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Sherry L. Murphy Named Partner at Myers Bigel


Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Attorney Focused on Addressing Tightened Standards in Biotech and Chemical Patents

Myers Bigel Sibley & Sajovec, P.A. (Myers Bigel), the largest independent patent law firm in the Carolinas, has added a new partner in attorney Sherry L. Murphy.

Murphy is the 25th partner named at Myers Bigel, which is dedicated to attracting talented attorneys well-versed in client technologies to run the firm's practice groups including biotechnology, chemistry, electronics and computing, litigation, mechanical and trademark.

"Sherry exemplifies our dedication to best practices in patent law, which has a heightened importance now thanks to the substantive changes we’ve seen in the U.S. patent system," said Managing Partner David Purks.

The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) switched from a “first-to-invent” system of processing patent applications to a "first-to-file" mechanism on March 16, resulting in a flood of applications running up to the deadline and new approaches for crafting and filing strong patents for clients. A recent Wall Street Journal article pointed to 12,670 patent applications coming into the USPTO the first week of March, making it the highest weekly total of the year.

Murphy, who works in the Myers Bigel Biotechnology practice group, said recent case law has tightened the standards in many areas for biotech and chemical patents, "including the patentability requirements of non-obviousness, written description, and of course, patentable subject matter. Knowledgeable guidance in all of these areas is key to a successful patent strategy and overall portfolio."

A magna cum laude graduate of Oberlin College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in neuroscience focusing on molecular biology, chemistry and mathematics, Murphy received her Juris Doctorate from the University of San Francisco, cum laude, with CALI awards in patent law and international intellectual property. Prior to her legal career, Sherry worked as a research technologist for several years in laboratories at Northwestern University and the Stanford University Medical Center, and has co-authored publications in scientific journals. Her research at Northwestern involved the biophysics of protein import into mitochondria. While at Stanford, Sherry studied the sodium bicarbonate transporters and their role in regulating pH in brain tissues.

After moving to North Carolina from California several years ago, Murphy said she quickly recognized Myers Bigel as a leading firm in the area of patent law, with a strong biotechnology practice. After meeting with some of the partners, she was able to join the firm as an associate.

"I have always been fascinated by biotechnology and the interface of biology, chemistry and physics, and thrive on the challenging subject matter. I am also naturally drawn to the law, and rule-based theory such as patent law. My career in patent law allows me to meld those two interests while working with companies that are actively pursuing therapies having promise to make a difference in people's lives," she said.

Murphy provides guidance on a daily basis to small and large biotechnology companies alike on issues including new chemical entities, biologics, tissue engineering and cell delivery technologies. She also assists personalized medicine clients in navigating the changing patentability requirements of diagnostic inventions and interacts with client regulatory teams in their development of products with companion diagnostics.

According to founding partner Kenneth D. Sibley, when Myers Bigel hires associates like Murphy they are provided with a clear path to partnership. Each year they are evaluated on legal skills, firm management skills, practice development and conduct, with the evaluations in those categories determining whether or not that year will count towards partnership.

"We are much more associate-friendly than most law firms; where others anticipate a certain amount of attrition, our bottom line is we hire associates with the expectation they will be made partner," he explained, adding, "we're fairly selective about who we hire and make a commitment to them, with the expectation they will make a corresponding commitment to the firm as a whole."

Sibley explained that the reason for his firm's development of attorneys long-term came from feedback he and his original partners received early on from clients about the importance of understanding technology in developing strong patents that would stand up to scrutiny. As an attorney gets up to speed on a certain technology, clients want that same attorney throughout the entire patent process. By committing to technologically savvy and well-rounded attorneys, Myers Bigel is able to keep its talented team together with limited turnover that is well below the industry average, resulting in a strong collective group.

"We don't hire associates du jour. As the technology changes for our client, we want someone who knows where they’ve been in order to see where they’re going," Sibley said, adding, "If the technology changes and the lawyer also changes, that's a disruption the client does not need."

With a full-service IP practice, Myers Bigel provides expertise in all intellectual property areas, including trademarks, copyrights, and patents, with attorneys well-versed in prosecution and litigation to enforce or defend patent, trademark and copyright claims.

Operating out of the Research Triangle Park area of North Carolina, Myers Bigel represents corporate and university clients located in the Carolinas, throughout the Southeast, across the United States, and in Europe and Asia. For more information, visit www.myersbigel.com.

About Myers Bigel

Myers Bigel Sibley & Sajovec, P.A. (Myers Bigel) is an intellectual property law firm combining patent law expertise with a stable continuity of counsel to produce quality patents that stand up to scrutiny. We are the largest independent patent law firm in the Carolinas, continually ranked among the top national firms by well-respected legal media and industry organizations. Our knowledgeable, vibrant team of attorneys with degreed technical experience successfully acquires, protects, enforces and defends patent assets and intellectual property in a variety of fields including biotechnology, chemistry, electronics and computing, mechanical and trademark practice, as well as in litigation. Headquartered in Raleigh in the Research Triangle Park region of North Carolina, with clients spanning the globe, we remain active in symposia, seminars, and continuing education efforts to further best practices in intellectual property protection and enforcement. For more information on our high quality work visit www.myersbigel.com.



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