Curtis R. Altmann, Ph.D., J.D.

Curtis Altmann is Of Counsel in Mendelsohn Dunleavy P.C.’s Intellectual Property group. He is admitted to practice in the District of Columbia and before the USPTO.  He brings a blend of legal expertise and scientific acumen, holding a Ph.D. in Molecular and Cell Biology from Berkeley alongside his J.D. His comprehensive understanding of complex biotechnological concepts enables him to provide unparalleled legal counsel to clients. With a diverse professional background spanning academia, government service, and private practice, he demonstrates remarkable adaptability and a strong commitment to delivering exceptional results in every role he undertakes.

After twenty-two years of academic research, Dr. Altmann decided to pursue a career in law and apply his scientific skills to patents, particularly in the biotechnology field. His transition to intellectual property began in 2007, first as a Science Advisor and law clerk while he attended law school at night, and then as an attorney beginning in 2012. 

As a patent agent and Attorney for the past seventeen years, Dr. Altmann’s primary focus has been patent prosecution, representing large clients such as Pfizer, Merck, Bayer/Monsanto, J&J, Altria, and others as well as individual inventors, startups, and universities.  In addition, Dr. Altmann has developed legal skills in trademarks, including ICANN Uniform Domain-Name Dispute Resolution, trademark freedom to operate review and prosecution.  He has a deep knowledge of worldwide IP strategy.  With his strong experimental background and broad scientific experience, Dr. Altmann understands the science while focusing on the legal strategies to secure commercially valuable patent rights for the client. 

At Mendelsohn Dunleavy, he supports the patent prosecution and counseling, opinion work, and patent portfolio strategy group in the chemical and biotechnology arts.  Dr. Altmann has experience working with foreign patent associates to help secure foreign patent rights for US clients.  He has expertise in the fields of biochemistry, molecular biology, developmental biology, embryology, cell biology, organic chemistry, genomics and bioinformatics.  At Mendelsohn Dunleavy, Dr. Altmann prosecutes patent applications related to antibodies, gene sequences, chemical compounds, medical diagnostics, and medical devices.   

Dr. Altmann graduated cum laude from the Washington College of Law at American University in 2011 and received his Ph.D. in Molecular and Cell Biology from the University of California at Berkeley where he was an HHMI Pre-doctoral Fellow.  As a graduate student, Dr. Altmann provided the first demonstration that RNAP is an RNA endonuclease that is sensitive to the antibiotic rifampicin and this work was extended to eukaryotic RNAPs. As a Postdoctoral Fellow at the New York University School of Medicine and The Rockefeller University Dr. Altmann demonstrated ectopic lens and eye induction by Pax6 and obtained U.S. Patent No. 6,337,392.  Dr. Altmann’s work further included developing the first Xenopus microarrays and bioinformatics.  Dr. Altmann became an Assistant Professor at the Florida State University College of Medicine where he continued his eye and lens development work and genomics studies. 

Dr. Altmann obtained his undergraduate degree at the University of Pennsylvania where he worked at the Wistar Institute under the guidance of Clayton Buck studying integrins.  Dr. Altmann is a co-author on a number of peer reviewed scientific publications. 


1.     Urban AE, Zhou X, Ungos JM, Raible DW, Altmann CR, and Vize PD. (2005) FGF is essential for both condensation and mesenchymal-epithelial transition stages of pronephric kidney tubule development. Dev Biol. 297(1):103-17.

2.     Sczyrba A, Beckstette M, Brivanlou AH, Giegerich R, Altmann CR. (2005) XenDB: full length cDNA prediction and cross species mapping in Xenopus laevis. BMC Genomics. 6:123.

3.     Bell E, Munoz-Sanjuan I, Altmann CR, Vonica A, Brivanlou AH.  (2003) Cell fate specification and competence by Coco, a maternal BMP, TGF-β and Wnt inhibitor. Development.130(7):1381-9.

4.     Rho J, Altmann CR, Socci ND, Merkov L, Kim N, So H, Le, O, Takami M, Brivanlou AH, and Choi Y. (2002) Gene expression profiling of osteoclast differentiation by combined suppression subtractive hybridization (SSH) and cDNA microarray analysis. DNA Cell Biol. (8):541-9.

5.     Muñoz-Sanjuán, I, Bell, E, Altmann, CR, Vonica, A, Brivanlou, A.H. (2002) Gene profiling during neural induction in Xenopus laevis: regulation of BMP signaling by post-transcriptional mechanisms and TAB3, a novel TAK1-binding protein. Development 129(23):5529-40.

6.     Altmann, CR, Chang, C, Muñoz-Sanjuán, I, Bell, E, Heke, M, Rifkin, D, Brivanlou, A.H. (2002) The Latent-TGF-β-Binding-Protein-1 (LTBP-1) is Organizer Specific and Participates in Dorsal Axis Formation by Regulating Nodal and Activin Signaling. Developmental Biology 248(1): 118-127.

7.     Altmann, CR, Bell, E, Sczyrba, A, Pun, J, Bekiranov, S, Gaasterland, T, and Hemmati-Brivanlou, A. (2001) Microarray based analysis of early development in Xenopus laevis. Developmental Biology 236(1): 64-75.

8.     Chow, R.L, Altmann, CR, Lang, R.A, and Hemmati-Brivanlou, A. (1999) Pax6 induces ectopic eyes in a vertebrate.  Development 126, 4213-4222.

9.     Williams, S.C, Altmann, CR, Chow, R.L, Hemmati-Brivanlou, A, and Lang, R.A. (1998) A highly conserved lens transcriptional control element from the pax-6 gene. Mechanisms of Development. 73(2):225-229.

10.   Altmann, CR, Chow, R.L, Lang, R.A, and Hemmati-Brivanlou, A. (1997) Lens induction by Pax-6 in Xenopus laevis. Developmental Biology. 185:119-123.

11.   Altmann, CR, Solow-Cordero, D.E, and Chamberlin, M.J. (1994) RNA cleavage and chain elongation by Escherichia coli DNA-dependent RNA polymerase in a binary enzyme RNA complex. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences U.S.A. 91:3784-3788.

12.   Pardanaud L, Altmann C, Kitos P, Dieterlen-Lievre F, Buck CA. (1987) Vasculogenesis in the early quail blastodisc as studied with a monoclonal antibody recognizing endothelial cells. Development. 100(2):339-49.

13.   US Patent No. 6,337,392, "Lens transcriptional control elements and methods of use thereof".