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Kathryn A. Piffat, Ph.D

  • Counsel
  • Boston
Dr. Kathryn Piffat is Of Counsel to the Life Sciences Group at Pearl Cohen’s Boston office. She focuses her practice on biotechnology and has extensive experience in the areas of patent prosecution and counselling on worldwide patent portfolio management, as well as due diligence analysis of patent portfolios and pre-litigation.


“A patent attorney is both a lawyer and a scientist. I encourage the client to view an invention from both a scientific perspective and a patent perspective.”

Dr. Kathryn Piffat focuses her practice on biotechnology and has extensive experience in the areas of patent prosecution and counseling on worldwide patent portfolio management, as well as due diligence analysis of patent portfolios and pre-litigation. Kathryn has represented clients in North America, Europe, and Asia in protecting a wide range of technologies from nucleic acid and protein isolation devices and methods to genetic and pharmaceutical assays.

Kathryn adds value, because while paying attention to details, she strives to assist the client in the consideration of a broader scientific view of an invention. She also seeks to educate the client about the requirements of the patent system.

Kathryn holds a Ph.D. in molecular biology from Boston University, where her research centered on RelB, a member of the Rel/NF-kappaB family of transcription factors, and her work was published in peer-reviewed scientific journals. She received the Outstanding Teaching Fellow Award, the Kathryn & John Silber Book Award, and a graduate student travel award. She also served as a biology career panelist and worked with the Pathways program, leading laboratory tours for female high school students. Kathryn holds a J.D. from Boston University School of Law, where she was a member of the editorial board and published author of the Boston University International Law Journal. Kathryn now serves on the Alumni Executive Committee for Boston University School of Law.

Currently, Kathryn is also a member of the International Patent Law & Practice Committee of the Intellectual Property Organization (IPO), the American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA), the Boston Patent Law Association (BPLA), and other organizations. She has been an invited speaker for the AIPLA and has also presented at the SMi Conference on Pharmacogenomics in London, and she served on the faculty of the 16th Annual Advanced Patent Prosecution Workshop at the Practising Law Institute (PLI) in New York. She has given numerous presentations and has authored or co-authored various law-related and scientific papers and other publications. She also assisted with the grant writing team of a local historical society in drafting a successful grant proposal for greenhouse renovations relating to an educational and vocational program for youth with disabilities.

Prior to joining Pearl Cohen, Kathryn was a patent attorney with the law firms of Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP (now Locke Lord) and Fish & Richardson in Boston and a Lecturer in International Intellectual Property at Boston University School of Law.


  • Piffat, “Current 35 U.S.C. 101 Limits of Patentability in the Life Sciences and Their Impact on Sequenom,” 35 Biotechnology Law Report 61-72 (2016).
  • Piffat, “11 U.S.C. §365(n) & International Law: An Update,” invited guest presenter at International Intellectual Property Panel Discussion at Boston University School of Law (December 4, 2013).
  • Block, Azod, Mendes da Costa, Osterman & Piffat, “Preserving Licensee Rights When Licensor Enters Bankruptcy,” Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO) (Sept. 2012) (accompanying resolutions adopted by the IPO Board of Directors on Sept. 9, 2012) (
  • Piffat, “To Appeal or Not to Appeal – After Final Rejection: Interview, RCE, Pre-Appeal Conference or Appeal,” paper presented at the panel on Prosecution Strategies During the Appeals Process at the American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA) Spring Meeting, Boston, MA (May 2007).
  • Lessler, Piffat & Woodley, “Drafting Claims for Chemical, Pharmaceutical, and Biotechnology Patent Applications,” 16th Annual Advanced Patent Prosecution Workshop: Claim Drafting & Amendment Writing, Practising Law Institute (New York: 2006).
  • Lauro & Piffat, “Advance Planning to Maximize Your International Patent Protection,” 12 (9) Intellectual Property Today 18 (September 2005).
  • Piffat, K.A. Isolation and Characterization of cDNAs Encoding the Chicken RelB Transcription Factor: A Structural and Functional Comparison to Other Rel Proteins. Boston University (2000).
  • Piffat, K.A., T. Ikeda, R. Hrdlickova, A. Liss, S. Huang, S. Sif, J. Nehyba, T.D. Gilmore & H.R. Bose, Jr., “The Chicken RelB Transcription Factor has Transactivation Sequences and a Tissue-Specific Expression Pattern That Are Distinct from Mammalian RelB,” Molecular Cell Biology Research Communications 4(5): 266-275 (2001).
  • Gilmore, T.D., M. Koedood, K.A. Piffat & D.W. White. “Rel/NF-kappaB/IkappaB Proteins and Cancer,” Oncogene 13(7): 1367-1378 (1996).