When clients need help with the intellectual property underpinning today’s lifesaving advances in medicine, Tianran (T.R.) Yan leverages his scientific background to advise on effectively managing their innovations. As vice-chair of the Chemical, Biotechnology & Pharmaceutical Practice, T.R. plays a critical role in helping shape the firm’s strategy at the intersection of the Health Care & Life Sciences and Innovative Technology sectors.

His education in biochemistry, molecular genetics, and biotechnology combined with legal acumen enables an invaluable understanding of new technologies and their impact on the marketplace. 

T.R. assists clients with intellectual property (IP) strategies, including patent prosecution and counseling, due diligence investigation, patent portfolio management, patent enforcement and licensing, freedom-to-operate investigation, and patent validity and infringement analyses. One particular area of focus is post-grant proceedings, where he has successfully represented clients in patent reexamination, reissue, and inter partes review (IPR) proceedings.

Examples of clients working on groundbreaking technologies include those developing CRISPR genome editing, mRNA medicine, liquid biopsy, next-generation sequencing (NGS), single-cell sequencing and analysis, engineered cell therapy, and regenerative medicine.

Outside of patents, T.R. has also represented clients in IP due diligence investigations by performing reviews for IP licenses, IP portfolio sales, corporate financing, investments, mergers, and acquisitions.

Augmenting his practice, T.R. is a native speaker of Mandarin Chinese and has extensive experience counseling Asian technology companies on strategic IP development and transactions in connection with their operation in the U.S. market. 


  • Chicago-Kent College of Law, Illinois Institute of Technology (J.D., 2009)
  • University of Illinois Chicago (M.S., biochemistry and molecular genetics, 2006)
  • Sun Yat-sen University (B.S., biotechnology, 2004)


  • Recognized as a Next Generation Lawyer for patent prosecution (including re-examination and post-grant proceedings) by The Legal 500


  • District of Columbia
  • U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

Select Publications and Presentations

  • “Delivery of Cell, RNA and DNA Therapeutics - Surveying the Business and IP Landscape,” Foley Webinar (May 2021)
  • “Navigating the CRISPR Patent Landscape and Business Impact,” Foley Webinar (June 2016)
  • “Healthcare & Biotechnology,” US-China Innovation and Investment Summit (May 2016)
  • “Due Diligence for Intellectual Property: Valuing Assets in a Transaction,” Law Journal Press (2014)