People: Keeping Pace With The IP Crowd’s Latest Moves

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From government appointments and committee creations to key additions in the non-profit sector and industry advocacy’s revolving door, we’ve kept up with all of the latest hires, resignations, retirements and promotions over the past few months so you don’t miss a beat. Check out who you need to know.

National/Regional Governments

In Brazil, Pedro Paranaguá was appointed as an advisor to the ruling Labour Party in the House of Representatives for issues related to digital media, internet, copyright, cybercrime, and telecommunications.

After five years of service as Nigeria’s registrar of trademarks, patents and designs, Hajia Ahmadu Suka has retired. Chinyere Agbai, a legal practitioner and senior assistant registrar, has been named acting registrar.

In Singapore, parliament is setting up an IP Steering Committee to strengthen the country’s position as an “Asian IP hub” by building its “IP capabilities and infrastructure.” The committee, which will be comprised of 15 members and chaired by Teo Ming Kian, chair of MediaCorp Pte Ltd, aims to submit recommendations to the government by early 2013.

To facilitate and strengthen business with India, the UK has appointed its second IP attaché to the country. Anshika Jha will be based in New Delhi to support British businesses operating in India.

Anne-Sophie de Brancion has joined the European Patent Office’s Brussels office as an EU Policy Adviser, responsible for representing the EPO’s views and interests to the EU institutions and other Brussels stakeholders. She was previously an account director at EU public affairs consultancy g+ europe, where she specialised in IP and antitrust issues, advising clients mainly in the technology and media sectors.

Todd Park, formerly with the US Department of Health and Human Services, has been named US chief technology officer. He replaced Aneesh Chopra, the first to have the job, which was created by the Obama administration.

The US Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues has named a new executive director: Lisa Lee. Prior to this post, Lee worked with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) since 1998. She replaced Valerie Bonham who returned to the National Institutes of Health’s Office of the General Counsel.

The US Senate appointed Jon Leibowitz as chairman of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), for a second term, and Maureen Ohlhausen as commissioner.

The White House appointed Steve Ricchetti as counsellor to Vice President Joe Biden. With a background working as a lobbyist for hospitals, pharmaceutical, medical device, and insurance companies, Ricchetti’s appointment caused some concern among non-governmental organisations, including Knowledge Ecology International (KEI), which called on the counsellor to recuse himself from any matters of interest to his former clients.

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has announced the make-up of the Open Internet Advisory Committee (OIAC) whose members hail from a wide range of backgrounds including content providers, venture capital firms, academia, and internet governance organisations. The OIAC aims to evaluate the effects of the FCC’s open internet rules and provide recommendations.

The US National Science and Technology Council has established a subcommittee on Global Internet Governance (GIG). Its purpose is to support “US efforts in various international fora that bolster the multi-stakeholder approach to internet governance, support the continuity of existing internet institutions, and confront proposals detrimental to the multi-stakeholder model.”

Željko Topić of Croatia was appointed vice president of the European Patent Office to replace Brian McGinley of Ireland, who retired at the end of the five-year term. Prior to this appointment, Topić represented his country on the EPO Administrative Council since 2004.

Additionally, the EPO presented the 2012 European Inventor Awards to a select group of leading inventors in mid-June. The five categories and winners included:

• Lifetime Achievement: German professor Josef Bille took home the award for filing almost 100 patents in the field of ophthalmology, advancing progress in laser eye corrections
• Industry: The Danish team, Jan Tøpholm, Søren Westermann and Svend Vitting Andersen of Widex, was honoured for developing a computer-aided method to manufacture customised hearing-aid devices
• Research: French scientists Gilles Gosselin, Jean-Louis Imbach and Marti L. Bryant received an award for developing an effective drug for the treatment of hepatitis B
• Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs): German inventors Manfred Stefener, Oliver Freitag and Jens Müller were recognised for the development of the first fuel cell for mobile phones
• Non European Countries: John O’ Sullivan, Graham Daniels, Terence Percival, Diethelm Ostry and John Deane returned to their native Australia triumphant for their work establishing today’s wireless networking technology (Wi-Fi)

The US Patent and Trademark office also honoured a group of inventors with its annual National Inventors Hall of Fame. The 2012 inductees included living inventors and three who were recognised posthumously:

Dennis Gabor (1900-1979): best know for his research in electron optics, leading to the invention of holography
Mária Telkes (1900-1995): a pioneer in solar energy
Steve Jobs (1955-2011): the well-known Apple computer co-founder
Akira Endo: pioneered research into a new class of molecules that are now a successful class of drugs targeting the lowering of cholesterol
Barbara Liskov: innovator in the design of safe, secure and easy-to-use computer programming languages
C. Kumar N. Patel: inventor of a relatively inexpensive carbon dioxide laser which has become commonly used in the medical, industrial, and military arenas
Lubomyr Romankiw and David Thompson: inventors of the first practical magnetic thin film storage heads, which increased the density of data that could be stored on magnetic disks
Gary Starkweather: inventor of the first laser printer that could print any images that could be created on a computer

