This past fall, I had an opportunity to work with the patent strategy group at Teva Canada as part of Osgoode’s Intellectual Property Law Intensive Program. Teva Canada is the Canadian branch of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., a company commonly known as one of the largest generic pharmaceutical companies in the world, though it also has a brand division.
I entered the program hoping for a chance to experience practicing intellectual property law as in-house counsel. I hoped to get an opportunity to see how a large company approaches intellectual property; how it views the patent regime, what aspects it considers helpful and harmful, and especially how a large corporate structure adjusts to changes and opportunities afforded by that regime. I was not disappointed.
Most of my time at Teva was directed towards writing reports on the validity of brand pharmaceutical patents. One of the main tasks of the Patent Strategy Group at Teva is to decide which patents might be successfully challenged in court. Successful challenges of current patents often allow Teva to bring generic products to market significantly earlier than would otherwise be possible. In addition to being allowed on the market earlier than otherwise would be possible, the way in which the Patented Medicines (Notice of Compliance) Regulations operate means that Teva may also be able to enter the market as the sole generic pharmaceutical company. Being the first generic company on the market allows Teva to capture a large portion of the generic market, and to hold onto this market share even after other generic companies begin marketing.
In addition, I worked on several of the practical aspects of bringing together the required documentation in preparation for litigation, particularly litigation around damages claimed under section 8 of the Patented Medicines Regulations. Through the process of finding, bringing together, and summarizing documents I was able to get an idea of the amount of effort and cost involved in preparing for pharmaceutical litigation.
I was also able to spend some time working with the corporate law group. This experience allowed me to see the practical side of how a large company like Teva operates. In particular, this allowed me to see the many contracts, agreements, and corporate interactions that underpin the smooth operations of a large pharmaceutical company as it carries out its business operations and takes advantage of the opportunities afforded to it by intellectual property litigation.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time interning at Teva Canada; both the mentoring and the practical experience provided great insight into the operations of such a significant participant in Canada’s Intellectual Property system.