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Karen Bentley

Principal | BAppSc (Hons), PhD, MIP Law
Direct number



Melbourne, Singapore

About Karen

Excited about achieving great outcomes for my clients – especially against the odds!

Karen immediately knew she’d found her niche when she made the change from creating the science to protecting it. Now she gets to work with talented people at the forefront of every aspect of innovation, across diverse technologies, and across the globe. “I literally learn something new every single day in this job – whether that be on the technology side, the business side or the law side”.

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.

Her greatest passion lies in helping clients navigate the flourishing yet underappreciated Southeast Asian markets and managing every aspect of patent portfolios for corporates in the pharmaceutical, agriculture and food sectors. It is almost 10% of the world, with diverse and growing markets and industries, and competitive domestic markets for foreign companies. Her clients benefit from not just her knowledge, but also her passion for the region and the opportunities it presents for them.

Karen also has an extensive hearing and opposition practice, working on behalf of applicants and opponents, and works very closely with IP litigation teams from a number of major Australian law firms, 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 is highly regarded for her very high standard of work, her attention to detail and timely responsiveness to client needs, and her depth and breadth of knowledge about Southeast Asia. Karen is a Director of our Singapore office.

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, 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.


  • Named as a ‘Patent Star’ by IP Star, Managing Intellectual Property, 2019-2023
  • Ranked as a ‘Recommended Individual’ by IAM Patent 1000, 2016-2023


  • 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 Trans-Tasman Patent Attorney
  • Graduate of the AsiaLink Leaders Program 2021


  • Fellow, Institute of Patent & Trade Mark Attorneys of Australia (IPTA)
  • Intellectual Property Society of Australia and New Zealand

Source of outstanding scientific and legal acumen who provides proactive and insightful advice while never letting go of the big picture

Equally capable of drafting patents as she is pleading in opposition hearings.

A very impressive operator who provides exceptional assistance on tricky briefs

Karen Bentley takes a special interest in Southeast Asian regional patent management. Karen and her team are my go-to for all things Australia, New Zealand and Southeast Asia. What used to be somewhat frustrating, Karen has made dealing with Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam and others incredibly streamlined and stress free. She is smart and so are her teams.

Latest articles authored by Karen Bentley — 15 April 2024

Southeast Asia snapshot – Changes in patent practice in 2023

Latest articles authored by Karen Bentley — 15 March 2024

2023: A less turbulent year in Australian patent law

Latest articles authored by Karen Bentley — 27 April 2023

How appealing was 2022! Some key Australian patent law cases of 2022

Latest articles authored by Karen Bentley — 7 March 2023

Australia: A key destination for life science patent filings

Latest articles authored by Karen Bentley — 11 August 2022

Podcast: Vietnam and Patent Protection: Observations, Developments and Strategies

Latest articles authored by Karen Bentley — 11 March 2022

2021 – Australian patent law top decisions


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