has spent the past 20 years assisting clients in the life sciences with a wide range of US patent law issues. Since a patent strategy is part of an overall business strategy, Liz works closely with clients to align intellectual property and business goals. Liz has worked with many types of clients, from recent start-ups to large multinationals to research foundations to venture funds. The technologies on which she has focused include antibodies and other protein biologic drugs, methods of medical treatment, diagnostic methods and biomarkers, omega-3 fatty acid pharmaceuticals, non-natural nucleic acids, genomic sequencing methods, immunology methods, novel plant lines, and related agricultural methods, medical devices, and bioinformatics.

Before becoming a patent lawyer, Liz obtained a PhD in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry from Yale University, where she worked in the laboratory of Dr. Jennifer Doudna, focusing on the structure of large RNA molecules.  And before joining McNeill Baur, Liz spent 14 years at Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP, in Finnegan’s Washington, DC, California, and European offices.

Liz’s current work focuses on helping clients to develop patent strategies for their research projects, conducting due diligence and freedom to operate analyses, and preparing legal opinions, as well as drafting new patent applications and prosecuting US patent application portfolios. She has also prepared inter partes review (IPR) petitions and assisted a patent owner successfully defend all of its patent claims in an inter partes reexamination before the US Patent and Trademark Office. Liz spent a decade working in Europe and has interfaced extensively with European patent attorneys, both as clients and as colleagues. As a benefit of her tenure in Europe, she has worked frequently with European patent attorneys to improve the drafting of new patent applications in order to avoid common pitfalls that arise due to the differences in law and procedure between the US Patent and Trademark Office and the European Patent Office.

Coordinating patent and regulatory strategies for new drugs and biologics is also an important aspect of Liz’s work. For example, she has counseled clients on non-patent exclusivities and US patent term extensions, and has helped clients to list patents in the US Food and Drug Administration Orange Book. During her legal career, Liz has also worked on several United States patent litigations, including three Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA) litigations.

Select Publications

Navigating through the Obviousness-Type Double Patenting Minefield,” Landslide 10 (3), January/February 2018 (coauthor).

New changes in US patent term adjustment calculations after Novartis v. Lee,” Pharmaceutical Patent Analyst, May 2015 (coauthor).

“Changes in U.S. Patent Law: Important Developments for Biopharmaceutical Companies Active in the U.S. Market,”Pharmazeutische Medizin, July 2014 (coauthor).

Novartis v. Lee: A New Method for Calculating Patent Term Adjustment,” CIPA Journal, February 2014 (coauthor).

“March Madness: Preparing for the U.S. Transition to a ‘First-Inventor-to-File’ System,” CIPA Journal, December 2012 (coauthor).

“A European Patent Office Tool that Deserves Another Look,” Law360, October 23, 2012 (coauthor).

“A Universal Mode of Helix Packing in RNA,” Nature Structural Biology, 2001 (first author).

“Ribozyme Structures and Mechanisms,” Annual Review of Biochemistry, 2000 (first author).



2023 Patent Star, Managing IP

2023 IAM Patent 1000 Recommended Individual

2022 IP Star, Managing Intellectual Property




US Patent and Trademark Office



Georgetown University Law Center

JD, cum laude, 2005


Yale University

PhD, Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, 2000


University of Pennsylvania

BA, International Relations, 1987





Select Speaking Engagements

"After-Final Practice: Navigating PTO Options to Compact Patent Prosecution," Stafford Publications Webinar, January 16, 2024.  


“Inheriting Disagreeable Agreements: Navigating IP Provisions of Third-Party Agreements and Lessons Learned,” BIO Intellectual Property Counsels Committee Conference, Boston, MA, November 16, 2022.


"US Patent Law, SEPIA program for advanced patent examiners," European Patent Office, The Hague, Netherlands and Munich, Germany, June 9 and 14, 2019.


 “U.S. Patent Formalities Update,” International Patent Administrators’ Group (IPAG) 11th annual meeting, London, UK, October 2, 2019.


"The Biosimilar Patent Landscape," seminar for Parendreral Drug Association, West Coast Chapter, San Francisco, CA, June 16, 2016.


"Advanced Patent Prosecution Workshop," two-day course sponsored by Practicing Law Institute (PLI) San Francisco, CA, August 18-19, 2016. 



“Due Diligence Propriété Intellectuelle,” half-day seminar for ASPI, Paris, France, September 24, 2015.


“Subject Matter Eligibility in the U.S. in the Wake of Myriad and Mayo,” C5 Biotech Patenting conference, sponsored by C5, Munich, Germany, March 27, 2014.


“U.S. Patent Formalities,” full-day course sponsored by Management Forum, London, UK, October 8, 2014.