Crystal Culhane, Ph.D., applies her extensive academic background in organic chemistry to the practice of patent prosecution in the areas of chemistry, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, oil and gas, food and beverage, and medical devices. Her practice focuses on U.S. and foreign patent prosecution, client counseling, due diligence, patentability and freedom to operate opinions, patent opinions, and post-grant proceedings.

Known as a responsive communicator with a strong depth of knowledge, Crystal works with clients ranging from universities to start-ups and growing companies to multinational organizations to prepare intellectual property strategies that suit their business goals.

Crystal earned her doctorate in chemistry at Johns Hopkins University, where her research focused on the design, synthesis, and evaluation of novel optical and radioactive small molecule prostate cancer imaging agents. She has significant experience in various scientific disciplines, including synthetic organic chemistry, radiochemistry, biology, radiobiology, and small animal imaging.

In recent years, Crystal has worked with a number of pharmaceutical clients in high-impact patent prosecution. Her clients include a large pharmaceutical company for which she has helped develop and manage a portfolio of several hundred patent families and another which in 2021 received its first-ever FDA approval for a new drug that treats a rare liver disease.

Crystal’s many pro bono and community contributions reflect her devotion to equality and justice. She currently handles pro bono matters for Casa Cornelia, helping non-U.S. citizens who have been the victims of violence. She is also a mentor to "at-risk" students with Crawford High School’s Academy of Law program and a volunteer with City Heights Runners, which provides tutoring and reading programs for high school athletes who are primarily immigrants and refugees. Her work with City Heights Runners is an extension of her own love of running — Crystal has completed 35+ marathons and two ultramarathons.

A leader at Fish & Richardson, Crystal serves as a member of the firm's Diversity Advisory Committee. She is a former co-chair of the firm's Allyship Affinity Group. She was also the local liaison for Fish’s U.S. Space & Rocket Center Space Camp scholarship program, which engaged underrepresented middle school students in STEM fields.

Professional associations

  • Lawyers Club of San Diego
  • San Diego Intellectual Property Law Association
  • National Association of Women Lawyers