My Intellectual Property Law Internship at AstraZeneca Canada

In the Fall semester of my third year at Osgoode Hall Law School, I had the opportunity to take part in the Intellectual Property Law and Technology Intensive Program. This program offers students a 10-week internship with an organization that operates in a field associated with intellectual property (IP) law. With my pre-law education in the life sciences and interest in patent law, I elected to complete my internship with in-house counsel at AstraZeneca Canada (AZC).

My internship at AZC surpassed my expectations. I not only built on my understanding of patent law, but also obtained experience in other legal fields. My AZC supervisor assigned tasks in a wide range of areas, including privacy, competition, and corporate law. This presented a unique opportunity for me to apply the knowledge I gained from my law school courses and build on my understanding of less familiar topics.

In addition to learning about law, my internship took me beyond the legal landscape to the business aspects of the pharmaceutical industry. I was invited to attend meetings where AZC employees discussed business strategies for company projects. My supervisor also organized one-on-one meetings between AZC employees and myself to familiarize me with the company’s operations. For example, I met with a member of the marketing department to discuss how a drug successfully reaches its patient population. In the meeting, they described the complexities of the process and challenges they face in their position. They also explained how their department contributes alongside other AZC departments to achieve the company’s goals.

During my time at AZC, I had the opportunity to investigate the current issues affecting Canada’s pharmaceutical industry. These included the legislative changes surrounding the Patented Medicine Prices Review Board and the United States of America’s proposal to import drugs from the Canadian market. Through completing tasks on these topics, I became better acquainted with the relevant parties and critical milestones for each matter. I was also privileged to be amongst AZC employees, who are directly affected by these issues. By speaking with these individuals, I gained their unique perspective on the topics, which furthered my understanding of these issues and how they impact the pharmaceutical industry.

Although the above experiences were insightful, my favorite aspect of the internship was the chance to interact with AZC’s science landscape. As a law student with a background in medical science research, I have always had a passion to see how law and science may be combined in the workplace. AZC is a great example of this combination, for science is always present in the work environment. While at my internship completing legal tasks, I was invited by in-house counsel to attend seminars that described recent medical innovations in the company’s different therapeutic fields. Furthermore, much of my work allowed me to utilize my scientific background. My prior experience enabled me to better understand legal matters that involved pharmaceutical concepts and determine the implications that stem from these situations.

I enjoyed my internship at AZC. It provided me with valuable opportunities to learn about a diverse range of topics, while facilitating this learning through a friendly environment with a positive legal department that is genuinely interested in its students’ growth. I am confident that Osgoode Hall’s Intellectual Property Law and Technology Intensive Program has had a memorable impact on my law school journey.

Written by Imtiaz Karamat, JD Candidate 2020, enrolled in Professors D’Agostino and Vaver 2019/2020 IP & Technology Law Intensive Program at Osgoode Hall Law School. As part of the course requirements, students were asked to write a reflective blog on their internship experience.

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