Print PDF

Charles E. Van Horn
+1 202 408 4072

901 New York Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20001-4413

+1 202 408 4000
Fax +1 202 408 4400

Bar and Court Admissions

  • District of Columbia
  • Virginia
  • U.S. Patent and Trademark Office


  • American University, Washington College of Law
    J.D., 1968
  • George Washington University
    M.B.A., 1973
  • Lehigh University
    B.S., Chemical Engineering, 1963

Charles E. Van Horn

Senior Counsel

Charlie Van Horn is one of the former leaders of Finnegan's patent prosecution practice and has a strong working knowledge of the specialized areas of patent reexamination, patent term extension, and procedures under the Patent Cooperation Treaty.

Mr. Van Horn joined the firm after a 31-year career at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). During his tenure, he served in a variety of leadership positions relating to patent policy and practice. He served as the director of the patent examining group responsible for inventions in organic chemistry and biotechnology. While deputy solicitor, Mr. Van Horn argued cases in the federal courts. In his position as deputy assistant commissioner, he established the policy and practice for examining patent applications. Just prior to joining the firm, Mr. Van Horn assisted in developing the legislation and implementing the regulations and procedures for the patent-related changes mandated by the GATT-TRIPs agreement.


  • Represented the U.S. internationally in areas of protecting biotechnology inventions, regulations, and practice for implementing the Patent Cooperation Treaty as well as at the first segment of the Diplomatic Conference to conclude a Patent Law Harmonization Treaty under the auspices of the World Intellectual Property Organization.
  • Responsible for decisions in more than 10,000 annual petitions filed to the Commissioner concerning procedural aspects of patent practice including abandonment of a patent application, reinstatement of a patent, reexamination, patent term extension, and issues arising under the Patent Cooperation Treaty.
  • Testified before Congress in hearings on such topics as reexamination, process patent protection, and patent term extension.
  • Frequent spokesman for the USPTO on patent policy and practice matters including biotechnology and chemical patent practice and duty of disclosure.
  • Lectured extensively on the changes in patent practice resulting from the introduction of provisional patent applications, a 20-year patent term, and the ability to prove a date of invention based on activity outside the United States.

Professional Recognition

  • Recognized by The Legal 500 U.S. as one of the leading lawyers in patent prosecution for utility and design, 2012-2014; and for patent prosecution, re-examinations, and post-grant proceedings, 2017.
  • Recognized as a leading patent prosecutor in the D.C. area by Intellectual Asset Management, 2012-2016.
  • Listed in LMG Life Sciences as an Intellectual Property: Life Sciences Star, 2012-2016.
  • Recognized as a Washington, D.C. "Super Lawyer" in Intellectual Property Litigation, Super Lawyers published by Thomson Reuters, 2008, 2009.
  • Recipient of the Jefferson Medal, 2001.
  • Department of Commerce Gold Medal recipient, 1983.

Professional Activities

  • American Intellectual Property Law Association
  • Intellectual Property Owners Association
  • Patent and Trademark Office Society

Select Publications