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Melissa Nowak is a member at COJK, focusing her practice on developing patent portfolios to secure patent protection for her clients' inventions. Melissa works with life science and biotechnology companies, universities, and non-profit research organizations to successfully obtain patent protection using practical and cost-efficient approaches.

Melissa's areas of particular technical expertise include molecular biology, immunology, genetics, and neurosciences. Representative client technologies include applications relating to kinase inhibitors, fluorophore-protein conjugates, pH monitoring systems, microfluidic devices, DNA isolation and purification, high throughput drug screening, bacterial inhibitors, peptides, nanoparticles, antibiotic compounds, vaccines, pharmaceuticals, transcription modules, somatic embryogenesis, cellulose fibers, and dietary and nutritional supplements. In addition, Melissa has experience handling appeals before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board.

Prior to entering law school, Melissa's graduate research in comparative immunology focused on the genetic diversity of antibody light chains in monotremes. Melissa also worked as a research assistant in the field of neurosciences, where her research focused on neuronal-specific RNA binding proteins and neuronal plasticity. The results of her research have been published in prominent scientific journals.

Melissa is a member of the firm's trademark practice group and has experience in all aspects of trademark practice including worldwide trademark search and clearance, preparation and prosecution of trademark applications, and trademark enforcement and defense. Melissa also counsels clients in the areas of copyright protection and infringement. She has worked with clients in many different industries including media and entertainment, software, aviation and aerospace, building and construction, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, food and beverage, dietary supplements, medical devices, transportation, and education, and has provided valuable in-house attorney services for trademark clients. In addition, Melissa has handled appeals and opposition proceedings before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.

Melissa is a member of the International Trademark Association (INTA) and currently serves as chair of the organization’s Public Information Committee, which prepares and publishes information on trademarks and brands for the general public. Melissa is recognized in Chambers and Partners' Chambers USA, in World Trademark Review's  WTR 1000 – The World’s Leading Trademark Professionals, in Intellectual Asset Management's IAM Patent 1000 – The World’s Leading Patent Professionals, as well as their premier global guide, IAM Global Leaders: Interviews with the Pinnacle of the Patent Law Profession, and in Managing Intellectual Property's IP Stars.  Melissa is proficient in French.

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  • Professional Experience

    • Christensen O'Connor Johnson KindnessPLLC
      Seattle, WA, 2006 - present
  • Technical Experience

    • Graduate Teaching and Research Assistant
      Department of Biology, University of New Mexico, 2000 - 2002
    • Research Assistant
      Department of Neurosciences, University of New Mexico, 1997 - 2000
    • Laboratory Technician
      Rock-Tenn Corporation, 1996 - 1997
  • Professional Affiliations

    • International Trademark Association (INTA)
      Chair, Public Information Committee
    • Washington State Patent Law Association
  • Presentations & Publications


    • “TCR Gamma Chain Diversity in the Spleen of the Duckbill Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus),” Developmental & Comparative Immunology, Vol. 30, Issue 8, 2006, pp. 699 - 710, Parra, Z.E., Arnold, T., Nowak, M.A., Hellman, L., and Miller, R.D.
    • “The Complexity of Expressed Kappa Light Chains in Egg-Laying Mammals,” Immunogenetics, Vol. 56, Issue 8, 2004, pp. 555 - 563, Nowak, M.A., Parra, Z.E., Hellman, L., and Miller, R.D.
    • “Increased Expression and Localization of the RNA-Binding Protein HuD and GAP-43 mRNA to Cytoplasmic Granules in DRG Neurons During Nerve Regeneration,” Experimental Neurology, Vol. 183, Issue 1, 2003, pp. 100 - 108, Anderson, K.D, Merhege, M.A., Morin, M., Bolognani, F., and Perrone-Bizzozero, N.I.
    • “Overexpression of HuD, but Not of Its Truncated Form HuD I+II, Promotes GAP-43 Gene Expression and Neurite Outgrowth in PC12 Cells in the Absence of Nerve Growth Factor. J,” Neurochemistry, Vol. 75, Issue 3, 2000, pp. 1103 - 1114, Anderson, K.D, Morin, M.A., Beckel-Mitchener, A., Mobarak, C.D., Neve, R.L., Furneaux, H.M., Burry, R., and Perrone-Bizzozero, N.I.
    • “The RNA-Binding Protein HuD Is Required for GAP-43 mRNA Stability, GAP-43 Gene Expression, and PKC-dependent Neurite Outgrowth in PC12 Cells,” Molecular Biology of the Cell, Vol. 11, Issue 9, 2000, pp. 3191 - 3203, Mobarak, C.D., Anderson, K.D., Morin, M., Beckel-Mitchener, A., Rogers, S.L., Furneaux, H., King, P., and Perrone-Bizzozero, N.I.
    • “Overexpression of HuD Accelerates Neurite Outgrowth and Increases GAP-43 mRNA Expression in Cortical Neurons and Retinoic Acid-Induced Embryonic Stem Cells in Vitro,” Experimental Neurology, Vol. 168, Issue 2, 2001, pp. 250 - 258, Anderson, K.D., Sengupta, J., Morin, M., Neve, R.L., Valenzuela, C.F., and Perrone-Bizzozero, N.I.


    • J.D., University of New Mexico School of Law, 2005
    • M.S., Biology, University of New Mexico, 2002
    • B.S., Biology, University of Georgia, 1996

Bar & Court Admissions

    • United States Patent and Trademark Office
    • Washington State Bar
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