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Woman to Watch!

 

The Women in IP Committee of the AIPLA is pleased to announce CHRISTY LEA as a Woman to Watch!

The Women to Watch Series was established by the Women in IP Committee as an avenue to recognize women within the AIPLA community for excellence and accomplishments. Through a peer-nomination process, the Women to Watch Series strives to honor women who have created their own paths, who lead through strong examples, and who are achieving successes as a result of their choices and leadership, but who may not be widely known in the AIPLA community.

We are pleased to introduce Christy Lea, in her own words:

Years working in IP: Almost 17 years

Years with current organization: Almost 17 years

Current location: Orange County, California

Current role: Partner at Knobbe Martens

What I do:

I litigate high-stakes patent and trade secrets cases at both the trial and appellate levels. I have represented global medical device and pharmaceutical companies for almost two decades. I frequently serve as lead counsel in inter partes review proceedings before the Patent Office.

I also serve on the Board for the Orange County Public Law Center and the Advisory Board for the School of Engineering at the University of Mississippi.

Previous roles:

I am fortunate to have joined Knobbe immediately following law school.

Years and involvement with AIPLA:

I have been an AIPLA member for almost 12 years. I previously served as the West Coast Chair for the AIPLA Women in IP Law Dinners (currently known as the AIPLA Women in IP Global Networking Event), and I coordinate Knobbe’s efforts to host 1-2 of the Global Networking Events every year across its offices.

Q. What was the best professional decision you ever made?

A. My best decision was moving to California and joining Knobbe. I have been fortunate to have great mentors, like Joe Re, who gave me opportunities early on to get the experience that I would need to ultimately lead trial teams. At Knobbe, I have been able to represent great clients, like Smith & Nephew and Edwards Lifesciences. The trust they have placed in me to stand up and represent them in courthouses across the country has been instrumental to my career.

Q. What was the worst professional decision you ever made?

A. I have been very blessed in my career, but if I could do anything differently it would have been to join AIPLA sooner. I wish I had appreciated the value of legal organization earlier in my career. The personal relationships and opportunities that AIPLA can provide are priceless.

Q. What would you consider your greatest professional achievement so far?

A. My greatest achievement is my most recent – winning a $70M trade secret misappropriation jury verdict with $21M in enhanced damages for CardiAQ Valve Technologies, Inc. The National Law Journal ranked the verdict as #6 for IP and #21 overall for 2016 verdicts. But most importantly, it felt very rewarding to work closely with the two founders of the start-up and try to right the wrong that they experienced at the hands of a trusted vendor. Less than a year before trial, Edwards Lifesciences acquired CardiAQ for $400M, and now Edwards is a valued client having trusted the firm with multiple litigations and IPRs. A close second was being recognized as one of the Top 10 Life Science Litigators in the United States by Managing IP magazine. It’s always rewarding to be recognized for your work by your clients and peers.

Q. In your opinion, what could women be doing better to advance their careers?

A. Stay in the game! Find a professional environment and mentor that values you and will give you the training and experience that you need to succeed in your career.

Q. What is the best advice you have received?

A. The best advice I ever received was as a law student during an interview with another large law firm in Southern California. It was a general practice firm and one of the partners candidly told me that if I knew for certain that I wanted to practice IP law then I should accept Knobbe’s offer; I should only accept his GP firm’s offer, he said, if I was uncertain and wanted to have the option of practicing beyond IP law. In his view, the training and experience in IP law at Knobbe was too good to pass up. His advice confirmed what I was already beginning to realize and what I know today to be true, Knobbe is the best place to learn and practice IP law.

More about Christy:

If they bottled my personality, the label would read:

Tenacious and direct!

Something I said I’d never do, but did anyway:

Honestly, I never thought I’d work after having children. My mom stayed at home when I was little, not starting her career until her 40s, and I thought I would do the same. I’m fortunate that despite that belief, I never once treated my career as a short-term experience and always dedicated myself as if I intended to make partner and have a forty-year career, which I did and am now almost half way to!

One thing people are surprised to find out about me:

My husband stays at home with our three children and has for over 10 years. It works out great with my busy litigation schedule, allowing me to travel or attend evening events on short notice.

The Women in IP Committee of the AIPLA is pleased to announce AUDREY NICKEL as a Woman to Watch!

The Women to Watch Series was established by the Women in IP Committee as an avenue to recognize women within the AIPLA community for excellence and accomplishments. Through a peer-nomination process, the Women to Watch Series strives to honor women who have created their own paths, who lead through strong examples, and who are achieving successes as a result of their choices and leadership, but who may not be widely known in the AIPLA community.

