People In IP: Movers And Shakers In The IP World Jostle For Influence

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Just as the world of international intellectual property law and policy is ever-changing, so are the faces within it. There’s a new head of the US Commerce Department who has a bold, IP-friendly agenda coming up, and there’s a hole at the helm of the USPTO. The British Prime Minister named an entertainment industry-friendly IP advisor, while Twitter has formed its own PAC and hired its first lobbyist as the social media platform continues to rise in both use and influence. Law firms in the US are bolstering their IP practices, recognising that it’s these issues that spur action most in Congress.

Below you will find an updated list of the latest people news and IP moves across international organisations, national and regional governments, and the private sector, since the summer. Hold on to your hats, it’s a whirlwind of activity.


International Organisations


Philip Stevens was hired in late summer to a one-year contract in WIPO’s Global Issues Division, which includes issues such as the relationship of intellectual property rights and health, biotechnology and climate change. Stevens previously worked at the International Policy Network, a London think tank, where he was an outspoken proponent of pharmaceutical industry views.

Sergio Balibrea was appointed Director of the Assemblies Affairs Division at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), in charge of coordinating the organisation of the meetings of WIPO Governing Bodies. The Spanish lawyer and former EU official was previously part of the cabinet of WIPO Director Francis Gurry.

United Nations

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon made several appointments:

  • Michael Moller as Director General, United Nations Geneva Office; Moller has worked with the UN for more than 30 years.
  • Arancha Gonzalez of Spain as the Executive Director of the International Trade Centre (ITC), the joint agency of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and World Trade Organization for trade and international business development.
  • Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka of South Africa was sworn in as UN Women Executive Director in New York; she will be responsible for the office promoting women’s rights and their full participation in global affairs.


World Trade Organization (WTO) Director-Elect Roberto Azevedo has four new deputy directors-general: Yi Xiaozhun of China, Karl-Ernst Brauner of Germany, Yonov Frederick Agah of Nigeria and David Shark of the United States.

International Red Cross

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) re-elected Tadateru Konoé as its president for a second four-year term during the 19th session of the General Assembly in Sydney, Australia. The International Movement of the Red Cross and Red Crescent meets every two years to evaluate progress, address pressing humanitarian challenges and establish goals and priorities for the future. The IFRC is actively involved in responding to the typhoon in Philippines where increasing life-saving capacities are being deployed to assist affected communities.

GAVI Alliance

The GAVI Alliance announced the appointment of Natasha Bilimoria as its Director of US Strategy, leading GAVI’s efforts to mobilise US support to fund childhood immunisation in the world’s poorest countries. She was most recently president of Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. She previously worked at Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation as Acting Director of Public Policy, and served in the Clinton Administration and on the Obama-Biden 2008 transition team.



United States


Penny Pritzker, a high-profile Obama supporter who ran Obama’s finance team during his 2008 presidential bid and is a primary reason he got elected first to the US Senate, then to the White House, took over the job as US Commerce Secretary in June. Pritzker’s family owns the Hyatt hotel chain. In mid-November, the new Commerce Secretary outlined her policy agenda, pledged to help the business community with intellectual property issues – vowing to support a free and open internet – among other concerns. Her “Open for Business” agenda focuses on US trade and investment, innovation and data.

Meanwhile, Cameron Kerry, General Counsel for the Commerce Department and brother to Secretary of State John Kerry, resigned from his post in September. Kerry served as acting Commerce Secretary for a month before Pritzker took office. He has been a leader on work across the US government on patent reform and intellectual property issues, privacy and security.

The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is in search of its next chief. USPTO Acting Director Teresa Stanek Rea in September announced her plans to depart, and left in late November, with US Patent Commissioner and veteran USPTO official Margaret A. (Peggy) Focarino taking over duties for the time being.

Rea joined the USPTO in 2011 as Deputy Director after Sharon Barner stepped down from that position. Rea worked closely with then USPTO David Kappos in developing and implementing key elements of the America Invents Act. She was Acting Director since Kappos stepped down in January 2013. Prior to joining the USPTO, Rea was a partner at the law firm of Crowell & Morning. The Obama administration has not yet nominated a new agency head to replace Kappos, but as of November, one name that was bandied about is Michelle Lee, an intellectual property lawyer at Google who recently left to become director of a USPTO satellite office in Silicon Valley. Lee has been a leading advocate of reform to battle “patent troll” lawsuits.

Also at the USPTO, Bernard ‘Bernie’ Knight left his position as General Counsel in August. For the past four years as the agency’s top legal officer, he oversaw adoption of new rules required to implement that America Invents Act. He previously held positions at the US Treasury Department, including Acting General Counsel, and at the US Department of Justice. He was to join the Washington, DC office of the McDermott, Will and Emery law firm.


