Catherine Coombes

Senior Patent Attorney

Cath’s portfolio encompasses a wide range of biological subject matter including: biotechnology, life sciences, molecular biology, food technology, enzymology, diagnostics & therapeutics, immunology, plant sciences, stem cells and biopharmaceuticals. She has particular experience in CRISPR technology and has published several articles on CRISPR IP.

Cath is a commercially minded European and UK Chartered Patent Attorney with over a decade of experience focussing on the life sciences field. She has particular interest and considerable experience in securing and upholding patent protection relating to CRISPR technology, as applied to bacterial systems and, more recently, as a gene editing tool. The transformation of CRISPR systems from their natural function as part of adaptive bacterial immunity to a tool kit to carry out site specific modifications in eukaryotes has led to an explosion of new applications for such technology. Cath provides a depth of knowledge from working in this highly contentious and constantly evolving field. 

Cath's portfolio encompasses a diverse range of biological subject matter including: biotechnology, life sciences, molecular biology, food technology, enzymology, diagnostics & therapeutics, immunology, plant sciences, stem cells and biopharmaceuticals. She handles all patent matters including: preparing patent applications, prosecuting patent applications before the EPO and UKIPO, managing worldwide patent prosecution, strategic reviews, due diligance, and validity opinions. Cath's direct clients include universities and small spin-out companies, SMEs and large multinational companies. Her strategic advice is appropriately tailored to her client's individual needs. 

Cath has conducted numberous oppositions before the EPO Opposition Division and has successfully represented both opponents and patentees. She brings strategic focus to the complex issues that arise in contentious matters and carefully considers the impact of taking a particular stance on her client's overall patent strategy. 

Following a BSc in Biotechnology at the University of Leeds, Cath's background in the life sciences field involved process development of antimicrobials for use in the food industry and in the scale-up of active pharmaceuticals for clinical trials. Cath has also obtained an MSc in Management of Intellectual Property Law at QMW, University of London.

Cath is an Examiner for the European Qualification Examination, which assesses candidates seeking to qualify as a European Patent Attorney. She sits on the Examination Committee responsible for setting and marking the Opposition Paper. 

Cath's recent publications include:

  • Applications of CRISPR, International Pharmaceutical Industry Journal, Volume 8, Issue 1, April 2016;
  • Muddies Waters: The CRISPR IP Landscape in Europe, Life Sciences Intellectual Property Review, February 2016;
  • The Innovation Race, IP Pro Life Sciences, November 2015; and
  • CRISPR: careless talk costs patents, Life Sciences Intellectual Property Review, October 2015.