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Betsy Flanagan
Betsy Flanagan

Up & Coming: Betsy Flanagan

Betsy Flanagan has been called a powerhouse life sciences patent litigator by attorney John Adkisson, who nominated her as an Up and Coming Attorney.

A principal at Fish & Richardson, Flanagan represents some of the biggest pharmaceutical and biotech companies in the world and worked to score litigation victories worth hundreds of millions of dollars since 2016, says Adkisson, also of Fish & Richardson.

As a chemistry undergrad, Flanagan says, she knew she wanted an advanced degree, maybe a Ph.D. in science. But she took a couple of interdisciplinary courses in science and technology studies that ultimately set her on track to become an attorney.

She says those courses exposed her to the intersection of law and science and got her interested in patent law. She first spent two years at Merck as a staff chemist in vaccine research, “giving science a shot.”

Then she decided to pursue a law degree at the University of Minnesota Law School.

Adkisson says Flanagan has been both a trial and appellate counsel, and one of an all-woman oral argument team that won a unanimous April 2018 Federal Circuit opinion affirming the June 2016 post-trial wipe-out of a $200 million jury verdict against client Gilead Sciences Inc. The team proved Merck had forfeited its right to assert its hepatitis C drug patents against Gilead because of litigation and business misconduct constituting “unclean hands,” an exceedingly rare ruling.

In July 2017, Merck was ordered to pay $14 million in attorney fees.

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