Former Administrative Patent Judge and Associate Solicitor Kristi L.R. Sawert, Ph.D., Joins Fish & Richardson, Expanding Post-Grant Practice and Life Science Focus 

Today former U.S. Patent Trial and Appeal Board Administrative Patent Judge and Associate Solicitor Kristi L.R. Sawert, Ph.D., joined the post-grant practice of premier intellectual property firm Fish & Richardson. As a principal, Dr. Sawert will focus her experience on representing life sciences clients, particularly in biotechnology and pharmaceuticals. Her addition reflects Fish’s ongoing commitment to providing strategic and forward-thinking counsel to clients. 

Sawert brings with her over two decades of patent law experience, with over 15 years of that inside the PTAB, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Solicitor’s Office, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. With this in-depth and specialized experience, Sawert offers distinct insights into the inner workings of venues that lie at the heart of patent litigation and policy setting. During her eight-year tenure as an administrative patent judge, Sawert presided over more than 250 proceedings, and was the lead judge for over 110 proceedings across myriad technologies, including biotechnology, chemistry, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, computers, and medical devices. Sawert also worked closely with Office leadership on multiple PTAB policy, practice, and procedural matters, and was a frequent speaker representing the PTAB at conferences and seminars. 

“Kristi brings a rare and valuable combination of law firm and government experience to Fish,” said John Adkisson, Fish president & chief executive officer. “Her career accomplishments, technical background, and knowledge of the life sciences industry will allow her to provide unique representation and insight to our clients. I am delighted to welcome Kristi to the firm.” 

As an associate solicitor, Sawert argued 11 cases before the Federal Circuit, represented the director in more than 40 ex parte and inter partes appeals, and litigated multiple patent-term extension (PTE) and patentability determinations in District Court. Sawert was recognized as a subject-matter expert on claim construction and 35 U.S.C. § 112 matters, and she provided frequent advice to the Department of Justice on several Supreme Court proceedings. From 2022-2023, Sawert was detailed to the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet as lead legal advisor, providing counsel on congressional bills and initiatives relating to patent law and policy.  

Sawert clerked for the Honorable Chief Judge Paul R. Michel (retired) at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. She also practiced at two global full-service law firms where she focused on patent litigation and appeals.  

“During my tenure as an administrative patent judge, I had the opportunity to see firsthand the impressive professionalism, preparedness, and skill of Fish attorneys,” said Sawert. “In recent weeks, I’ve also observed the collaborative culture that is a hallmark of Fish, and the value placed on teamwork and client service. In joining Fish, I’m excited to work alongside these accomplished and strategic professionals and to offer my insights to the firm’s clients.”    

“Kristi has extensive experience that will further enrich our post-grant practice. I am confident that she will be a driving force in developing case strategy, helping clients navigate venues effectively, and providing insights into impending policy changes. We are delighted to welcome Kristi and have no doubt she will be a terrific addition to our team,” said Karl Renner, chair of Fish’s Post-Grant Group.  

Sawert’s addition further bolsters Fish’s nationally recognized Post-Grant Group, which has handled more proceedings than any other firm and boasts over 140 attorneys with relevant experience, including more than 50 who focus their practice on post-grant. At the Federal Circuit, Fish attorneys are routinely responsible for influencing precedent-setting law that protects intellectual property rights, and Fish handles more patent appeals than any other firm. Fish’s post-grant work arms attorneys with critical insights and opportunities to identify important legal trends, and then sync strategy with Fish’s elite patent prosecution and litigation practices to provide clients with 360-degree counsel.     

Sawert is a member of the Association of American Patent Judges. She received her J.D., with high honors, from The George Washington University Law School and completed her Ph.D. in biochemistry at The Ohio State University. She graduated cum laude from Berea College with a B.A. in biology.