Cliff Z. Liu is a partner and intellectual property lawyer with Foley & Lardner LLP. He has extensive experience in patent issues associated with complex technologies and devotes a large part of his practice to developing and managing patent portfolios for technology companies to protect their business objectives. He also regularly advises technology companies with respect to their surrounding patent landscape, including assessing threats of patent disputes and developing non-infringement and invalidity positions, design-around options, licensing alternatives, and other strategic ways to reduce exposure to third-party patents. Dr. Liu is a member of the firm’s Electronics Practice.

Dr. Liu regularly advises companies and investors on patent issues that arise in business transactions, including evaluation patent portfolios and assessing risks in connection with licensing negotiations, mergers and acquisitions, and venture capital financings. He has also actively participated in various phases of patent litigation, including pre-litigation and investigations on infringement and validity, developing claim construction positions, and working with litigation teams in preparations for Markman hearings and trials.

Dr. Liu has handled patent matters spanning a wide array of technologies, including analytical instruments, bioinformatics, clean technologies, enterprise and Web services software, graphics hardware and software, materials science, medical devices, MEMS, nanotechnology, polymers and semiconductor device fabrication and packaging. He has significant experience in a variety of clean technologies, including batteries, biofuels, hydrogen storage materials, fuel cells, solar cells and modules, solid-state lighting, and water purification technologies. Dr. Liu has particular knowledge in handling interdisciplinary technologies, such as those involving a confluence of electronics, physics, and materials science often encountered in clean technologies and other emerging technologies.

Publications and Presentations

Dr. Liu was an invited speaker at the 2008 Spring Meeting of the Materials Research Society on the topic of “Effective Patent Strategies for Nanotechnology Companies.” He was also recently quoted in an IP Law and Business article, “Green IP: A Thorny Challenge,” where he addressed challenges for patenting clean technologies.


Dr. Liu earned his J.D. from Stanford Law School (2000), where he was associate editor of the Stanford Law Review. He received his Ph.D. in physical chemistry from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1997), where he was a National Science Foundation fellow. His doctoral thesis work concentrated on developing a theory for the glass transition. Dr. Liu obtained his B.S. in general chemistry, summa cum laude, from the University of California at Los Angeles (1992). He has published several scientific articles based on his graduate and undergraduate research.


Dr. Liu is admitted to practice in California and before the United States Patent & Trademark Office.



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