Jeffrey D Morton

From acting as a trusted IP counsel to providing strategic advice on the latest life sciences developments, you offer a wide range of expertise. Which aspect of your work do you enjoy most and why?

I particularly enjoy developing high-level IP strategy for clients and negotiating IP agreements. On the latter point, I have always been cognisant of good advice that I received early on in my career to ensure that the attorney does not get in the way of finalising the deal. While an IP attorney clearly needs to provide their client with sound advice, I am always happy when I get to work with a like-minded attorney and a deal can be negotiated efficiently and to everyone’s benefit.

As founding partner of Snell & Wilmer’s San Diego office, what does inspirational leadership mean to you?

I believe that it mainly comes down to inspiring each member of our team to be empowered to pursue their individual goals and ambitions, while encouraging that such goals are aligned to serve the greater good of our office and firm. No one person has all of the answers, and the team that we have assembled and continue to grow in San Diego is a collection of motivated, bright and progressive voices. Often, effective leadership equates with getting out of the way and breaking down roadblocks for very talented people to flourish.

How have client demands changed over the last 10 years and how has your practice developed to meet these?

There is undoubtedly a heightened sense of needing to deliver outstanding value to clients. I have also found that there continues to be a real and growing need for directly providing practical and timely advice. Many of the clients that I have had the pleasure of working with for the last 15 years know that they can always reach me directly at any time for an answer to their legal questions.

What developments in life sciences and biotech are having the biggest impact on your clients right now?

Among many issues, one that a number of our clients are dealing with right now is obtaining broad patent coverage for antibodies. For example, there is a significant difference in the patent laws of the US and Europe that affects the disclosure requirements necessary to obtain broad patent coverage in these key life science jurisdictions. You need to have an international view in order to successfully navigate this area when preparing and prosecuting these valuable patent applications.

What are your top recommendations for building a truly international IP strategy?

Working with progressive and thoughtful foreign IP practitioners really helps me to maintain a focus on international considerations in the course of planning and implementing IP strategy for our clients. Beyond that, I think that it is very important to develop a mindset that appreciates the truly global nature of the legal business. I am fortunate to work with clients from all over the world and – as a result – I do not limit my client network to San Diego or, for that matter, US-based clientele.

Jeffrey D Morton

Partner, Chair of Life Sciences and Medical  Technology Industry Group & Co-Chair of Technology Industry Group
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Jeff Morton has over 15 years’ experience representing start-up and large enterprises on their IP, technology and commercial law needs. He has significant patent prosecution and strategic patent counselling experience in a wide range of technologies and maintains an active trademark and transactional practice. Having been called to the bar both in the United States and Canada, Dr Morton provides cross-border advice to Canadian clients operating in the United States, and vice versa.

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