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Dorothy P. Whelan is a Principal in the Twin Cities office of Fish & Richardson. Ms. Whelan co-chairs the firm’s Post-Grant Practice Group. She was the first woman to serve on the firm’s Management Committee, and also served on the firm’s Compensation Committee.

Ms. Whelan’s practice emphasizes post-grant proceedings, client counseling, strategic patent portfolio design and management, due diligence investigations, and freedom-to-operate studies, particularly in the chemical and materials science areas. She has extensive experience in post-grant proceedings, having provided the strategic direction for well over 100 post-grant matters involving both challenging and defending patents. When the patents are also the subject of co-pending litigation, Ms. Whelan works closely with the firm’s litigation team to design and implement an integrated strategy.

Ms. Whelan develops creative, cost-effective solutions for her clients, which range from start-ups to Fortune 100 companies. Representative technologies include batteries, fuel cells, medical devices and materials, adhesives, optical films, polymer processing, pharmaceuticals, and filtration devices.

Ms. Whelan writes and speaks extensively on topics related to post-grant proceedings and is the co-host of Fish’s Post-Grant for Practitioners webinar series, as well as being a frequent speaker and panelist at industry and legal seminars. In previous years, Ms. Whelan spoke regularly at Fish’s Challenging Patent Validity in the USPTO webinar series. Ms. Whelan is also a frequent contributor to the firm’s dedicated post-grant website,


J.D., Boston College Law School 1987
Member, Boston College Law Review
magna cum laude

S.M., Massachusetts Institute of Technology 1984

B.S., Yale University 1981


  • U.S. Patent and Trademark Office 1989
  • Massachusetts 1987
  • Minnesota 1995

Other Distinctions

Selected Speeches and Publications

Recent Developments in Biopharma PTAB Practice,” author with Tasha Francis and Will Orlady, NYIPLA (February/March 2017).

“Post-Grant Pushes Forward in Life Sciences,” Metropolitan Corporate Counsel, Contributor (September 17, 2015).

“Hot Issues in PTAB Trials,” moderator, AIPLA/USPTO Road Show Series – Enhancing Patent Quality and Conducting AIA Trials at the USPTO (August 24, 2015 (San Jose, CA) and August 28, 2015 (Alexandria, VA)).

“Making Sense of Inter Partes Review Proceedings,” Cantor Fitzgerald’s Inaugural Healthcare Conference, Keynote Speaker (July 8, 2015).

Quoted, “The Unintended Consequences of IPR,” Life Sciences Intellectual Property Review, June 16, 2015.

Co-lecturer for Patent Resources Group Advanced Patent Law Course, “Hatch-Waxman and Biosimilars: A Total Immersion Course Encompassing Strategies for Prosecution, FDA Regulation, Post-Grant Challenge, Litigation and Appeal,” April 16-18, 2015.

“Post-Grant Patent Challenges: What Bio-Pharma Practitioners Need to Know,” Boston Breakfast Series (October, 2014).

Co-Chaired Consero Group’s “Post-Grant Executive Roundtable” (September, 2014).

PTAB AIA Trial Roundtable,” hosted by USPTO (May, 2014).

“Inter Partes Review: Patent Owner’s Perspective,” West Legal Education (March, 2014).

“Examining the Impact of Patent Reform on Hatch-Waxman Litigation and the Brand/Generic Wars,” ACI Patent Reform (January, 2014).

Co-authored, Validity Challenges: District Court Vs. Patent Office, Law360, December 18, 2013.

“Understanding New Proceedings for Challenging Patent Validity (IPR, PGR, CBM),” co-presenter for Thomson Reuters Patent Disputes 2013 in Santa Clara, CA (November, 2013).

Ms. Whelan hosts and regularly speaks at the Post-Grant for Practitioners Webinar Series covering issues, statistics, strategy, and practice tips for those looking to learn the basics of these new proceedings, or gain an advanced understanding of the post-grant landscape. The following comprises the topics to date of the 2017 series:

Replays and materials for the 2017 series can be found here.
Replays and materials for the 2016 series can be found here.
Replays and materials for the 2015 ​series can be found here​.​
Replays and materials for the 2014 series can be found here.​
Replays and materials for the 2013 series can be found here.
Replays and materials for the 2012 series can be found here.


“2017 Attorney of the Year” by Minnesota Lawyer (2017).

“Life Science Star” by LMG Life Sciences (2017).

“Top 250 Women in IP” by Managing Intellectual Property (2016-2017).

“IP Star” by Managing Intellectual Property (2013-2017).

“Top 250 Women in IP” by Euromoney (2013).

Recognized in “The World’s Leading Patent Practitioners” by IAM Patent 1000 and recommended for post-grant procedures (2012-2013, 2016-2017).

Named a “Top Patent Prosecutor” by Patent Research Review/Patent Buddy (2011).

Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal:  Women in Business/Industry Leader Award (2010).

The Best Lawyers in America– Intellectual Property (2014, 2013, 2011, 2008, 2007) and Patent Law (2016, 2015, 2011), and Minneapolis Patent Law Lawyer of the Year (2014).

Super Lawyer (2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2003).

What's trending with Dorothy

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December 13, 2017
Fish & Richardson Principals Juanita Brooks and Dorothy Whelan Named “2017 MVPs of the Year” by Law360
Press Release
September 14, 2017
Dorothy Whelan Quoted in Law360 Article, "Life After 5: Issues Facing The PTAB"
Media Mention
Fish Patent Blog
June 14, 2017
Tasha Francis, Will Orlady and Dorothy Whelan Author NYIPLA Article, "Recent Developments in Biopharma PTAB Practice"
Tasha Francis, Will Orlady and Dorothy Whelan Author <i>NYIPLA</i> Article,
Authors: Will Orlady, Dorothy P. Whelan, Tasha M. Francis, Ph.D.
April 15th, 2018 | 8:15 am CDT
Patent Resources Group (PRG) Spring 2018 Advanced Courses Program
Patent Resources Group (PRG) Spring 2018 Advanced Courses Program
Speaking Engagement
February 8, 2018
Dorothy Whelan Quoted in Law360 Article, “Biologic Fights Drive PTAB Drug Challenges To Record High”
Media Mention
January 19, 2018
Fish & Richardson Named #1 PTAB Law Firm in the U.S. for 2017 by Managing Intellectual Property Magazine
Press Release
November 30, 2017
Minnesota Lawyer Named Teresa A. Lavoie and Dorothy P. Whelan "2017 Attorneys of the Year"
Press Release
October 13, 2017
11 Fish & Richardson Principals Named 2017 "Life Sciences Stars" by LMG Life Sciences
Press Release
October 5, 2017
Legal Alert: Federal Circuit Faults PTO’s Approach to Claim Amendments During IPR, But Allows PTO to Try to Fix the Problem
Legal Alerts
July 24, 2017
Fish & Richardson Receives Top “Gold” Ranking from IAM Patent 1000 for National Patent Litigation Practice
Press Release
July 13, 2017
Nine Fish & Richardson Women Named “IP Stars” by Managing Intellectual Property Magazine
Press Release
June 23, 2017
Fish & Richardson Announces 36 Attorneys Named “IP Stars” by Managing Intellectual Property Magazine
Press Release
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