Photo of Jonathan P. OPhoto of Jonathan P. O

Jonathan P. O'Brien, Ph.D.

Chair, Intellectual Property Department
Member, Executive Committee
Member, Board of Directors


Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Ph.D.
  • Chemistry
  • Teaching Award for General Chemistry Recitation
Michigan State University College of Law, J.D.
  • magna cum laude; Full Merit Scholar
  • Jurisprudence Awards in Intellectual Property in the Internet Age; Intellectual Property; and Research, Writing and Advocacy
  • First-Year Moot Court Competition, 2nd Place Award
Hope College, B.S.
  • Chemistry
  • cum laude

Prior Employment

  • Miller, Canfield, Paddock and Stone, P.L.C., Senior Partner, 2007-2008; Senior Attorney, 2005-2007
  • Pfizer/Pharmacia Corporation, Patent Agent, 2001-2004
  • Fish & Richardson, P.C., Technology Specialist, 1997-2001

Bar Admissions

Court Admissions

Professional Affiliations

State Bar of Michigan

American Bar Association

  • Subcommittee on Biotechnology 
  • Intellectual Property Law Section 

Biotechnology Industry Organization 


American Intellectual Property Law Association

News & Resources


Dr. Jonathan O'Brien is a highly experienced intellectual property attorney with a particular emphasis on global IP portfolio management and strategy for domestic and multinational companies. He has written and prosecuted several hundred patents throughout the world. Dr. O'Brien offers a pragmatic business perspective and has successfully assisted clients with leveraging their IP portfolios by identifying improvements and solutions to minimize risks and maximize their IP budget. He has experience rendering legal opinions on patent validity and/or noninfringement, as well as helping to coordinate global opposition, reexamination, nullity, and infringement proceedings. Dr. O'Brien also has extensive experience with IP due diligence and drafting and negotiating a variety of agreements, including patent licenses, co-development and commercialization, material transfer, clinical trial, and cooperative research and development agreements (CRADA). 

Dr. O’Brien focuses his practice on the following sectors:

  • Pharmaceutical, Biotechnology, and Life Sciences
    • Assisted clients with the development and global commercialization of 13 drug products, including devising and implementing global IP procurement, enforcement, and patent-related regulatory strategies
    • Assisted pharmaceutical and biotechnology clients in defending more than a dozen patent oppositions, reexamination, and nullity proceedings in Europe and Asia
  • Material Science
    • Prepares and prosecutes patents in a variety of technical areas, including batteries, fuel cells, and nanotechnology
  • Chemical
    • Procures and enforces domestic and international patents relating to inorganic chemistry and polymers
  • Mechanical
    • Prepares and prosecutes patents in a variety of technical areas, including optics, medical devices, and automotive components
  • IP Due Diligence in M&A Transactions
    • Conducts intellectual property due diligence for venture fund clients regarding potential investments, large pharmaceutical and biotechnology corporations concerning potential asset purchases and mergers, and startup companies about potential licensing of technologies owned by universities or third parties


  • Drafted and prosecuted patents in a variety of technical areas such as pharmaceutical, inorganic, and polymer chemistries; biotechnology; material science; physics; nanotechnology; and mechanical engineering 
  • Represented a multinational pharmaceutical company in developing a global patent strategy for a Phase III drug candidate, which involved obtaining patent issuances on the drug substance and implementing a life-cycle management plan 
  • Assisted a multinational pharmaceutical company and its European counsel in defending the company’s European patent during opposition proceedings
  • Drafted and negotiated a variety of agreements, including patent license, co-development and commercialization, material transfer, and nondisclosure agreements, as well as clinical trial agreements, including CRADAs 
  • Conducted intellectual property due diligence for venture fund clients regarding potential investments, large pharmaceutical and biotechnology corporations regarding potential asset purchases and mergers, and startup companies regarding potential licensing of technologies owned by universities or third parties


Stuart Area Restoration Association, Chairman

  • Recipient Special Appreciation Award, 2008 

3rd Coast Metro Trek, Planning Committee

News & Resources


Press Releases


Seminars & Events


  • Listed in Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business since 2017
    • Recognized as a leading business lawyer in the Intellectual Property field in Michigan; Chambers USA states:
      • 2019 – "Jonathan O’Brien is the chair of the firm's intellectual property department. He regularly advises clients on patent and trademark procurement, enforcement matters and post-grant proceedings. An impressed client praised 'his patent prosecution capabilities' before going on to applaud his 'ability to grasp our company's business needs and provide legal advice tailored to our particular needs.'"
      • 2018 – "Jonathan O'Brien chairs the practice and focuses on IP issues concerning M&A, as well as portfolio management and strategy. 'He is excellent and very business-savvy,' says a client."
      • 2017 – "In addition to his legal qualifications, O'Brien also has a PhD in chemistry, and clients are particularly impressed by his specialized, sector-specific knowledge, noting that he is 'a high-quality thinker' who is also 'easy to work with.' Clients also state: 'He is particularly knowledgeable about international matters.'"
  • The Best Lawyers in America, 2012-2020
    • Recognized in practice area of Patent Law
  • Michigan Super Lawyers, 2015-2019
    • Recognized as a Rising Star, 2011 and 2013-2014
  • LMG Life Sciences
    • Patent Strategy & Management Attorney of the Year – Midwest, 2019 – Shortlisted nominee
    • Recognized as a Life Sciences Star, 2017-2019
  • IAM Patent 1000: The World’s Leading Patent Professionals, Recognized as one of the World’s Leading Patent Practitioners, 2014-2016, 2019
  • Managing Intellectual Property IP STARS, Recognized as a Patent Star, 2013-2019
  • Leading Lawyers Magazine Michigan, 2017
    • Recognized in practice areas of Intellectual Property Law and Patent Law
  • Michigan Lawyers Weekly, Recognized as a Leader in the Law, 2014
  • Business Review USA, Recognized as a Business Leader Under 40, 2007

Academic Appointments

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Chemistry
    • T.A. Training Workshop, Assistant, Spring 1993-1996
    • Principles of Quantum Mechanics (5.61), Recitation Instructor, Fall 1994
    • Thermodynamics and Kinetics (5.70), Recitation Instructor, Spring 1992
    • Principles of General Chemistry (5.11), Recitation Instructor and Head Teaching Assistant, Fall 1991