Courtenay C. Brinckerhoff


Courtenay C. Brinckerhoff


Courtenay Brinckerhoff is an intellectual property lawyer, assisting international clients with all aspects of obtaining, defending, evaluating, licensing, and enforcing patents; and conducting freedom-to-operate and due diligence investigations. She is a partner and vice chair of the firm’s Intellectual Property Department, as well as the editor and primary author for Foley’s, where she analyzes evolving patent office practices and precedential court decisions on emerging legal issues.

For more than 25 years, Courtenay has represented clients in diverse industries before the U.S. Patent Office, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. She has successfully represented clients in complex patent matters, including four-party interference, Inter partes Reexaminations, Inter partes Reviews, and ANDA litigation.

Courtenay works with clients across the chemical and biotechnology industries, including pharmaceutical, food, industrial, and energy sectors, pharmaceuticals, human and animal food products, nutraceuticals, medical devices, and industrial technologies.

She has particular experience with transdermal pharmaceutical products (patches, gels, and liquids), oral dosage forms (including controlled/extended-release formulations), enzyme-based technologies, microbial technologies, diagnostic and therapeutic antibodies, active and passive immunization therapies, and personalized medicine, as well as with industrial films, carbon nanotube technologies, biofuels, and carbon capture technologies.

Courtenay has served as vice chair of the firm’s Chemical, Biotechnology & Pharmaceutical Practice and is an active member of the firm’s PTAB Trials Practice and Life Sciences Industry Team.

Awards and Recognition

  • The Best Lawyers in America©, Patent Law (2021-2024) and Biotechnology and Life Sciences Practice (2023-2024)
  • IP Distinguished Alumni Award from George Mason University Antonin Scalia Law School (April 2017)
  • JD Supra Readers’ Choice Top Author (2017-2021) in the categories of pharmaceutical industry and patents for her work on the PharmaPatents blog
  • IAM Patent 1000 – The World’s Leading Patent Practitioners, patent prosecution (2014-2016, 2020-2021)
  • Top Women in IP, Managing IP (2015)
  • IP Star, Managing IP (2015)

Thought Leadership

Courtenay writes and speaks on topics important to clients in chemical, biotechnological, pharmaceutical, food, and personalized medicine industries. She has been an invited speaker at the AIPLA Annual Meeting, the FDLI Annual Meeting, the Intellectual Property Owner’s Association annual meeting, the PTAB Bar Association annual meeting, and the annual Advanced Patent Law Institute presented by the University of Texas School of Law, the United States Patent and Trademark Office, and George Mason University Antonin Scalia Law School.

Courtenay currently serves as a Vice Chair of the Intellectual Property Owner’s Association Patent Office Practice Committee and as a Vice Chair of the Appeals to the PTAB Committee of the PTAB Bar Association.

Courtenay has been following U.S. patent reform since its inception, and she and other Foley colleagues co-authored the treatise, America Invents Act: Law & Analysis (Wolters Kluwer 2012). The interface between patent law and FDA law is another area of interest, and she has written and spoken on issues including patent term extension, the scope of the Hatch-Waxman “safe harbor,” the ANDA litigation framework, and the biosimilars BPCIA framework.


13 May 2024 PharmaPatents

USPTO Aims to Mow Down Patent Thickets

In a stunning Federal Register Notice published May 10, 2024, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office proposes to impose a new requirement on terminal disclaimers filed to overcome obviousness-type double patenting rejections.
23 April 2024 PharmaPatents

USPTO Issues Updated Guidance on Obviousness

For the first time in nearly 15 years, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has issued “Updated Guidance for Making a Proper Determination of Obviousness” under the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in KSR Int'l Co. v. Teleflex Inc., 550 U.S. 398 (2007).
05 April 2024 In the News

Courtenay Brinckerhoff Quoted on FDA Safe Harbor

Foley & Lardner LLP partner Courtenay Brinckerhoff is quoted in the Law360 article, “Judge Lourie's Dissent Revives Debate Over FDA Safe Harbor.”
03 April 2024 PharmaPatents

USPTO Stands Behind Significant New Fees for 2025

The USPTO has taken another step towards implementing fee adjustments in January 2025, by publishing a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on April 3, 2024.
27 March 2024 PharmaPatents

Federal Circuit Applies Safe Harbor to Imported Medical Device Samples

In a recent decision, a majority panel of the Federal Circuit held that the importation of medical devices to support efforts to recruit investigators for a clinical trial was shielded by the safe harbor.
19 February 2024 PharmaPatents

Which Significant USPTO Fee Increases Might We See in 2025?

If the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is going to implement fee changes in January 2025, we should see a Federal Register Notice detailing the proposed fees soon.