• Patent Litigation
  • Intellectual Property Litigation
  • Corporate Law

Bar Admissions

  • California State Bar Assn.
  • U.S. Dist. Ct. (ND-Cal)
  • U.S. Dist. Ct. (CD-Cal)
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit

Career Highlights

  • Principal and Founder, McKenzie Consulting LLC, 2010–present
  • U.S. Space Shuttle Flight Controller, NASA/Johnson Space Center


  • The Hon. Randall R. Rader (ret.), U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit


  • J.D. cum laude, American University Washington College of Law
  • B.S. Aerospace Engineering, University of Michigan

Helen Dutton, J.D.


Trained as an aerospace engineer, Helen Dutton joined AddyHart as a partner in 2019, bringing deep knowledge of intellectual property law, in particular in the electrical and chemical arts. Prior to becoming an intellectual property attorney, she managed engineering projects for NASA’s Space Shuttle and the International Space Station. She has a wide range of experience at AmLaw 200 firms and in private practice.

Dutton has advised clients on IP matters in a range of industries, providing technical advice in litigation and mediation, providing analysis for claim construction hearings, evaluating cases for argument before trials and appeals, and drafting recommendations and reports in trade secrets litigation.

Dutton was in private practice before joining AddyHart, most recently with McKenzie Consulting LLC, which she founded in 2010 and where she remains as Principal. Before that, she practiced IP law at intellectual property law firms in Washington D.C. and San Francisco, gaining extensive experience drafting opinion letters and analyses of patentability, evaluating IP portfolios and analyzing opposition claims for clients in aerospace, clean-tech., semiconductors, organic LED, software, pharmaceuticals and medical devices, and for venture capital companies. She has drafted trial motions for procedural and substantive issues, from discovery motions to Federal Circuit appellate briefs, Markman briefs, claim construction charts, and invalidity motions.

Prior to law school, Dutton worked at the Johnson Space Center in Houston as a Launch Package Engineer for the International Space Station, and before that as Propulsion Systems Flight Controller and then Lead Payload Officer Flight Controller for the Mission Operations Directorate for NASA’s Space Shuttle. She managed pre-flight experiment integration and procedure development, and real-time payload operations for six missions (including deployment and retrieval of free-flyer satellites, and in pressurized modules and flight deck experiments. She developed detailed knowledge of the Shuttle onboard propulsion systems and served on the Propulsion flight control team on 11shuttle flights, including ascent, on-orbit, and entry phases.

Dutton earned a J.D. cum laude from American University’s Washington College of Law and a B.S. in aerospace engineering from the University of Michigan. She clerked at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit to former Chief Judge Randall R. Rader, and interned for former Judge Gerald B. Lee at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia (Alexandria).

  • Representative Matters & Legal Experience

    Technical Advisor/Mediation

    • Provided technical and legal analysis for claim construction hearings and mediations
    • Prepared case evaluations for moot arguments before appellate and trial courts
    • Drafted recommendations and reports for trade secret litigation

    Client Counseling

    • Drafted opinion letters for various technologies, including pharmaceutical delivery technology and design patents
    • Advised on merits of semiconductor contract interpretation dispute
    • Evaluated a cleantech patent portfolio and trade secret claim for a venture capital investment entity
    • Analyzed stent litigation claims against medical start-up for acquiring company

    Litigation Experience

    • Assisted in development of technical and damages expert reports
    • Researched and drafted trial motions for procedural (e.g., discovery motions) and substantive (e.g., patent appellate briefs, Markman briefs, claim construction charts, invalidity motions) issues
    • Participated in two-week biotechnology-related trial in N.D. California
    • Led discovery efforts, including negotiations with opposing counsel, drafting discovery requests and responses, and conducting and overseeing document review
    • Coordinated and negotiated strategic positions with joint defense counsel

  • Engineering & Project Management Experience

    International Space Station Launch Package Engineer

    • Managed integration program requirements for Space Station modules (Airlock and Node 2).

    Lead Payload Officer Flight Controller, Mission Operations Directorate

    • Managed real-time experiment operations for six Space Shuttle missions.
    • Managed two payload flight controller teams (12 members), including oversight of experiment procedural and flight rule development, team training, certification of flight readiness, and team console performance
    • Integrated diverse Shuttle experiments including free-flyer satellites, pressurized modules, and onboard experiments. Experiment technologies included mechanical, electrical, thermal, communications, propulsion, and pyrotechnics.
    • Negotiated experiment operations with Russian, Japanese, and European counterparts.
    • Led entire Space Shuttle community preflight reviews of mission-specific flight timelines, procedures and flight rules.

    Propulsion Systems Flight Controller, Mission Operations Directorate

    • Developed and utilized detailed knowledge of Shuttle’s onboard propulsion systems on eleven flights, including ascent, on-orbit, and entry phases.
    • Managed preflight and real-time propellant budgets. Received awards for developing a database of actual flight propellant usage that improved accuracy of preflight planning process.

  • Representative Experience

    • Principal & Co-Founder, McKenzie Consulting LLC, Principal/Founder 1/10 – Present
    • Farella Braun + Martel, San Francisco, CA. Associate 6/07 – 9/09
    • Howrey, LLP, San Francisco, CA. Associate 2/06 – 5/07
    • Quinn, Emanuel, San Francisco, CA. Associate 3/05 – 2/06
    • NASA, Johnson Space Center. Houston, TX 2/91 – 9/99

  • Education

    • J.D. cum laude, The American University Washington College of Law, Washington DC, 2003
    • B.S., magna cum laude, Aerospace Engineering, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, 1990
    • Cooperative Education with NASA/Johnson Space Center, 1988–1990

  • Judicial Clerkships

    • The Hon. Randall R. Rader, Chief Judge (Ret.), U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
    • The Hon. Gerald B. Lee, U.S. Dist. Ct. (ED-Va) (internship)

  • Training, Certifications, & Related Experience

    • Law Clerk (full-time), Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner
    • Associate & Technical Advisor, Fish & Neave