Comings And Goings In The World Of IP

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By Rachel Marusak Hermann for Intellectual Property Watch

Resignations, retirements, appointments, and promotions are stirring up the status quo in the intellectual property world, opening the door of possibility for change in strategy and decision-making across industries and sectors.

Ahlem Sara Charikhi is the new official at the mission of Algeria to the United Nations with responsibility for intellectual property issues. She follows the World Intellectual Property Organization, among others.

Daphne Mlotshwa is a new minister counsellor at the mission of Botswana to the United Nations in Geneva, with responsibility for public health matters.

The Medicines Patent Pool in Geneva announced two new additions to its Governance Board: Malebona Precious Matsoso and Sigrun Møgedal. Before serving as the director general of the National Department of Health of South Africa, Matsoso was director of the Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property programme at the World Health Organization (WHO). Møgedal, a medical doctor, is currently a special adviser to the executive director of UNAIDS and serves as a member of the Independent Monitoring Board for Polio Eradication.

UNITAID, which helped create the Medicines Patent Pool, has a new executive director: Denis Broun. He was previously regional director of UNAIDS for Europe and Central Asia, after having been director of partnerships for UNAIDS in Geneva and UNAIDS country coordinator in India. He also was chief of health at UNICEF in New York and director of resource mobilisation at the World Health Organization. Broun holds a medical degree from Paris University with a specialisation in tropical medicine and epidemiology, and a degree from the Paris Institute of Political Sciences.

Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) President and CEO Rod Beckstrom has announced that he will leave the internet domain name oversight organisation at the end of his term on 1 July 2012. Since taking on the role on 1 July 2009, Beckstrom is credited with helping to expand ICANN’s scope in oversight and with the introduction of internationalised domain names.

Separately, the International Intellectual Property Institute (IIPI), a Washington, DC group promoting intellectual property rights, especially in developing countries, has named Jorge H. Amigo Castaneda vice chairman. Prior to this appointment, the founder and long-time head of Mexico’s patent office served as Mexico’s intellectual property spokesperson and negotiator at many international bodies including the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA), Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), and Organisation for Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Starting in November, Henry Hoberman will become the new senior executive vice president and global general counsel at the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA). In this position, Hoberman will oversee all legal, content enforcement and rights management programmes within the association.

The Design and Artists Copyright Society (DACS) has announced the appointment of Mark Stephens as the new Chair of the Board of Directors. He will be replacing Andrew Potter who will step down in December 2011. A senior partner of law firm Finers Stephens Innocent, Stephens specialises in media law, IP and human rights and was instrumental in the establishment of DACS in 1984.

The European Generic Medicines Association Board announced the election of Gudbjorg Edda Eggertsdottir as its new President. Eggertsdottir has significant experience in the generic medicines sector in companies such as Actavis, where she is currently president for Iceland, Strategic Projects, and Delta. Ms Eggertsdottir has been part of the EGA Executive Board for two years.

The Washington, DC-based Generic Pharmaceutical Association (GPhA) has tapped Ralph G. Neas as the association’s new chief executive officer. Neas comes from the US National Coalition on Health Care (NCHC), where he served as president and CEO for the past two years. Prior to the NCHC, Neas led People for the American Way and the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR).

Swiss biopharmaceutical company Actelion Ltd, named Jean-Pierre Garnier chairman of the board of directors, succeeding Robert Cawthorn. A long-time pharmaceutical veteran, Garnier was the first chief executive officer of GlaxoSmithKline from 2001 to 2008. The official handover will take place during the company’s 2012 Annual General Meeting.

In terms of international law firms, several have announced growth in their IP activities. Greenberg Traurig LLP is expanding its patent litigation practice with the addition of IP trial lawyer Richard C. Pettus in New York. Pettus, who has become a shareholder in the Intellectual Property & Technology Practice, has experience in a variety of industries and technologies including pharmaceuticals, medical devices, computer hardware and software, and “green” technologies.

Also announcing new hires, Leason Ellis LLP, has brought on two pharmaceutical/biotech patent attorneys, Elizabeth Barnhard, as chair of the pharma/biotech practice group and of counsel, and Susie Cheng, PhD, as partner with an emphasis on the development and protection of worldwide patent portfolios, involving technologies, including biologics.

And Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP opened a new office in Silicon Valley, expanding its New York based intellectual property practice. At the same time, the firm announced the addition of two IP partners, Paul J. Andre and Lisa Kobialka, who both specialise in high technology and life sciences litigation and will be based out of the new California office.

Thomas I. Ross, a partner of the Chicago-based IP law firm Marshall, Gerstein & Borun, received notable recognition as he was selected as a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America (LCA). The LCA is a trial lawyer honorary society composed of less than one-half of one percent of American lawyers.

William New contributed to this report.

William New may be reached at

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