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Dr. Rhys Lawson, a member at COJK, focuses his practice on creating patent portfolios to obtain integrated worldwide protection for his clients' inventions. Rhys works with a variety of clients, ranging in size from independent inventors and early-stage entrepreneurs to multinational corporations, universities and non-governmental organizations.

Rhys is a member of the firm's life sciences and mechanical engineering practice groups. His areas of particular technical expertise are broad and interdisciplinary, including chemical, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, nanotechnology, materials science, immunodiagnostics, ultrasound, pulp and paper, medical and mechanical devices, and related software inventions. Rhys has expertise working with small molecule therapeutics, high throughput screening systems, microfluidic manufacturing methods (e.g., for therapeutics), biocompatible materials, and drug delivery vesicles. Representative client technologies include microfluidics, general micro/nano technologies, MEMS/NEMS, applied chemistry, flexible electronics, organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs), photonics, opto-electronics, ultrasound imaging and therapies, organic functional materials and devices, automotive catalytic systems, fuel cells, medical devices/coatings, semiconductor processing methods and tools, cellulose fiber and lignin technologies (both compositional and processing), and alternative energy technologies including solar, wind, and biomass.

Rhys' practice extends to assisting clients with licensing, agreements, and opinions of all types, including invalidity, freedom-to-operate, infringement, and landscape. He has experience with due diligence, pre-litigation activities, patent litigation, and post-grant patent challenges in the USPTO, including ex parte reexamination and inter partes review. Rhys additionally has an extensive design patent practice, including microfluidic devices, automotive parts, consumer products, tablet computers, and graphical user interfaces.

Prior to joining COJK in 2006, Rhys developed the first generation of hybrid silicon/organic electro-optic devices as part of a research program funded by the United States Department of Defense. He worked as a contracted research engineer at Boeing Phantom Works in the area of electro-optic devices. His research in the areas of organic functional materials and related devices, such as light-emitting diodes, transistors, electro-optic modulators, and photovoltaics, has been published in several peer-reviewed journals.

Rhys speaks frequently on patent law issues and cost-effective patent portfolio strategies at nanotechnology and chemical conferences. Rhys was the recipient of the Distinguished Alumnus - College of Science and Engineering award from Western Washington University in 2022. He is recognized in Chambers USA; is named to Intellectual Asset Management's guide, IAM Patent 1000 – The World's Leading Patent Professionals; is recognized in Managing Intellectual Property magazine's IP Stars; is named to the list of The Best Lawyers in America; and was selected to the list of Rising Stars by Super Lawyers.

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  • Professional Experience

    • Christensen O'Connor Johnson KindnessPLLC
      Seattle, WA, 2006 – present
    • University of Washington Office of Technology Transfer
      Legal Intern, Seattle, WA, Summer 2005
  • Technical Experience

    • University Contracted Research Engineer
      Boeing Phantom Works, 2003 – 2006
    • WRF/Gates Fellow
      University of Washington Business School Center for
      Technology Entrepreneurship, Summer 2003
    • Research Scientist
      Washington, Western Washington and Puget Sound, 1998 – 2006
  • Professional Affiliations

    • American Chemical Society, Chemistry and the Law Division
    • College of Science and Engineering External Advancement Board
      Western Washington University
  • Presentations & Publications


    • "COVID-19 and the Impact on Intellectual Property," Washington State Bar Association, Intellectual Property Law Section (Seattle, WA, June 2020).
    • "Intellectual Property: From Fundamentals to Enforcement," Seattle University School of Law, Summer Practice Academy (Seattle, WA, July 2017).
    • "Design Patents: An Important Tool in Your IP Toolbox," Center for Advanced Study and Research on Innovation Policy, Patent and IP Law Summer Institute 
      (Seattle, WA, July 2016 and 2017).
    • "IP Basics - your questions answered about IP!" Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Technology Transfer 101 Series (Seattle, WA, July 2016).
    • "Design Patents: An Important Tool in Your IP Toolbox," Christensen O'Connor Johnson Kindness; moderator (Seattle, WA, December 2013).
    • "Protecting Your Intellectual Property," Northwest Entrepreneur Network (Seattle, WA, July 2013).
    • University of Washington Graduate School Career Symposium (Seattle, WA, October 2010).
    • "Chemical Patent Law 101: Creating and Protecting Intellectual Property," American Chemical Society Northwest Regional Meeting  (Pullman, WA, June 2010).
    • "Chemical Patent Law 101: Creating and Protecting Intellectual Property," Western Washington University Chemistry Department Seminar (Bellingham, WA, May 2010).
    • "Nanotechnology Patent Law:  Introduction, Information, and Strategy," American Chemical Society National Meeting (San Francisco, CA, March 2010).
    • "Nanotechnology Patent Law:  Introduction, Information, and Strategy," Micro Nano Breakthrough Conference (Portland, OR, September 2009).
    • "Nanotechnology Patent Strategies:  The Path to Successful Filings in the United States," Micro Nano Breakthrough Conference (Vancouver, WA, September 2008).



