Ideas. Owned. ®

Amy Salmela, Principal at Patterson Thuente IP

PARALEGAL: Lee Mortenson

Client Choice Award Winner - Patterson Thuente IP
iam 100 Recommended Firm 2019 - Patterson Thuente IP
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North Star Lawyer logo

Amy M. Salmela

Principal – Patent Attorney

PARALEGAL: Lee Mortenson

Client Choice Award Winner - Patterson Thuente IP
North Star Lawyer logo
iam 100 Recommended Firm 2019 - Patterson Thuente IP
Minnesota Business Magazine logo

Amy Salmela is a Principal with Patterson Thuente IP. Amy’s practice focuses primarily on patent prosecution related to electrical engineering and electronics, including medical devices and informatics, computer hardware and software, telecommunications, and retail logistics, and analytics technologies.


Her practice includes strategic IP portfolio growth and management for a range of clients, from start-ups to multinational corporations, as well as investment and acquisition IP due diligence, opinion work and litigation support. In recent years Amy has been involved with expert reports for litigation and other disputes related to PCT, Paris Convention and other issues involving international law and treaties.


Amy has a significant client base in Europe and is proficient in international portfolio development. Clients consider Amy a well-balanced legal resource with deep technical knowledge and the ability to assimilate complicated issues, coupled with strong business acumen and IP prosecution prowess.


In addition to her private practice experience with the firm, Amy worked in-house for a major European semiconductor company. This experience has given her a broad perspective from which to advise clients regarding strategic IP portfolio management in a global economy, as well as assist with the development of offensive and defensive IP strategies to complement business goals. In her in-house role, Amy was also responsible for educating European and German patent attorneys on US IP law, training R&D personnel and management on global IP strategy and facilitating invention generation workshops. Prior to becoming an attorney, Amy was an electrical engineer, working for a printed circuit board subcontract manufacturer, U.S. Steel Corporation and Northern States Power Company.


Amy was instrumental in developing the first pro bono patent law program in the US—the LegalCORPS Inventor Assistance Program (IAP)—which now serves as a model for patent pro bono programs across the country. She serves on the organization’s steering committee and is also a member of the AIA Pro Bono Advisory Council. Amy co-authored Patent Law Pro Bono: A Best Practices Guide, a comprehensive guidebook that serves as the blueprint for how to launch a patent pro bono program from concept through launch.


Amy is also involved in the business community, serving as an IP Advisor for AUM Cardiovascular and as a mentor for medtech start-ups through gener8tor, a concierge start-up accelerator, and its gBETA MedTech program.


  • Software and control systems
  • Tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS)
  • Medical infusion pumps
  • Ultrasonic wound debridement and healing technologies
  • Optical cable installation, transmission and error detection
  • Semiconductor micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS)
  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) systems
  • Secure data encryption and decryption systems and methods
  • Sonic sensors
  • Synchronized clocking systems
  • Photo cells for ultraviolet sensors
  • Secure QR code encoding and data management systems
  • Non-invasive coronary artery disease detection systems and methods
  • Magnetoresistive sensors, including GMR, TMR and AMR
  • Automotive radar systems
  • Hall-effect sensors, including vertical Hall devices
  • Dynamic web searching and presentation system
  • Composite aircraft components and assemblies
  • Printed electrical circuits and circuit components
  • Automotive occupant detection systems and methods
  • Aircraft landing gear control systems
  • Telecommunications infrastructure
  • Internet-based sales and consumer product customization systems
  • Robot task definition, control and evaluation
  • Remote vehicle dispatch and monitoring
  • Patent Prosecution
  • Medical Device
  • Computer
  • Software
  • Electrical and Electronics
  • Physics and Mechanical Arts
  • Preparation of Patentability
  • Infringement
  • Invalidity Analyses and Opinions