We are pleased to introduce Audrey Nickel, in her own words:

Years working in IP: Seven

Years with current organization: One

Current location: Cleveland, Ohio

Current role: Patent Agent / European and German Patent and Trademark Attorney

What I do: My practice mainly includes preparing and prosecuting patent applications. I also have experience in post-grant and litigation proceedings before the Opposition Divisions and Appeal Boards of the European Patent Office and before the German Federal Patent Court.

Previous roles: Before joining Pearne & Gordon, I worked for over five years at several prestigious IP law firms in Munich, Germany. Prior to entering the field of law, I worked as a firmware engineer for a Cleveland-based firm specializing in the development of automatic RF meter readers. Following this position, I gained additional experience as a software engineer at a German firm specializing in the development of high-end construction statics software based on finite elements.

Years and involvement with AIPLA: I joined AIPLA in 2016, and now serve as a voting member of the International and Foreign Law, IP Practice in Europe, and Women in IP Law committees

Q. What was the best professional decision you ever made?

A. My best professional decision was to go ahead and have kids before I was fully qualified. This gave me time (during parental leave, which is 1 year per child in Germany) to focus on other professional achievements that I wouldn’t have been able to do if I hadn’t had kids. After my first child was born, I spent a few months doing some low-key preparation to pass the U.S. patent bar, which helped me to get my current job. And while I was pregnant with my second child, I took time off from clerking to write a legal handbook, “US Patent Law for European Patent Professionals”, which became a bestseller. In summary, the demands of having children enabled me to choose different tasks within the field where I could manage my time more flexibly than at a law firm. This brought me a few important professional distinctions that I wouldn’t have gotten if I had just clerked full-time, straight through.

Q. What was the worst professional decision you ever made?

A. Sometimes I wish I had discovered patent law earlier — I didn’t discover it until three years after I had completed my Master’s degree. A friend of mine whose uncle was a patent attorney told me that he thought patent law would be perfect for me and I should really give it a try. At first, I didn’t even want to believe him. But it turns out, he was right!

Q. What would you consider your greatest professional achievement so far?

A. I am proud to be one of few people who is qualified to represent before three different patent offices: namely, the USPTO, the European Patent Office (EPO) and the German Patent and Trademark Office (GPTO). Practicing at this intersection of three jurisdictions is very interesting, and my clients value my combined expertise, as it saves them the time and expense of consulting multiple attorneys.

Q. In your opinion, what could women be doing better to advance their careers?

A. I think women in career-track positions are already doing a lot and working very hard to achieve success. And the world has so much to gain from having women being represented proportionally in leadership positions — not just in government, but also in business and in law. But it can only happen if all of the people in our society — and not just career-track women — realize that and work to make it possible. Therefore, I would actually like to see more involvement from people other than career-track women toward reducing unequal opportunity in the workplace. It’s a fact that in order for women to have successful careers, we need the help of both men in career positions and men and women who are off the career track. In summary, my view is that career-track women don’t “own” this problem. Society, as a whole, does.

Q. What is the best advice you have received?

A. Two pieces of advice (in German): “Reden, Reden, Reden” — communication is key to solving problems! And “Liebe. Wichtigste.” The most important thing is love.

More about Audrey:

If they bottled my personality, the label would read: You Ain’t Never Had a Friend Like Me

Something I said I’d never do, but did anyway: Move back to Cleveland, Ohio!

One thing people are surprised to find out about me: I’m related to a globally renowned Hearthstone player, Zalae (he’s my little brother).

The Women in IP Committee of the AIPLA is pleased to announce THERESA STADHEIM as a Woman to Watch!

stadheimtheresaslw-070_57cropThe Women to Watch Series was established by the Women in IP Committee as an avenue to recognize women within the AIPLA community for excellence and accomplishments. Through a peer-nomination process, the Women to Watch Series strives to honor women who have created their own paths, who lead through strong examples, and who are achieving successes as a result of their choices and leadership, but who may not be widely known in the AIPLA community.

 We are pleased to introduce Theresa Stadheim, in her own words:

Years working in IP:

6 years

Years with current organization:

4 years

Current location:

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Current role:

Associate at Schwegman, Lundberg & Woessner (SLW)

What I do:

I prepare and prosecute patents in the electrical, computer, and mechanical arts, with a focus on telecommunication patents and more specifically on standards-essential patents.  I speak on various patent law topics through AIPLA and am Co-Editor in Chief of a book to be published through AIPLA regarding standards and standards-essential patents.  I am also involved in the Minnesota Intellectual Property Law Association and I chair the women’s committee of that organization. 

