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Psi Star

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Specializing in the acquisition, maintenance, and enforcement of intellectual property rights.




Intellectual property rights fall into four broad categories: patents for the useful arts, trademarks for brand names, copyrights for creative works, and trade secrets for confidential information. Psi Star IP helps clients acquire rights in all four categories. We carefully review clients’ ideas, sketches, and prototypes for intellectual property, perform searches to assess whether that intellectual property is likely to be legally protectable, prepare and file patent, trademark, and copyright applications to pursue that protection, and marshal those applications through the examination process, in the U.S. and abroad. Psi Star IP also helps clients identify and evaluate third-party IP rights and, as appropriate, take action to acquire those rights, through licensing and assignment, or to redesign products to avoid the rights.


Intellectual property rights must be tended, or they can lapse. Psi Star IP helps clients identify, track, and maintain their intellectual property rights, both pending and perfected. We provide organized summaries of those rights and recommendations for preserving rights, such as marking products with patent numbers and trademark (®) and copyright (©) notices to let third parties know they are protected. We also track and pay maintenance fees and annuities for patents, and track, prepare, and file statements of use and renewals for trademark registrations. Finally, depending on the circumstances, we can help clients revive rights that have unintentionally lapsed.


Intellectual property rights are granted to encourage innovation and commerce. Unfortunately, third parties sometimes attempt to short-circuit the process by copying a patented product or encroaching on a trade name. Psi Star IP helps clients determine whether a competitor is infringing the client’s rights and decide whether and how to stop that infringement, for example, by drafting and sending cease-and-desist or demand letters and filing lawsuits and oppositions. We also help negotiate settlement agreements, consent or coexistence agreements, licensing agreements, and royalty payments, among others. On the flipside, we also help defend clients against third-party infringement accusations.



Psi Star Intellectual Property is a boutique law firm specializing in the acquisition, maintenance, and enforcement of intellectual property rights. The firm was founded by James Abney, Ph.D., an intellectual property attorney with a deep background in science and technology and 25 years of experience in intellectual property law. Psi Star IP allows inventors and companies access to James’s unique combination of scientific and legal skills, making him personally available to consult and work with inventors, in-house counsel, and executives. When appropriate, and with client consent, James may involve patent agents and other attorneys, with complementary backgrounds and expertise.

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James R. Abney, Ph.D.
Owner and Founder

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James R. Abney, Ph.D.

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. His 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. He has been a frequent collaborator with his wife, Bethe Scalettar. Their most recent project is an invited textbook, entitled Introductory Biomedical Imaging: Principles and Practice from Microscopy to MRI, which was published in September 2022 by CRC Press.


  • J.D., summa cum laude, 1997 -- Lewis & Clark Law School, Portland Oregon

  • Ph.D., Biophysics, 1987 -- University of California, Berkeley

  • B.S., Physics, cum laude, 1981 -- University of California, Irvine

  • B.S., Biology, cum laude, 1981 -- University of California, Irvine


  • U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon, 2001

  • United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO), 1998

  • State Bar of California, 1998

  • Oregon State Bar, 1997


James has published extensively, in journals as diverse as Nature, Journal of Cell Biology, Biophysical JournalChemical Physics Letters, and American Journal of Physics, among others. A list of representative research and teaching publications, including copies of articles, is available here. He also has coauthored a new upper-division college textbook on light microscopy and medical imaging.

See LinkedIn for additional information.

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Psi Star IP

Psi Star Intellectual Property

4949 S Macadam Ave

Portland, OR 97239

Tel:  503-726-8877

Email: info (at)


Psi Star IP welcomes inquiries regarding its services. Please complete and submit this inquiry form. We will respond as soon as possible, typically within 1-2 business days. By submitting the form, you acknowledge that your inquiry does not establish an attorney/client relationship with Psi Star IP.

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