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Women In Business Law Award 2015 Galit Gonen Teva Pharma IP .pdf


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Pharma, Women and IP: an Industry
Perspective
Dr Galit Gonen Cohen
SVP, General Counsel and IP Litigations, Teva Pharmaceuticals
Europe

I was honoured to be the Editor’s choice for European Women in
Business Law Awards in the Intellectual Property "In House" category.
I work for Teva Pharmaceuticals, a hybrid company which consists of
a sizeable specialty business and the biggest generic business in the
pharma industry globally. I serve in dual a role of a General Counsel
and Head of IP Litigations for Teva Europe. My team is very special
and consists of lawyers of different genders, coming from different nationalities, who have practiced in several jurisdictions, and who have
varied scientific backgrounds. My legal team definitely has a high proportion of talented women and indeed mothers. I believe that heterogeneous, multi-cultural teams outperform homogeneous teams on a
variety of tasks and I think others indeed appreciate the value of us
bringing different perspectives to the work we do. Also, it is rare to
find a team of people who all genuinely love what they do, but I think
this is true of my team, and it shows in our commitment and results.
I began my career as a pharmacist and later on moved to law, and
in particular, Patent law. I found a career within the Pharma industry
attractive since this industry is a powerful force in improving the
human condition and definitely an area worth contributing to. Some
see a conflict in the role of a Pharma company as on the one hand,
shareholder value has to be generated, and on the other, the ultimate
"consumer" is the sick patient and so the balance in most businesses is
skewed in pharma with a simple desire to help sick people. I work for
a company which helps patients by ensuring maximum access to medicines by launching generic high quality products at low prices, and
also by bringing new specialty products to the market that represent
better value to patients. My role is to ensure these goals are met
within the boundaries of the law and also, to use the law to our benefit
to facilitate market access. It could be said that a career in Pharma is
attractive for people who want their working lives to have a positive
impact on society as a whole and families in particular. As a woman, I
can certainly identify myself with that -- the development, promotion
and protection of technologies and inventions which can improve
lives, whether via improved medicines and treatment methods, or the
development of plants which are resistant to bugs or disease, can
make the necessary multi-tasking and flexibility necessary to create a
work life balance more attractive.
Furthermore, for someone like me with a scientific background, I
appreciate the interaction of science and the law, dealing with new
technologies, and having the opportunity to meet with bright leaders
in the field. I enjoy the intellectual challenge of constructing arguments that mix science and law involved in IP litigation.
I love the new challenges and opportunities that continuously arise
in IP. Although demanding, they are intellectually stimulating and
give rise to deep collaboration amongst the legal teams in order to
achieve a common goal. Take, for example, the Unitary Patent Pack-

age. This will bring the biggest change of the European patent system
since the signing of the European Patent Convention more than 40
years ago. It may already arrive in the course of 2016, and will provide
a Unitary Patent and a Unified Patent Court for Europe which will replace the multinational patent litigations we see today. In my view this
will be a true game changer; not merely in the European patent arena,
but also on a global level, if only because it will render a single patent
litigation market of 418 million people, i.e. about 100 million more
than the US. At Teva, we have been preparing to adopt to the new system and also, we have been continuously sharing our views about the
Unified Patent Court in public consultations. After all, for a regular
user of the European patent system like Teva, it is of great importance
that this court will render fair, high quality decisions, and that procedures will be efficient in terms of time and costs. This experience
demonstrated to me that a company that employs a diverse workforce
is better able to understand the global marketplace it serves and thus
is well equipped to succeed in that marketplace and offer more unique
and helpful perspectives.
Last but not least, the most challenging and rewarding part of my
job is leadership. In order to be a leader of the European legal group at
Teva being a good professional expert is the platform, the jump start,
but it is important to move on from that point to become a leader, an
agent of change. Success is not just the result of what I know, but more a
result of how I relate to my colleagues, how I bring people alongside so
that they have the space and are empowered to co-create the best strategies they are capable of. Furthermore, taking care of my team members
is a high priority and by respecting each other, we have definitely cre-

ated a unique workplace. I encourage excellence, openness and constant
exchange of new and innovative perspectives. I believe that diversity and
inclusiveness are critical and I am proud of my team which has a highly
diverse geographical footprint with multiple nationalities, while recruiting, supporting and promoting women is a key priority.
Going forward, I would like to keep developing as a leader and
to inspire others to dream more, to be more and to become more. I

also want to keep on using my skills to make Teva more and more
effective at what it does. There is not really any set career path
from where I am now but whatever is next will likely draw on what
I have done in the past with, no doubt, unexpected twists I have
yet to encounter! I am very fortunate and grateful to have a wonderful supportive family which makes it all possible and worthwhile.


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