Previous roles:

Before law school, I was an electrical engineer at leading companies in the automotive industry and the printer industry, including John Deere, Datacard, HP ColorSpan and Case New Holland.

Years and involvement with AIPLA:

I have been involved with AIPLA since 2012. I went to the Annual Meeting that year and became active on the Program Planning Committee.  From there I got involved in drafting speaker papers for several of the AIPLA speakers.  Then, Iris Mok got me involved with the IP Practice in Europe Committee, through which I was able to speak on various topics both in Europe and at the 2015 Spring Meeting.  Also, through the Program Planning Committee and through Brad Forrest, I met Michael Drapkin and became involved in my book project involving Standards and Standards-Essential Patents. 

Q.  What was the best professional decision you ever made?

Taking a risk to leave engineering to go to law school.  Engineering was a secure, well-paid field to be in, but I knew I’d like patent law even better.  

Q.  What was the worst professional decision you ever made?

Taking the first engineering job I could find after graduating, rather than holding out for what I really wanted.  Luckily, I was able to meet and get help from people who could get me my dream engineering job, but it would have been easy to get bogged down or become complacent rather than seeking what I really wanted. 

Q.  What would you consider your greatest professional achievement so far?

Being involved on my book project.  A lot of people never get a chance to be involved on such a high-visibility project, but through personal achievement and through connections, I am able to realize that dream. 

Q.  In your opinion, what could women be doing better to advance their careers?

Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want.  The first time you try it, you might feel like you’re being too aggressive but it is important to remember that others can’t read your mind.  Sometimes speaking up is the only way to let others know what is important to you.  I recall having a talk with one boss about something I was interested in doing, and he said he had no idea that I was interested in such a project.  I got put on that project right away!

Q.  What is the best advice you have received?

Never be ashamed to ask for help.  People will remember the good things you accomplished, and you will avoid getting behind on things by delegating tasks that others can perform just as well. 

More about Theresa:

If they bottled my personality, the label would read:

Warning: Contagious Energy and Enthusiasm Enclosed!

Something I said I’d never do, but did anyway:

Managing the work of others.  This is something I never did as an engineer and something I thought I wouldn’t like, but I’ve recently started doing this at my firm.  I’ve learned a lot and been through trials and tribulations (probably with more to come), but it has been personally and professionally rewarding!

One thing people are surprised to find out about me:

I am a ham radio operator (call sign NS9C).  I used to be involved in the local ham radio club as a volunteer examiner, general technical consultant, and FEMA organizer, though I haven’t had time since becoming an attorney.  I’ve been a ham since high school and it is what got me interested in electrical engineering as a profession.   

The Women in IP Committee of the AIPLA is pleased to announce LISA FERRI as a Woman to Watch!

The Women to Watch Series was established by the Women in IP Committee as an avenue to recognize women within the AIPLA community for excellence and accomplishments. Through a peer-nomination process, the Women to Watch Series strives to honor women who have created their own paths, who lead through strong examples, and who are achieving successes as a result of their choices and leadership, but who may not be widely known in the AIPLA community.

We are pleased to introduce Lisa Ferri, in her own words:

Years working in IP:

25

Years with current organization:

7 1/2

 Current location:

 Mayer Brown LLP

1221 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY

Current role:

 Partner and Head of the NY Intellectual Property Group of Mayer Brown LLP; Co-Chair of the Mayer Brown Women’s Leadership Committee

 What I do: 

I am a litigator and trial attorney representing global pharmaceutical companies in high stakes patent litigation before various courts throughout the country.  I help these companies protect new technologies and life-saving products for the treatment of HIV/AIDS, cancer and autoimmune diseases, to name just a few.  I also have administrative roles within my law firm, heading up the New York IP group, which has experienced explosive growth in the past several years, and serving as co-chair of both the New York office’s Women’s Forum and the global Women’s Leadership Committee.  I am also an adjunct Professor at Fordham University School of Law, where I teach Patent Litigation.

 Previous roles:

 I have been practicing law for over twenty-five years.  Prior to entering private practice I clerked for Chief Judge Edward Re of the U.S. Court of International Trade.

 Years and involvement with AIPLA:

 I have been a member of AIPLA (on and off) throughout my career.  I was very proud to have one of my partners, Sharon Israel, serve as the President recently.  Our firm has sponsored a number of AIPLA events and we were able to boost our Mayer Brown enrollment.