The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has new leadership. Tom Wheeler was confirmed as FCC Chairman by the Senate in October in the wake of the departure of former FCC chief Julius Genachowski. Mike O’Rielly, a long-time congressional communications policy adviser, is the new Republican commissioner at the FCC. No stranger to the FCC, Wheeler is a venture capitalist and has been a lobbyist as head of the National Cable and Telecommunications Association and the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association; he also sat on the boards of companies such as EarthLink and the Public Broadcasting Service.

Wheeler has also been busy staffing up his new offices. Among those with new positions:

  • Gigi Sohn stepped down as President and CEO of Public Knowledge to take the new job of Special Counsel for External Affairs.
  • Jonathan Sallet left O’Melveny & Myers and its antitrust and competition practices to head up the agency’s Technology Transitions Policy Task Force; he is also in line to be the agency’s top lawyer after Sean Lev steps down.
  • Ruth Milkman, former Chief of the FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau, is the new Chief of Staff.
  • Philip Verveer is the new Senior Counselor to the Chairman. He previously served as US Coordinator for International Communications and Information Policy at the US State Department.
  • Diane Cornell is the new Special Counsel. She previously worked as vice president of government affairs at Inmarsat and vice president, regulatory policy at CTIA, as well as legal advisor to three FCC commissioners.

Victoria Espinel stepped down from her post as the US Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator in August. Espinel was the first to hold the title of IPEC since the position was created. She took over as head of the Business Software Alliance after former BSA CEO Robert Holleyman left the organisation to launch a new company, Cloud 4 Growth. As of mid-November, a new IPEC had not been named; Howard Shelanski, the administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, was filling in until a replacement could be named. IPEC is charged with developing and implementing the Administration’s strategy for enforcement of IP rights.


Terrell McSweeny is likely to be a new Commissioner at the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Confirmed by the Senate Commerce Committee in November, McSweeny’s nomination now moves to the full Senate for confirmation. McSweeny has been the Department of Justice’s Chief Counsel for Competition Policy and Intergovernmental Relations for Vice President Joe Biden when he was in the Senate.

US Congress

Aaron Cooper, the US Senate Judiciary Committee’s chief counsel for intellectual property and antitrust law, left his job to return to private law practice and lobbying with Covington & Burling in Washington. Cooper had been with the committee since 2006, and, in his new role, will help expand the firm’s intellectual property and antitrust expertise, since those issues spur action in Congress. “A lot of really hot topics that you read about in the press every day can’t really gain traction in Congress,” Cooper told Politico. “IP issues really do have that ability to gain traction.” Cooper joins former Arizona Republican Sen. Jon Kyl, and Democratic Rep. Howard Berman of California, to help corporate clients on IP and antitrust issues. Covington & Burling also hired Richard Hertling, former chief counsel and staff director of the House Judiciary Committee and IP policy expert, in April.


James Moore, formerly the Minister of Canadian Heritage, has a new position in Industry Canada, a department that is responsible for everything from competition policy to foreign investment reviews to telecommunications regulation, to copyright to privacy.


Homero Larrea from the Ecuadorian mission has gone home to be Trade and IP Rights Advisor to the Minister of Foreign Trade of Ecuador. Larrea is replaced by Juan Carlos Castrillon in Geneva, covering TRIPS and WIPO.

United Kingdom

British Prime Minister David Cameron appointed Mike Weatherley as his adviser on intellectual property. A longtime advocate of IP rights for movie studios, TV producers and musicians, Weatherly will focus on IP enforcement issues relating to the creative industries. He will report to Cameron and relevant ministers.

While the role is still developing, Weatherley told Intellectual Property Watch that it differs from all other ministerial and civil servant paid roles in that he directly bridges the link between industry and government as a voice.

“It is my job to meet with all relevant parties and report back directly to David Cameron,” Weatherley explained. “I am not constrained by protocol or current government policy. I am not a spokesman for the government and conversations can be free flowing. I am not a Minister responsible for forming policy, but my findings and suggestions will be in front of the Prime Minister for information when he is in Cabinet and other meetings as an additional guide. My fortnightly reports will go to the Prime Minister, DCMS Secretary of State and Minister, BIS Secretary of State and Minister, IP Minister and key staff at all three departments.”


Industry & Lobbying

BIO Ventures for Global Health (BVGH) has appointed Veronica Venczel of Seattle as the organisation’s new Director of Program and Partnership Management. She recently was Senior Program Officer, Global Development at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and worked at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Pan American Health Organization. BVGH has partnered with WIPO on its 30th WIPO Re: Search agreement, which involves leading pharmaceutical companies sharing intellectual property and other resources to advancethe development of new products for neglected diseases.

