Stephen A. Bent

Retired Partner


Stephen A. Bent, a retired partner with Foley & Lardner LLP, was a member of the Chemical, Biotechnology & Pharmaceutical Practice and the Health Care and Nanotechnology Industry Teams. He is the founder and a former co-chair of the Life Sciences Industry Team. Mr. Bent counseled clients on intellectual property disputes and the legal issues associated with pharmaceutical and biotechnology asset valuation and management, venture capital, licensing and technology transfer, and corporate acquisitions. He was a principal in the firm’s China initiative.

Thought Leadership

Mr. Bent has developed an international reputation in biotechnology intellectual property law, with a number of publications to his credit in both scientific and legal journals.


The Practical Law Company’s Cross Border Life Sciences Handbook has ranked Mr. Bent as one of the top five U.S. life sciences attorneys in the IP category annually since 2004. Since 2007, he also has been selected annually by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© for the areas of biotechnology and patent law. Mr. Bent has also been Peer Review Rated as AV® Preeminent™, the highest performance rating in Martindale-Hubbell's peer review rating system. In 2012 – 2014, he was recognized by the Legal 500 for his work in patent prosecution and in 2013 - 2015, he was selected for inclusion in the Washington, D.C. Super Lawyers® lists for his work in intellectual property and health care.


A graduate of Earlham College (B.S., biology), the University of Connecticut (M.S., 1976), and the George Washington University Law School (J.D., with high honors, 1981), Mr. Bent served as technical assistant to the Honorable Phillip B. Baldwin, Circuit Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, from 1981 to 1983. He served as a member of the editorial board of The Scientist.

Representative Matters

Showing of
As a biotechnology manufacturer pursuing advanced approaches to treating life-threatening diseases, our client understands that large-scale innovation requires not only inspiration but often a good deal of IP due diligence. Foley represents a next-generation biotech manufacturer that has developed and produced treatments for hypertension, cardiovascular disease, forms of cancer, and infectious diseases. With the ultimate goal of conquering these illnesses and possibly even producing engineered human organs for transplants, this company first tapped Foley’s intellectual property team to investigate and license the necessary technologies. With broader capabilities than typical IP law firms, Foley handled other services as well, including assisting our client with its international expansion. Based on lower costs and government investment in a life sciences/regenerative medicine infrastructure, our client determined that a presence in China would be beneficial to its business strategy. Attorneys from Foley’s China Practice were brought in to help guide our client through the development of a new business entity and a medical university partnership in China.Together, Foley’s IP and China teams, both well qualified and equipped, handled a second strategy in this company’s work, focused on organ repair and replacement. Our client pursued a novel approach of creating a new and potentially unlimited supply of transplantable organs using cells engineered in a lab. With a combination of healthy, transplantable tissue and medication that until now have only been able to prolong life in patients with a fatal condition, our client is prepared to offer patients a real chance at long-term survival.Many companies would be concerned that pursuing this type of technology in the early stages may be too risky. However, with Foley’s support in IP due diligence, licensing, and agreement drafting, in addition to our help paving the way for the company’s work in China, our client is able to proactively pursue innovation and other advanced manufacturing in next-generation technologies. Our assistance in illuminating the IP and business risks and helping the client devise strategies to mitigate those risks has made it possible for the company to pursue its bold vision and proceed with further research and development in this promising area. At a Glance: Next-Generation Manufacturing Business Issues: • Customer-Focused Innovation• Global Engagement• Next-Generation Technologies
The prosecution of the subject application had stalled after years of effort before the U.S. PTO. In close consultation with in-house counsel, Foley planned and implemented an initiative, including a major PTO meeting including representatives from all parties, that broke the case open and resulted in the allowance noted above.
Representing Biota in Section 145 case against the USPTO regarding patent application directed to antiviral drug for influenza.