What was the best professional decision you ever made?

 I began my career as an associate in the litigation group of a large New York City law firm working on various corporate and securities related litigations. When a patent litigation came into the office involving the early HIV/AIDs drug AZT in one of the first patent challenges brought under the Hatch-Waxman statutes, I jumped at the chance to work on it.  I quickly followed that up with another patent case involving nicotine patches.  I enjoyed the challenge presented by the necessity to distill, for a non-technical judge or jury, the complexity of the science and substantive patent law so much so that I left the firm and joined a small IP boutique in order to specialize in this field.

I’m now working on cutting-edge pharma and biotech patent litigation and have been on the front lines of defining the law in the area of biotechnology patent law by helping to protect new antibody therapies. Biologic therapies are the new frontier in the life sciences field, with many of the largest pharmaceutical companies expanding into this key market.

I’m very happy that I explored a different path, as it has turned out to be a very rewarding career.

What was the worst professional decision you ever made?

Professionally speaking, I have very few regrets—I am very fortunate to have a wonderful career.  One thing that I might do differently, however, is to begin building my practice earlier in my career.  As a young lawyer, I believed that it was important to build my experience and competency first, and then the business would follow.  I now know that you need to start developing your network of potential business contacts from the very beginning of your career as it takes years to build a relationship that may grow into business.

 What would you consider your greatest professional achievement so far?

 As a partner: building a successful and wide-ranging life sciences practice, representing some of the worlds’ largest innovators in the bio-pharmaceutical field.  As a Practice Leader:  cultivating a diverse and collaborative IP office, with equal numbers of men and women associates and partners.

 In your opinion, what could women be doing better to advance their careers?

I think that women should begin building their “brand” and network early in their careers.  Frankly, women should begin while they are in law school to maintain friendships and relationships and build from there throughout their careers.  Your classmates, colleagues and contacts may one day become clients, so it is never too early to start building relationships that may grow into a future business opportunities.

What is the best advice you have received?

 Create your own path to success—you don’t need to follow the same route as others in your field. This is particularly important for women litigators, as there are many styles and ways to be effective. It’s more important to be true to yourself.

 More about Lisa:

If they bottled my personality, the label would read:

 Zen-like surface masks an ambitious, indefatigable advocate at core.

 Something I said I’d never do, but did anyway:

 Teared up for days when my first child left for college.

 One thing people are surprised to find out about me:

I spent a college semester in Jordan studying Arabic.

 

The Women in IP Committee of the AIPLA is pleased to announce SANGEETA SHAH as a Woman to Watch!

The Women to Watch Series was established by the Women in IP Committee as an avenue to recognize women within the AIPLA community for excellence and accomplishments. Through a peer-nomination process, the Women to Watch Series strives to honor women who have created their own paths, who lead through strong examples, and who are achieving successes as a result of their choices and leadership, but who may not be widely known in the AIPLA community.

We are pleased to introduce Sangeeta Shah, in her own words:

Years working in IP: 23 Years

Years with current organization: 23 years

Current location: Southfield, MI

Current role: Shareholder, Co-Chair Post-Grant Proceedings, Chief Diversify Officer

What I do: I wear many hats at Brooks Kushman. As the Co-Chair of the firm’s Post-Grant Proceedings Group I work with clients on devising and implementing business-centric, litigation strategies that employ post-grant proceedings.  As the Chief Diversity officer for Brooks Kushman, my efforts are focused building and nurturing a firm culture that is focused on inclusion. I also manage patent portfolios for clients in the food and beverage, automotive and life science industries.

Previous roles: Throughout my career at Brooks Kushman, I have managed to maintain a diverse practice. For the first several years of my career, I learned the art of patent prosecution.  Then, after working on my first litigation in 1995, I was hooked and worked almost exclusively on litigation matters for over a decade.  As my daughter grew older, I chose to reduce my litigation practice and shifted my focus to client counseling, patent prosecution and opinion work.  

Years and involvement with AIPLA: On and off for 10 years

Q.  What was the best professional decision you ever made?

A.  Delving into unchartered territory and developing expertise at the onset of the AIA post-grant proceeding roll-out.  I have enjoyed putting to use my litigation, prosecution and client counseling skills in this new practice area with its ever-changing landscape.

