Betsy Flanagan

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About Betsy

Betsy is an experienced trial lawyer who specializes in life sciences patent litigation, and she has substantial experience representing innovators against generic (abbreviated new drug application) challenges in Hatch-Waxman litigation. She has achieved significant wins in district court and defended them on appeal. Betsy also counsels pharmaceutical and biotech companies to strategically strengthen their patent portfolios for litigation.

Betsy’s life sciences litigation practice spans federal district courts, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), and arbitration forums. Her litigation experience extends to new chemical entities, biologics, formulations and medical devices. She has substantial expertise in litigating method of treatment patents, including section viii “carve out” strategies.

In addition to serving as lead counsel and her stand-up experience in bench and jury trials and hearings, Betsy leads all phases of litigation, including pre-filing due diligence, claim construction, fact and expert discovery, and settlement negotiations. Betsy also has played significant roles in complex, multi-jurisdictional cases, as well as appeals through the Federal Circuit and US Supreme Court. She has been repeatedly recognized for her high-impact life sciences litigation work.

Before joining Cooley, Betsy served as the managing partner of the Minneapolis office of Fish & Richardson. She takes pride in mentoring the next generation of lawyers, and she is a regular presenter on life sciences litigation topics. During law school, Betsy was lead managing editor of the Minnesota Law Review.

Betsy’s recent representative experience

  • Lead counsel representing the plaintiffs in Hatch-Waxman litigation over Parkinson’s disease agent Xadago (safinamide)
  • Trial counsel for Exela Pharma Sciences in Hatch-Waxman litigation for its ELCYS product, resulting in a district court decision of infringement and no invalidity, and denials of institution on three of four post-grant review petitions at the PTAB, in Exela Pharma Sciences LLC v. Eton Pharmaceuticals Inc., No. 1:20cv365 (D. Del.)*
  • Trial and appellate counsel for a branded pharmaceutical company concerning induced infringement by a generic challenger involving a section viii “carve out” label*
  • Represented a pharmaceutical startup in arbitration asserting breach of contract claims*
  • Defended a major diagnostic clinic against infringement allegations by securing a §101 dismissal*

*Representation handled prior to joining Cooley

Speaking engagements


University of Minnesota Law School
JD, magna cum laude

Cornell University
BA, Chemistry, with distinction in all subjects

Court admissions

US District Court for the District of Minnesota

US District Court for the District of Delaware

US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit

Rankings & accolades

The American Lawyer: Midwest Trailblazer

IAM Patent 1000: Leading Patent Lawyer

LMG Life Sciences: Life Sciences Star

Managing IP: IP Star, Minnesota Litigation Practitioner of the Year (2021)

Minnesota Lawyer: Attorney of the Year (2020)