IP Intensive Program: A Semester at Teva Canada - An Insider's Look at the Pharmaceutical Industry

This past fall I had the privilege of participating in Osgoode Hall Law School’s Intellectual Property and Technology Law Intensive Program. The placement allowed me to spend my fall semester with the Legal Affairs department of Teva Canada, one of Canada’s largest manufacturers of generic medications and a subsidiary of Teva Ltd., one of the top 10 pharmaceutical companies in the world. The program gave me the opportunity to work alongside legal counsel and gain valuable insight into in-house practice at a large pharmaceutical company. My placement centered on intellectual property law and focused heavily on drafting patent validity opinions and conducting research for both prospective and ongoing pharmaceutical patent litigation.

The Work I did

As part of the Teva Legal Affairs department, I had a chance to participate in many aspects of pharmaceutical patent litigation that were important to the company. This involved drafting pre-litigation invalidity and non-infringement opinions, assessing molecules for entry into various world markets, and supporting current patent litigation that Teva is party to. The majority of the Canadian patent litigation involved proceedings under the Patented Medicines (Notice of Compliance) Regulations, but the placement frequently required consideration of other jurisdictions due to the fact that my supervisor was responsible for Teva’s global patent litigation strategy.

The opportunity to assess pharmaceutical patent portfolios on a global scale was extremely interesting, as I was able to observe some of the nuances between Canadian patent law and the laws governing patents in the US and European Union (EU). This analysis involved tracking patent prosecution that is often much more extensive than their Canadian counterparts and analyzing EU patent opposition proceedings that do not have Canadian equivalents. This research made me appreciate the vast amount of attention that a global pharmaceutical patent portfolio attracts and allowed me to utilize my scientific background when analyzing the arguments in these proceedings. The research also made me more aware of the deep scientific issues that are at play in bio-pharmaceutical patent litigation and the importance of having a solid foundation of scientific knowledge in these areas.

In addition to my exposure to patent litigation I was able to gain some insight into other legal issues that Teva frequently encounters. I had the opportunity throughout my placement to help out on various corporate matters, allowing me to see how IP is treated when it is an auxiliary consideration in the business context. For example, IP issues are often present in employment contracts and supply agreements, and it was fascinating to learn about these important in-house matters from experienced counsel. Lastly, the opportunity to attend meetings with other departments of the company like government and regulatory affairs allowed me to broaden my understanding of the company as a whole and the role that intellectual property matters play in Teva’s business model.

 

The Benefit of my Experience

The experience that I gained through my semester at Teva gave me insight into a world of legal practice that most lawyers will not see until many years into their careers (if they see it at all). In addition, I had a chance to utilize my background in science and pharmaceutical chemistry which was not only exciting but also a reminder of why I choose to pursue a law degree. Most of all, the placement allowed me to build on my time at an intellectual property boutique law firm by providing me with insight into the needs of a pharmaceutical company client. I have no doubt that my experience at Teva has afforded me a stronger understanding of both the law and the needs of my future clients.

As I am sure you can tell, I truly enjoyed my time at Teva through Osgoode Hall Law School’s Intellectual Property and Technology Law Intensive Program, and I would recommend the program to any student with an interest in intellectual property or technology law. Lastly, I wanted to give a special thank you to IP Osgoode’s Michelle Li and Professors Giuseppina D’Agostino and David Vaver for giving me the opportunity to participate in the program and to Dr. Kane Denike, Teva Canada’s Senior Director of Intellectual Property, who was my supervisor throughout the semester.

 

Adam Falconi is a JD Candidate at Osgoode Hall Law School and was enrolled in Osgoode’s Intellectual Property Law and Technology Intensive Program. As part of the program requirements, students were asked to write a reflective blog on their internship experience.

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