Dr. Michelle Rhyu


I work with our clients to understand their business objectives and litigation needs. I use my scientific training to understand deeply the technology and arguments, then break down complex technology and facts to craft the client’s story, one that resonates with judges and jurors.

Michelle Rhyu is a life sciences litigator.  She has represented life sciences companies at Cooley for over 25 years, litigating high-impact patent, contract, and trade secrets disputes.  She advises biotechnology, pharmaceutical, and medical devices clients as they navigate complex patent landscapes and competitor incursions.  She has litigated and advised companies in BPCIA-related matters involving seven different biologic products.  She has achieved significant wins in trade secret misappropriation and breach of contract cases.

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  • Global cross-license achieved for Gevo in long-running biofuels patent case 

  • Cooley and ACLU File Discrimination Suit Against City of Escondido 

  • Complete win for Gilead Sciences in dispute involving breakthrough SOVALDI treatment  

  • Pretrial Win for Gevo in Patent Suit 

In a bet-the-company litigation, the Cooley team came through. The team's combination of deep trial experience and scientific expertise was critical to the success of the case. – Brett Pletcher, General Counsel, Gilead Sciences

  • Stanford Law School
    JD, with distinction

  • University of California, San Francisco
    PhD, Biochemistry and Biophysics
    National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow

  • University of California, Berkeley
    BA, Molecular Biology
    with honors

Admissions & Credentials


U.S. Patent and Trademark Office


  • American Bar Association

  • California Bar Association

  • Asian Pacific Bar Association

  • Council of Korean Americans

Rankings & Accolades

    Financial Times: Top 10 Innovative Lawyers of North America

    IAM Patent 1000: Top Patent Lawyer

    LMG Life Sciences “General Patent Litigator of the Year – California” Finalist 

    LMG Life Sciences: IP Star

    Managing Intellectual Property: IP Star

    Managing Intellectual Property: Top 250 Women in IP

    The Recorder: Women Leaders in Technology Law

    UCSF: 150th Anniversary Alumni Excellence Award

    Legal 500: Intellectual Property: Patents - Litigation; Trade Secrets (Litigation & Non-Contentious Matters); Healthcare: Life Sciences