Michael Nelson, Ph.D.

Senior Associate

Nelson, Michael

Michael Nelson is a senior associate who focuses his practice on complex intellectual property matters. He has extensive experience in worldwide patent prosecution and portfolio development, strategic counseling, due diligence and patent litigation, including ITC investigations and IPR proceedings. Dr. Nelson leverages his scientific background and legal experience to assist technology-focused clients in the pharmaceutical, life sciences, chemical, materials science and organic electronics industries. 

Prior to joining WilmerHale, Dr. Nelson was an associate at Vinson & Elkins LLP and clerked for the Honorable Pauline Newman of the Court of the Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Dr. Nelson was also an associate at Venable LLP and a summer associate at Wiley Rein LLP.

While pursuing his law degree, Dr. Nelson was a legal intern for the Civil Division of the Intellectual Property Section of the US Department of Justice and a judicial intern for the Honorable Gerald Bruce Lee of the US District Court of the Eastern District of Virginia.

Prior to law school, Dr. Nelson was a technical advisor and patent agent at Venable LLP and a patent examiner for the US Patent and Trademark Office in the area of organic light-emitting diodes.

Dr. Nelson's scientific experience includes research at the NIH Chemical Genomics Center where he focused on high-throughput synthesis, purifications and analytical methods as part of a public sector high-throughput discovery and development for biologically active compounds. Dr. Nelson also designed and synthesized a new class of chemotherapy adjuvants for anti-cancer treatment as a post-doctoral fellow at the National Cancer Institute at Frederick.


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JD, cum laude, Georgetown University Law Center, 2014, Executive Online Editor, Georgetown Law Journal

PhD, Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy, The Ohio State University, 2001, Pre-Doctoral Fellowship, American Foundation for Pharmaceutical Education

BS, Chemistry, magna cum laude, University of Texas at Dallas, 1996, Full Merit Scholarship

Bar Admissions

District of Columbia


United States Patent and Trademark Office


The Hon. Pauline Newman, US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, 2015 - 2017

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