Karen Bentley

Principal, Melbourne | BAppSc (Hons), PhD, MIP Law

Direct +61 3 8662 7338


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Karen specialises in patent matters for the biotechnology, food technology, pharmaceutical, agricultural and life sciences sectors, working closely with local and international research organisations, foreign patent attorneys and biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies. She manages patent portfolios for local clients, ensuring a consistent strategic approach for each of their portfolios that aligns with their commercial objectives. Karen also manages large patent portfolios for overseas pharmaceutical companies, devising a holistic patent strategy for those companies to obtain intellectual property rights in Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia.

Karen supports her clients with drafting and prosecuting patent applications and providing strategic patenting advice. She also defends her clients' intellectual property rights during opposition proceedings. She is highly regarded for her very high standard of work, her attention to detail and timely responsiveness to client needs. 

Karen works very closely with the Herbert Smith Freehills dispute resolution group, providing assistance in the preparation and review of technical evidence and documents, and identifying and working with experts in local and overseas proceedings. Karen’s involvement in all stages of the lifecycle of a patent - from drafting to defending the patent in court – gives her clients the benefit of a unique perspective on patent strategy. She has also worked in due diligence projects involving the acquisition and disposition of intellectual property rights.

Her Honours and PhD studies, undertaken at the Burnet Institute in Melbourne, involved the molecular and cellular characterisation of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus. Prior to joining FPA Patent Attorneys, Karen worked as a postdoctoral scientist at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Melbourne, investigating chromosome biology and the use of human artificial chromosomes as gene therapy tools.

Areas of expertise 

  • Globally Aligned Patent Prosecution and Defence Strategy
  • Molecular Biology (with particular expertise in the field of virology)
  • Biotechnology (with particular expertise in siRNA, shRNA and CRISPR)
  • Genetics and Gene Therapy
  • Pharmaceuticals (with particular expertise in the area in the field of nucleoside analogues)
  • Nutraceuticals, food technology and processes for generating extracts with beneficial health properties


  • Bachelor of Applied Science (Medical Laboratory Science) (Hons), RMIT University
  • PhD (Faculty of Medicine), University of Melbourne
  • Masters (Intellectual Property Law) , University of Melbourne
  • Registered Patent Attorney (Australia and New Zealand)


  • Institute of Patent and Trade Mark Attorneys of Australia 
  • Intellectual Property Society of Australia and New Zealand 


  • FPA Patent Attorneys was ranked Tier 1 for Patent Prosecution by the Managing Intellectual Property IP Stars Handbook 2017 and 2018.
  • Intellectual Asset Management’s 2017 and 2018 editions of the IAM Patent 1000 Guide - the World's Leading Patent Professionals awarded FPA Patent Attorneys the highest category of “Highly Recommended” for Patent Prosecution. 
  • For the past five years, Karen has been included in the IAM Patent 1000 Guide - the World's Leading Patent Professionals as a Leading Patent Practitioner. She has been referred to as “A very impressive operator who provides exceptional assistance on tricky briefs”, as "Providing thoughtful guidance on matters involving everything from molecular biology to food technology" and as "Equally capable of drafting patents as she is pleading in opposition hearings." In 2018, Karen received accolades in the guide for being a “Source of outstanding scientific and legal acumen who provides proactive and insightful advice while never letting go of the big picture.”
  • FPA Patent Attorneys Chemistry and Biotechnology practice was awarded the 2015 AI Intellectual Property Award as Best Biotechnology IP Matters - Australia.