James R. Abney, Ph.D.

Intellectual Propery Attorney

James Abney, Ph.D., is an intellectual property attorney with a strong interdisciplinary background in biology, chemistry, mathematics, and physics. He has extensive experience in all aspects of intellectual property law, including patent and trademark prosecution, due diligence, opinion work, licensing, enforcement, and portfolio management. He has worked with individual inventors, small businesses, and Fortune 500 companies. He is particularly proud of his work with startups, from founding through IPOs and acquisition. James also is a skilled researcher who can connect with inventors as a peer, especially in the fields of biotechnology, optics, and medical devices. He was the featured Biophysicist in Profile in the September 2012 Biophysical Society newsletter.

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James has a deep and continuing involvement in scientific research and education. After earning a Ph.D. in biophysics, he worked at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBL), where he was supported by an Alexander Hollaender Distinguished Postdoctoral Fellowship, and at the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) medical school. He also has taught several college courses, mostly since moving to Portland, including calculus and general physics.

James’s research has focused on molecular organization and dynamics in biological systems, using a combination of theory, computer simulation, and experiment. Two more recent projects include studying chromatin dynamics in interphase nuclei of Swiss 3T3 and HeLa cells using fluorescence photobleaching techniques, and studying secretory granule dynamics in PC12 cells using optical microscopy, a tissue plasminogen activator/green fluorescent protein hybrid, and diffusion theory. James has been a frequent collaborator with his wife, Bethe Scalettar. Their most recent project, on teaching optical microscopy, was published in August 2015 in the American Journal of Physics.

James enjoys hiking, running, watching classic movies, and caring for wayward animals.


J.D. Summa cum laude – 1997

Lewis & Clark Law School Moe M. Tonkon Scholarship / Dean’s Fellowship for Excellence, Associate Editor, Law Review

Ph.D. Biophysics – 1987

University of California, Berkeley Regents’ Fellowship, Distinguished Teaching Assistant Award

B.S. Physics, cum laude – 1981

University of California, Irvine Phi Beta Kappa, Regents’ Scholarship, Sigma Pi Sigma (National Physics Honor Society)

B.S. Biology, cum laude – 1981

University of California, Irvine President’s Undergraduate Research Fellowship

Bar and Court Admissions

  • Oregon State Bar, 1997
  • State Bar of California, 1998
  • United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), 1998
  • U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon, 2001

Research Articles

Teaching Articles

Invited Review Articles