International Organisations

In the United Nations (UN) policymaking arena, some key appointments have also taken place. At the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Michele Woods has been appointed as director of the Copyright Law Division for the Culture and Creative Industries Sector for the next two years. The copyright lawyer, previously serving the US Copyright Office and before that the copyright industry, participated in the diplomatic conference in Beijing where member states worked to complete a treaty to protect the IP rights of audiovisual performers.

The World Trade Organization (WTO) has established a 12-member panel on “Defining the Future of Trade” to look at current and future world trade drivers and provide analysis on their potential impact open global trade for member states early next year.

Ala Alwan has been appointed to lead the World Health Organization’s Eastern Mediterranean Region (WHO/EMRO) for the next five years. Previously, the Iraqi native was assistant director-general for Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health at the WHO.

Ertharin Cousin was appointed as executive director of the UN World Food Programme (WFP). With over 25 years of national and international experience in government, the non-profit and private sector, the US national took the helm of the Rome-based agency after representing the US to the WFP and the FAP in the same city.

Eight new commissioners, known for their leadership in the technology industry and for championing development, have been appointed to help drive the UN Broadband Commission for Digital Development forward. The Commission was launched last year by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) to expand broadband access around the world.


Changes have also been seen in the non-profit world. The Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi), the Geneva-based drug research and development organisation, has made some key leadership decisions with the additions of Els Torreele and Derrick Wong to the Board of Directors and Nilanthi Renuka de Silva and François Chappuis to the Scientific Advisory Board. In addition, the organisation welcomed Graeme Bilbe as the new R&D director.

Health Action International (HAI), the Amsterdam-based non-profit organisation that promotes access to medicines, brought on board Tessel Mellema, who has a background in IP law, as a project officer in access to medicines, trade and innovation in the Europe office.

PATH, a Seattle-based non-profit health organisation that focuses on global health solutions, has named Steve Davis president and CEO. Previously, he was global director of social innovation with McKinsey & Company.

Following the resignation of FX Nuttall, the International Standard Name Identifier International Agency (ISNI-IA) has elected Olav Stokkmo as chair. In a press statement, the new chair said, “ISNI must now consolidate its position and our first priority will be to appoint Registration Agencies (RAGs) to issue new ISNIs to build on the million, with which the ISNI database was launched.”

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a US-based non-profit organisation protecting civil liberties in a digital world, has welcomed Carolina Rossini as its international intellectual property director. The Brazilian attorney is a member of the IP Global Agenda Council for the World Economic Forum and was previously a fellow at the Berkman Center at Harvard University coordinating the Industrial Cooperation Project.

The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC), based in Washington, DC and The Hague, has appointed Alma Swan as the director of European advocacy and Lars Bjørnshauge as the director of European library relations.

eLife, the new open access life and biodmedical scientific journal, has announced its Board of Reviewing Editors (BRE), which is comprised of 175 scientists from a wide range of scientific backgrounds. The journal is also now accepting submissions for papers on a range of topics cutting across life science and biomedicine disciplines. For an initial period, there are no publishing costs. Backed by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Max Planck Society, and the Wellcome Trust, eLife is set for launch later this year.

The non-profit trade association representing Napa Valley wineries, Napa Valley Vintners, has joined the Organization for an International Geographic Indications Network (oriGIn), a Geneva-based international platform for GIs producers.

Public Knowledge (PK), a Washington, DC non-profit organisation promoting internet openness and access to knowledge, announced structural changes as the organisation reorganises to allow for growth. Changes include promotions of the following staff members:

Harold Feld moved from legal director to senior vice president
Sherwin Siy moved from deputy legal director to vice president for legal affairs
Ernesto Falcon moved from government affairs director to vp of government relations
Katy Tasker moved from outreach and development associate to external affairs manager
Whitney Tompkins Myers moved from events manager to senior manager of events
Tim Ingerick moved from administrative assistant to manager of administration and finance
Art Brodsky moved from communications director to vice president for communications
Michael Weinberg, formerly a senior staff attorney, became vice president of a new Public Knowledge project, the Institute for Emerging Innovation, an initiative which will be launched later this year

Additionally, PK announced that former Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioner Michael Copps has joined the organisation’s board of directors. Board officers were also selected and include Kathleen Wallman as chair, Kevin Werbach as vice chairman, Leah Belsky as secretary.