University of Minnesota Law School, Minneapolis, Minnesota

  • J.D. – 2003
  • Minnesota Law Review, Note & Comment/Research Editor


Milwaukee School of Engineering

  • B.S. with honors, Electrical Engineering – 2000
  • Minor: Management
  • IAM Magazine Patent 1000, 2016 – 2021
  • Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal Women in Business Award, 2018
  • The Business Journals, Influencers – Law, 2018
  • Lexology Client Choice Award, 2014, 2017
  • Minnesota Lawyer Attorneys of the Year, 2014
  • Minnesota Business Leaders in Health Care Awards finalist, 2014
  • Minnesota Super Lawyers® Rising Stars, Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal
  • Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal, 40 Under Forty Award, 2012
  • Minnesota Lawyer, Up & Coming Attorneys, 2012
  • North Star Lawyer
  • Experts Forum: Diversity and Inclusion in Law, Minnesota Lawyer, December 2018
  • Attorney of the Month, Attorney at Law Magazine, July 2017
  • Best of Times and Worst of Times for International IP, IP Law360, October 2016
  • Upper Midwest Jazzed Up About Expansion of Patent Pro Bono Program, IP Watchdog, May 2, 2016
  • LegalCORPS Provides Pricey Patent Help For Free, Minnesota Business, March 25, 2015
  • In-House Pro Bono: Doing Intellectual Property Work for Those Who Need it Most, Landslide, January/February 2015
  • How the Patent Pro Bono Program is Making a Difference (available here to Law360 subscribers), Law360, September 15, 2015
  • A Cooperative Clinic/Corporate Patent Pro Bono Project, Landslide, September/October 2014
  • LegalCORPS Cited by White House for Helping Low-Income Inventors, Star Tribune, March 1, 2014
  • Patent Law Pro Bono: A Best Practices Handbook, (with Privratsky, Mark R.) (2013) Cybaris®: Vol. 4: Iss. 1, Article 1.
  • Usefulness Varies by Country: The Utility Requirement in Patent Law in the United States, Canada and Europe, Cybaris®: Vol. 3: Iss. 1, Article 1.
  • Nonprofit Offers Patent Help to Inventors, Star Tribune, June 11, 2012
  • Patents & the Global Marketplace,” U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce, Women’s Entrepreneurship Symposium, March, 2011
  • Recent Developments in US IP Law, Geyer Fehner & Partners and Ashurst internal training, Munich, Germany, April, 2010
  • Making Smart Patent Application Filing Decisions, University of Minnesota Medical Device Innovation Bootcamp, October, 2010
  • American Bar Association, IPL Section Pro Bono Committee, Chair
  • Minnesota Women Lawyers, Partner Leadership Council
  • Minnesota State Bar Association, Member
  • LifeScience Alley Women in the Life Sciences Leadership Roundtables (2010, 2012)
  • Minnesota Intellectual Property Law Association (MIPLA)
  • Minnesota
  • Minnesota Supreme Court
  • U.S. District Court District of Minnesota
  • U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
  • lAmerica Invents Act (AIA) Pro Bono Advisory Council
  • Board Member, Highland District Council
  • Life Science Alley Women in the Life Sciences Leadership Roundtables, 2010, 2012
  • Mitchell Hamline School of Law intellectual property law clinic, former adjunct professor
  • “Getting From Idea to IP: Protecting Innovation,” Kauffman FastTrac TechVenture IP webinar, November 7, 2018
  • “Making Smart Patent Application Filing Decisions,” University of Minnesota Medical Device Innovation Boot Camp,” Minneapolis, MN, October 2010 – 2017
  • “IP Hot Topics, NGO Management 101,” Equal Justice Conference, Austin, TX, May 2015
  • “Section 101 in View of Alice v. CLS Bank,” internal training at British Telecommunications, April 2015
  • LegalCORPS IAP Volunteer Attorney Training, St. Paul, MN April 2015
  • “Advancing Women in IP Practice,” moderator, William Mitchell College of Law, April 2015
  • “IP Business Basics,” Kauffman FastTrac TechVenture IP presentation, University of Minnesota – Rochester, April 2013, 2015, 2016
  • “The LegalCORPS Inventor Assistance Program,” MN-CLE webinar, March 2015
  • Young Professionals Leadership Panel, 2015 Leadership Foundations Program, University of Minnesota Law School, January 2015
  • “Getting from Idea to IP: Why, How and When to Patent,” International Medical Devices Conference, Chicago, IL, September 2012 – 2014
  • “Patents & the Global Marketplace,” U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce, Women’s Entrepreneurship Symposium, Washington, D.C., March 2011
  • “Recent Developments in U.S. IP Law,” Geyer Fehner & Partners and Ashurst internal training, Munich, Germany, April 2010
  • U.S. Steel Corporation, Electrical Engineering Intern
  • Northern States Power Company (now Xcel Energy), Minnesota, Electrical Engineering Intern
  • Patterson, Thuente, Skaar & Christensen, Law Clerk, 2002