Senior IP Counsel
Afzana Anwer is a senior IP counsel at BT, where she is responsible for providing IP and IT legal advice, reporting risks and trends, and supporting all functions of the BT Group, including IP transactional work relating to the cloud, software, open source, and data, while enhancing company simplicity and efficiency, defending BT’s IP assets and advising research and development on IP strategy for monetisation. She provides pragmatic positive business and operational outcomes, while working closely with software and data teams to deliver the next generation of products and services, particularly challenging for where grey areas of law exist for emerging technologies such as around AI, machine learning and data. She has negotiated key high-value contracts such as those involving fixed line, mobile, 5G and roll out of full-fibre, valued at more than several hundred million pounds, and was nominated as playing a fundamental role in the deal of the year, involving complex IP considerations meeting tight deadlines, to roll out in-house innovative products and services well ahead of the market.
Before this, Dr Anwer restructured complex IP portfolios, developed robust strategies to create, protect, defend, enforce and exploit IP assets, centralised IP function as companies transformed from silos to a matrix structure and created the ‘small big’ company. She secured senior management buy-in for mitigating risk and positioning intellectual property at board level at the top of every agenda and at each stage of the deal-making process for M&A work.
In 2015, she was group IP counsel for a major global taste and nutrition company. She managed worldwide assets, ensuring optimal protection focused on branding and consolidating trademark portfolios.
Dr Anwer has advanced technical degrees and research experience in engineering from the University of Cambridge and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she was a Fulbright Scholar. She is admitted to practise in the State of Massachusetts, United States, and is on the UK roll of solicitors.