    • "Engineered Growth of Organic Crystalline Films Using Liquid Crystal Solvents," Journal of the American Chemical Society, Vol. 128, No. 51, 2006, pp. 16468–16469, Wilkinson, F., Norwood, R., McLellan, J., Lawson, L., and Patrick, D.
    • "Recent Advances in Organic Electro-Optic Materials for Ring Micro-resonators and Optical Modulation," Proceedings of the Society of Photo-Optical Instrumental Engineers, Vol. 6101, 2006, pp. 61010S1–6, Akelaitis, A., Sullivan, P., Sinness, J., Hammond, S., Liao, Y., Lawson, R., Takayesu, J., Eichinger, B.,  Rommel, H., Robinson,–B., and Dalton, L.R.
    • "All Optical Modulator in Silicon with Terahertz Bandwidth," Nature Materials, Vol 5, 2006, pp. 703–709, Hochberg, M., Baehr-Jones, T., Wang, G., Parker, J., Harvard, K., Liu, J., Chen, B., Shi, Z., Lawson, R.,  Sullivan, P., Jen, A.K.Y., Dalton, L., and Scherer, A.
    • "Organic electro-optic glasses for WDM applications," Proceedings of the Society of Photo-Optical Instrumental Engineers, Volume 6014, 2005, pp. 210–224, Dalton, L., Scherer, A., Chen, A., Jen, A., Reid, P., Robinson, B., Eichinger, B., Hochberg, M., Baehr-Jones, T., Pyajt, A., Takayesu, J., Sullivan, P., Akelaitis, A., Lawson, R., Bale, D., Haller, M., Luo, J., Liu, S., Liao, Y., Firestone, K., Bhattacharjee, S., Sinness, J., Hammond, S., Sgro, A., Buker, N., Snoeberger, R., Lingwood, M., and Steier, W.
    • "Self-assembled monolayer modifications of organic thin film transistors," Proceedings of the Society of Photo-Optical Instrumental Engineers, Vol. 5592, 2005, pp. 437–442, Shuvalov, I., Lawson, R., Ma, H., Jen, A.K., and Dalton, L.R.
    • "Optical Modulation and Detection in Slotted Silicon Waveguides," Optics Express, Vol. 13, 2005, pp. 5216–5226, Baehr-Jones, T., Hochberg, M., Wang, G., Lawson, R., Liao, Y., Sullivan, P.A., Dalton, L.R., Jen, A.K.Y., and Scherer, A.
    • "Synthesis and Design of Organic Light-Emitting Devices Containing Lanthanide Cored Complexes," Proceedings of the Society of Photo-Optical Instrumental Engineers, Vol. 5214, 2004, pp. 337–347, Phelan, G.D., Carlson, B., Lawson, R., Rowe, D., Allen, K., Dalton, L.R., Jiang, X., Kim, J.H., and Jen, A.K.Y.
    • "Advances in Organic Electro-Optic Materials and Processing," Inorganica Chimica Acta, Vol. 357, 2004, pp. 3957–3966, Firestone, K.A., Reid, P., Lawson, R., Jang, S.H., and Dalton, L.R.
    • "Systematic Studies of Organic Thin Film Transistor Improvements," Proceedings of the Society of Photo-Optical Instrumental Engineers, Vol. 5351, 2004, pp. 291–297, Shuvalov, I., Lawson, R., and Dalton, L.R.
    • "Simple Reflection Measurement of Nonlinear Optical Activity Using Silicon as an Electrode," Proceedings of the Society of Photo-Optical Instrumental Engineers, Vol. 5212, 2003, pp. 326–331, Haller, M.A., Lawson, R., Clot, O., Sherwood, T., Dalton, L., and Jen, A.K.
    • "Electrically Tunable Ring Resonators Incorporating Nematic Liquid Crystals as Cladding Layers," Applied Physics Letters, Vol. 83, 2003, pp. 4689–4691, Maune, B., Lawson, R., Gunn, C., Scherer, A., and Dalton, L.


    • J.D., with honors, University of Washington School of Law, 2007
    • Ph.D., Chemistry/Nanotechnology, University of Washington, 2006
    • M.S., Chemistry, Western Washington University, 2001
    • B.S., Chemistry/Mathematics, University of Puget Sound, 1999

Bar & Court Admissions

    • United States Patent and Trademark Office
    • Washington State Bar
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