The International Publishers Association, which fights against censorship and promotes copyright, literacy and freedom to publish, has named Dougal Thomson as Director of Communications and Programmes, a new position for the organisation. The General Assembly of the International Publishers Association (IPA) elected publisher Richard Charkin of the United Kingdom as IPE Vice-President for a one-year term. Charkin will become the organisation President in 2015, replacing Younguk “Y.S.” Chi.

ETNO, which represents Europe’s telecommunication network operators, re-elected the following officers to its Executive Board: Antonio Robalo de Almeida, Portugal Telecom; Carlos Cosina, Telefonica; Philipp Wolfram, Telekom Austria; and Phillip Malloch, TeliaSonera. Luigi Gambardella of Telecom Italia also was re-elected as the Executive Board Chair for 2014. The 2014 General Assembly will be hosted by TeliaSonera.

Syngenta, a global Swiss-based chemicals company that markets seeds and pesticides, and is involved in biotechnology and genomic research, has appointed two people to its Executive Committee: Patricia Malarkey as Head Research and Development officer; and Jonathan Seabrook, Head Corporate Affairs.

The European Generic Medicines Association has named Adrian van den Hoven as its new Director General. Van den Hoven comes to this position as Deputy-Director General of BUSINESSEUROPE, where he was responsible for the International Relations department, covering trade negotiations and bilateral relations, and the Industry department, covering industrial, energy, environmental and research policy. He previously worked as an international relations researcher and an adjunct professor in Italy (EUI), France (Nice) and Canada (Windsor).

Jim O’Neill stepped down as a board member from the Brussels-based think tank, Bruegel to join the organisation’s research team as a non-resident Research Fellow. Jim is planning to contribute research in the areas of international trade and its consequences for Europe, global economic and policy governance; and measuring and implementing more sustainable economic growth.

At Public Knowledge, long-time PK staffers Vice President Michael Weinberg and Chief Operating Officer Brooke Hunter, will replace Gigi Sohn as Acting Co-Presidents of the organisation. Sohn, who co-founded PK, had been with the organisation for 12 years before she took a new job with the FCC in November.

A PAC and an IPO. Twitter has formed its own political action committee – Twitter#PAC – and registered its first federal lobbyist in August. William Carty (@WRDCarty), Twitter’s policy manager and lobbyist, was formerly an aide for Republicans on the House and Senate commerce committees, and will focus on policy issues relating to copyright and patent law reform, free speech on the internet, government surveillance and communications.

AOL promoted Leigh Freund, who has been an attorney with the internet company for almost a decade, to be the new head of its global lobbying operations. Freund also worked for Rep. Fred Upton, R-Michigan. The Hill reported that Freund expects to focus on patent issues, privacy regulations and Internet access.

Russell E. Levine, partner with the law firm of Kirkland & Ellis LLP, was elected president of the Licensing Executives Society (USA & Canada).

Mark Malbon in October was named CFO and Executive Vice President of the Motion Picture Licensing Corporation, an independent copyright licensing company. Malbon is a certified public accountant and previously worked for Deloitte & Touche, and the Roland Corporation.

The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has some new officers:

  • Neil Fried came aboard as a Senior Vice President, Government and Regulatory Affairs. Fried previously worked as Chief Counsel for Communications and Technology on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.
  • John McCoskey of PBS (the Public Broadcasting System) is the new Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer. Part of McCoskey’s new role will be to develop and execute MPAA global technology policy in conjunction with content protection initiatives.
  • Alex Deacon is the new Senior Vice President, Internet Technology, to be based in Silicon Valley. Deacon previously worked as chief technologist and engineer at Neustar Media.
  • Steven Fabrizio joined as Senior Executive Vice President and Global General Counsel. MPAA said he is widely regarded as one of the preeminent copyright and content protection lawyers in the country and will oversee all legal, content protection and rights management programs within the MPAA. He begins his new job in early December.

The Washington International Trade Association (WITA) has a new director: Javiera Gallardo. Gallardo joined WITA in 2009, and had been serving as Acting Executive Director since March of 2013. Meanwhile, Diego Añez, who began with WITA in February of 2013, will assume the role of Program Coordinator.

The American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA) installed the 2013-2014 Board of Directors in October. New officers are:

President & Executive Committee Chair Wayne P. Sobon, Inventergy, Cupertino, CA

President-Elect – Sharon Israel, partner with Mayer Brown LLP in Houston

First Vice President – Denise W. DeFranco, partner with Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP, Boston

Second Vice President – Mark L. Whitaker, partner with Baker Botts, Washington D.C.

