Michelle Rhyu


I work with our clients to understand their business objectives and litigation needs. I use my scientific training to understand deeply the technology and arguments, then break down complex technology and facts to craft the client’s story, one that resonates with judges and jurors.


Dr. Michelle Rhyu has over twenty years of experience representing life sciences companies, with a primary focus on high-stakes patent, contract and trade secrets disputes in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. She has extensive experience leading litigation and trial teams. Her cases have involved small molecule drug compounds, pharmaceutical formulations, monoclonal antibodies, immunotherapy platform technologies, biofuels, hormone receptors, gene expression technology and medical devices. She has experience with Hatch-Waxman litigation and the abbreviated regulatory pathway for biosimilars (BPCIA).

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  • Global cross-license achieved for Gevo in long-running biofuels patent case 

  • Cooley and ACLU File Discrimination Suit Against City of Escondido 

  • Complete win for Gilead Sciences in dispute involving breakthrough SOVALDI treatment  

  • Pretrial Win for Gevo in Patent Suit 

In a bet-the-company litigation, the Cooley team came through. The team's combination of deep trial experience and scientific expertise was critical to the success of the case. – Brett Pletcher, General Counsel, Gilead Sciences

  • Stanford Law School
    JD, with distinction, 2000

  • University of California, San Francisco
    PhD, Biochemistry and Biophysics
    National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow, 1994

  • University of California, Berkeley
    BA, Molecular Biology
    with honors, 1988

Admissions & Credentials


Registered to practice before the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO)


  • American Bar Association

  • California Bar Association

  • Asian Pacific Bar Association

  • Council of Korean Americans

Rankings & Accolades

    Financial Times: Top 10 Innovative Lawyers of North America

    LMG Life Sciences: IP Star

    Managing Intellectual Property: IP Star

    Managing Intellectual Property: Top 250 Women in IP

    The Recorder: Women Leaders in Technology Law

    UCSF: 150th Anniversary Alumni Excellence Award

    Legal 500: Intellectual Property: Patents - Litigation; Trade Secrets (Litigation & Non-Contentious Matters); Healthcare: Life Sciences