Karen Rae Heilbronn Lee

Karen Rae Heilbronn Lee

Associate, Spruson & Ferguson
[email protected]

Karen is a PhD-qualified Trans-Tasman (Australian and New Zealand) patent and trade mark attorney, with high level technical expertise in many aspects of the life sciences, more than a decade’s experience in private patent attorney practice and a strong commercial acumen honed by three years as an inhouse attorney.

Karen’s practice predominately involves drafting and prosecuting biotechnology and pharmaceutical patent applications covering a range of technologies including therapeutics, diagnostics, methods of human treatment and/or diagnosis, second medical methods, and methods of detecting, isolating and/or producing biological products or cells. Her key patent practice areas are:

  • Patentability
  • Patent drafting
  • Local and foreign patent prosecution
  • IP strategy
  • Patent oppositions

Karen is well-versed in the notorious subject matter, support, enablement and inventiveness issues that these types of patent applications tend to attract in the major commercial jurisdictions around the world.

Karen has been extensively involved with the commercial side of IP, including advising on patentability and data requirements for new filings, freedom to operate, IP strategy, inventorship, ownership, collaborations, and assignments; and has assisted with numerous licensing deals. She has worked with a large range of clients, from start-ups to multi-national pharmaceutical companies; novice sole inventors to research institutes, hospitals, universities, tech transfer offices and corporates.

Karen’s post-doctoral research at the University of Cambridge, UK, investigated Fc receptor signalling pathways within an autoimmunity laboratory and culminated in a Nature Medicine publication. Her PhD studies with CSIRO and the University of Melbourne investigated immunomodulation by immunotherapeutic peptides during vaccination with a live attenuated bacterial strain to an often fatal, acute inflammatory respiratory disease in pigs. These positions provided hands-on experience in a spectrum of research techniques applicable to vaccine development, microbiology, immunology, virology, biochemistry, cell biology, cell signalling, molecular biology, protein expression, microscopy including confocal microscopy, cytology and pathology, which Karen now utilises to the benefit of her clients.

Karen is a fellow of the Institute of Patent & Trade Mark Attorneys of Australia, and a member of the Intellectual Property Association of Australia and New Zealand and the Australian Biotechnology Association.

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