Immediate Past President – Jeffrey I.D. Lewis, partner with Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler, LLP, New York, NY

Also elected during the 2013 AIPLA Annual Meeting were: Secretary David Ruschke, Medtronic Cardio Vascular, Santa Rosa, CA; Treasurer John Hornickel, PolyOne Corporation, Avon Lake, OH; board members Karen S. Canady, canady + lortz LLP, Los Angeles, CA; Kenneth K. Cho, Kim & Chang, Seoul, South Korea; Jody H. Drake, Sughrue Mion, PLLC, Washington, DC; and Manny W. Schecter, IBM Corporation, Armonk, NY. Bernard J. Knight, Jr., of McDermott, Will & Emery, Washington, DC, was elected as General Counsel.

Continuing on the AIPLA board are: W. Todd Baker, partner with Oblon, Spivak, McClelland, Maier & Nuestadt, LLP, Alexandria, VA; Amie Peele Carter, partner with Faegre Baker Daniels, LLP, Indianapolis, IN; Barbara Fiacco, partner with Foley Hoag, LLP in Boston, MA; Bradley A. Forrest, Shareholder with Schwegman, Lundberg & Woessner, PA, Minneapolis, MN; J. Michael Martinez de Andino, partner with Hunton & Williams, LLP in Richmond, VA; Kevin H. Rhodes, President and Chief Intellectual Property Counsel of 3M Innovative Properties Company, St. Paul, MN; Kevin Tottis of the Law Offices of Kevin Tottis in Chicago, IL; and Chen Wang, Deputy Chief IP Counsel for E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company, Wilmington, DE.


Law Offices

Foley & Lardner LLP has added Jerold A. Jacover to its intellectual property practice in the Chicago office as counsel. Jacover is also the founder of the Intellectual Property Law Association of Chicago’s Educational Foundation, which awards scholarships to disadvantaged high school students in the Chicago area.

Jeremy Elman has joined DLA Piper’s Intellectual Property and Technology practice and Patent Litigation group as a partner in the firm’s Miami office. Elman, who comes from McDermott Will & Emery LLP, has been widely recognized for his work, including being named among the Daily Business Review’s 2013 Rising Stars, a list that recognises Florida’s 40 most promising lawyers under the age of 40.

International law firm Greenberg Traurig, LLP will grow its patent litigation capabilities in Washington, D.C. by adding three new shareholders to its Intellectual Property & Technology Practice. Mark G. Davis, Stephen K. Shahida and Ronald J. Pabis, will join from Weil Gotshal. Meanwhile, Dr. Weisun Rao joined the Chicago office of Greenberg Traurig in the Intellectual Property & Technology practice in July. He is experienced in developing IP strategies and building and managing IP portfolios for legal and business opportunities in the United States, China and elsewhere in the world. Rao counsels clients on IP and business issues in the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, nutraceutical, medical device, advanced material and mechanical industries. He is particularly familiar the emerging pharmaceutical R&D and medical device industries in China.

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP has appointed Alan Yanovich as senior counsel in the firm’s international trade practice in Geneva. For the last 12 years, Yanovich served at the World Trade Organization Appellate Body Secretariat, for which he was the lead lawyer supervising all cases before the WTO’s highest tribunal. He previously served as legal advisor at the General Secretariat of the Andean Community in Lima, Peru.

Winston & Strawn LLP has formed a new team of attorneys specializing in patent infringement suits before the U.S. International Trade Commission. John R. Alison, Steven M. Anzalone, Paul C. Goulet, and Thomas L. Jarvis have joined the firm as partners based in Winston & Strawn’s Washington, D.C. office to guide the new group, which will focus on litigating complex technology patent cases before the ITC.


Awards & Recognitions

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) in August announced the winners of the 2013 Pioneer Awards: late digital rights activist Aaron Swartz, international access to knowledge advocate James Love, and Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras – the journalists behind the stories detailing extensive spying by the US National Security Agency (NSA).

The exclusive group of international intellectual property attorneys from Europe and the US that constitute the Global Fellows has two new members. Erin P. Gibson, a partner at DLA Piper in the San Diego, Calif., office, and former DLA Partner and current Director of Global IP Litigation at Nike Brian Fogarty were named a 2013-2014 Global Fellow by the Federal Circuit Bar Association. Global Fellows are 12 attorneys from Europe and 12 from the US who promote a higher IP practice among the global legal community. They will meet in Munich, Germany, for a Global Fellows Series 11-14 March.


Liza Porteus Viana may be reached at

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