Meanwhile, Gigi Sohn, PK president and CEO, has become member of the advisory board of the Center for Copyright Information (CCI) established by content creators and internet service providers to implement a new Copyright Alert System. In a media statement, Sohn said, “It was not an easy decision for me to join this advisory board. I did so because I saw the need to be an advocate for the rights of internet users and to provide transparency.”

The New America Foundation has named James Vasile, an expert on free and open source software, director of its Open Internet Tools Project, a Washington, DC-based initiative supporting open source projects for an open internet.

The Media Access Project (MAP), a non-profit advocacy group that promoted free speech on the internet and in the media, was forced to suspend its activities in May due to inadequate funding.


In the industry advocacy arena, one move in particular turned a lot of heads. When the Internet Society (ISOC) hired former chief technology officer of the Motion Picture Association of America, Inc. (MPAA) Paul Brigner as North American regional director, open internet defenders cried foul. At the MPAA, the lawyer defended US legislation that ISOC opposes, such as the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). Brigner answered critics and said that his position has evolved.

Meanwhile at the MPAA, Marc Miller was named senior vice president, content protection, internet and charged with overseeing the association’s content protection enforcement strategies. Additionally, the association added Alex Swartsel, Brian Cohen, and Lauren Pastarnack to the government affairs team while Kate Bedingfield is the latest addition to the communications team.

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) announced two key promotions for the organisation with Michele Ballantyne, named executive vice president of public policy & industry relations, and Jonathan Lamy, as executive vice president of communications within the major music trade group.

After 15 years at the helm of the Coalition of Service Industries (CSI), a business organisation dedicated to the promotion of the US service sector, Bob Vastine announced that he will retire on 19 September 2012; the same day the organisation will hold its annual Global Services Summit.

After working as a media spokesperson for the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), the industry trade group serving consumer electronics manufacturers and dealers, since 2004, Megan Pollack has moved to DKC, a New York-based public relations and communications agency, as vice president of policy communications.

In terms of industry personnel changes, eyes are on Johnson & Johnson. As the pharmaceutical giant struggles with quality control issues and sales losses it says are due in part to generic competition, the US company brought on Alex Gorsky as its new chief executive, replacing William Weldon.

Law Offices

A number of new hires have occurred in IP law offices across the US. Leason Ellis LLP, a patent, trademark and copyright law firm located in White Plains, New York, announced the addition of senior patent attorney Joel Felber, who has experience in computer software engineering and programming. Leason Ellis also announced a new strategy to increase the firm’s presence in China and is one of the first US IP firms to use Sina Weibo, the popular Chinese website described as a cross between Twitter and Facebook and has over 250 million users.

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP announced that trial lawyer Yury Kapgan, who specialises in IP and has a wide range of experience in litigation and licensing disputes, joined the firm as partner in the Los Angeles office. In the New York office, Dominic Cerrito, Eric Stops and Evangeline Shih, all formerly IP lawyers at Jones Day, joined the firm, concentrating on patent litigation in the pharmaceutical industry and FDA law navigation.

The largest IP firm in New England, Wolf, Greenfield & Sacks, PC, expanded its reach with the addition of three litigators: Gregory Corbett, previously of Kirkland Ellis, joined as a shareholder; D. Alexander Ewing and Nathan Speed, previously of Wilmer Hale, joined as associates.

Mike Goldfinger, formerly of Reed MIDEM, joined entertainment law firm Lazarus & Harris LLP, which is based in New York.

Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman LLP announced this year the addition of Michael Eisenberg, formerly of Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP, as partner in the IP litigation group’s New York office.

Winston & Strawn LLP welcomed Michael Scheer as partner in the firm’s New York and Los Angeles offices. Previously with Dickstein Shapiro LLP, Scheer has over 20 years of IP litigation experience.

IP litigator Ben Quarmby, formerly of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP, has joined MoloLamken LLP as a partner. Additionally, veteran trial lawyer Justin Shur, from the US Department of Justice, has joined the firm as a partner.

Six IP attorneys, Devan Padmanabhan, Sri Sankaran, Paul Robbennolt, Michelle Dawson, Brett Klein and Nathan Witzany, left the international law firm Dorsey & Whitney LLP and joined the IP department at Winthrop & Weinstine based in Minneapolis.

IP lawyers Mark Peroff and Darren Saunders left the firm Hiscock & Barclay, where they were partners, to join Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP, based in New York, where they will also be partners. Both lawyers have extensive experience in trademark, copyright and patent litigation.

Previously a partner at Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP, Joseph Lavelle has joined DLA Piper, an IP and technology practice and patent litigation group, in Washington, DC as partner.

Rachel Marusak Hermann may be reached at

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