Katherine Franco


Katherine Franco concentrates her practice on the transactional aspects of intellectual property.

She is a registered patent attorney who primarily focuses on patent preparation and prosecution, licensing and acquisition of intellectual property rights, opinion work, and client counseling, with a special concentration on software and computing issues. She has significant experience supporting clients in the development and management of strong intellectual property portfolios to fit a variety of business needs. Her emphasis lies in applying her computer science and engineering background to technical disciplines related to software and electronics, such as image processing systems, security software and systems, computer hardware, network systems, artificial intelligence, machine learning, virtual and augmented reality applications, media applications, cloud-based systems, and data center technology, to name a few.

Katherine has served as an adjunct professor at the University of Houston Law Center, where she developed the curriculum for and taught “Advanced Topics in Software Protection,” providing students a holistic view of the protection of software through all aspects of intellectual property.

She authored Protecting Free and Open Source Software: Solutions in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, 12 COLUM. SCI. & TECH. L. REV. 160 (2011), and co-authored "Patent Enforcement at the International Trade Commission: Is it Worth It?" in Renewable Energy World (2011).

During law school, Katherine served as a judicial intern to the Honorable Arthur J. Gajarsa at the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Prior to practicing law, she supported technology licensing and technology transfer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Rice University.


  • 2017, "Woman to Watch," Houston Business Journal's Women Who Mean Business Awards
  • 2017, Finalist, "Diversity Role Model," Houston Business Journal's Diversity in Business Awards



  • Houston Intellectual Property Law Association
Professional Activities

Katherine is a member of the MIT Club of South Texas, in which she previously served as a liaison between the MIT Club of South Texas and the MIT Enterprise Forum. She also serves as an Educational Counselor for MIT. Katherine also actively participates in pro bono work for voter protection and voting rights.



  • Texas
  • U.S. District Court - Southern District of Texas
  • U.S. Patent and Trademark Office


  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology, BS
  • University of Houston Law Center, JD