Q.  What was the worst professional decision you ever made?

A.  To handle a multi-pronged IP strategy for a start-up that I later learned had a pattern of running up legal bills and avoiding payment

Q.  What would you consider your greatest professional achievement so far?

A.  Staying true to myself and my varied interests which has led me to pursue all facets of IP, take part in firm management and adopt a range of diversity and inclusion initiatives that have improved our firm culture, cohesiveness and ability to hire and retain diverse professionals.

Q.  In your opinion, what could women be doing better to advance their careers?

A.  Women (and men) should seek out mentors all through their careers to help them grow their professional and practice-related skills.  Such mentors serve as champions for new opportunities and advancement and help us become an effective advocate for our clients and ourselves.  And, don’t wait for opportunities to come to you, pave the path that you seek.

Q.  What is the best advice you have received?

A. In your life, if you do not do what you cannot do, it is not a problem. But if you do not do what you can do, your life is a tragedy.

More about Sangeeta:

If they bottled my personality, the label would read:  Passionate, caring and intelligent with a touch of daring

Something I said I’d never do, but did anyway:  Taking on more roles and responsibilities, I can’t seem to resist. . . 

One thing people are surprised to find out about me:  My passion for charitable work which led me to start a non-profit, Retooling Detroit, to help inner city children obtain the basic reading and math skills needed to reach their potential.

Click here to link to Sangeeta’s profile.

 

Stay tuned for our next Woman to Watch!

Regards,

The Women in IP Committee

The Women in IP Committee of the AIPLA is pleased to announce CYNTHIA GILBERT as a Woman to Watch!

The Women to Watch Series was established by the Women in IP Committee as an avenue to recognize women within the AIPLA community for excellence and accomplishments. Through a peer-nomination process, the Women to Watch Series strives to honor women who have created their own paths, who lead through strong examples, and who are achieving successes as a result of their choices and leadership, but who may not be widely known in the AIPLA community. 

 

We are pleased to introduce Cynthia Gilbert, in her own words:

 

Years working in IP: 11

 Years with current organization: 5.5

 Current location: Cambridge, MA

 Current role: Owner, Patent attorney at Hyperion Law

 What I do: Educate clients on how patents can advance their business objectives, develop and execute patent strategies, and empower clients to better understand and leverage their patent portfolios.

Previous roles: Associate at Choate Hall & Stewart LLP; Associate at Lahive & Cockfield, LLP; Member of Technical Staff, Verizon Labs (formerly GTE Labs).

Years and involvement with AIPLA: 11

 

Q.  What was the best professional decision you ever made?

A.  Deciding to start my own law firm.  It is worth all of the risk and uncertainty and effort I put into the business to have the privilege of serving clients I genuinely believe in.

 

Q.  What was the worst professional decision you ever made?

A.  Getting lost in other people’s expectations for what my career was “supposed” to look like and losing perspective on what was really important to me.  Once I was able to identify the type of work that mattered to me and the kind of environments that would support those priorities, I became a stronger lawyer (and a happier person!).

 

Q.  What would you consider your greatest professional achievement so far?

A.  Accomplishing my goal of building a successful legal career, sustaining my career during particularly tough economic times, and creating a thriving law firm.

 

Q.  In your opinion, what could women be doing better to advance their careers?

A.  I think many of us struggle with “good girl” syndrome – with finding (and listening to) our own voices, and putting other people’s expectations in perspective.  We are not often encouraged to do the intense, soul searching work of honestly identifying what we really want to accomplish in life, and to make the necessary changes so that we are acting in a way that furthers those goals and to do that work over and over again over the course of our lifetimes, so that we stay in sync with our changing circumstances.  But the mentors and role models I know (men and women) who invest in this effort benefit not just by advancing their careers but by becoming better professionals and people.

 

Q.  What is the best advice you have received?

A.  Remember that no one else is going to ask you if you’re happy, if you’re accomplishing your goals, if you’re finding fulfillment in your job.  Make an appointment twice a year with yourself and ask yourself these important questions.

 

More about Cynthia:

 

If they bottled my personality, the label would read: Intelligence, ambition, curiosity, passion.

 

Something I said I’d never do, but did anyway:  Become an entrepreneur.  I always thought running a business was something my clients did – until I started my own law firm and realized I loved being an entrepreneur myself.

 

One thing people are surprised to find out about me:  How passionate I am about both business (especially organizational design / culture) and science (especially astrophysics and neuroscience).

 

Stay tuned for our next Woman to Watch!

Regards,

The Women in IP Committee

Hope to see you at the Women in IP Law B

Hope to see you at the Women in IP Law Breakfast 6:45-8:45am Fri. Oct 23: “Perspectives of Women on the Judiciary” #WomeninIP