What effect – if any – are you seeing the climate crisis have on the innovation landscape?
New technologies are arising to facilitate goals supporting ways to address climate change. This is being done through international cooperation, bringing together multidisciplinary teams for whole lifecycle measures. There is a sense of now having collective responsiveness by government, research organisations and industry in many places around the world. This is being augmented by individual actions to reduce carbon footprint in daily life and the rollout of significant education programmes.
What is your proudest achievement over the past 12 months?
Adopting solar solutions for our firm, which have ranged from lighting to charging for laptops and phones.
Kathi Vidal was appointed head of the USPTO earlier this year – what difference, if any, have you observed so far under her leadership?
The USPTO − along with other core agencies such as the National Institute of Standards and Technology and the US Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division − have been provided with a new mandate by way of an executive order from US President Biden to review the innovation ecosystem in order to achieve the US Standards Strategy. By virtue of this, there is now a whole-of-government approach being adopted. Kathi Vidal is continuing and furthering initiatives achieved by the former director of the USPTO, Andrei Iancu. In relation to patents, further work is being continued to foster an innovation economy through education, targeted engagement and continued improvement to the work of the USPTO.
Now that the dust is beginning to settle after the pandemic, do you think that covid-19 has permanently altered the direction of the biopharma industry, or is it a return to business as usual?
The covid-19 pandemic is continuing to challenge quality of life, industry generally and the economic outlook. There is still quite a bit of work for the biopharma sector to enable humanity to address these challenges. This will involve significant further investment and continued international cooperation in relevant fields of science. If one looks at the World Health Organisation website, there are still many health-related challenges to be addressed. Examples include cholera, monkeypox, dengue fever, a range of cancers, ebola and Alzheimer’s. The biopharma industry is a critical element of the health sector and crucial to improving quality of life.
How do you manage expectations and maintain close working relationships with clients when the stakes are so high?
Our practice is built on the trusted adviser model. This is core to how we work with all of our clients and one another. We regularly engage with our clients to identify where we are performing effectively – and where there is room for improvement. We value open and honest discussions both within our team and with our clients. Building trust and understanding with clients is not just about how we work. It is also about staying up to date with the law, excelling in advocacy, keeping informed of our clients’ business objectives and ensuring that we deliver excellence.
Elisabeth Opie opened a boutique law firm focusing on international technology in Munich, Germany, in 2014. With over 20 years’ international experience in innovation ecosystems, she specialises in dealing with technology across various sectors. Practice areas cover international trade law, technology transfer and commercialisation (including structuring and negotiation strategies), competition law and dispute resolution. Standardised technology is a particular focus. Ms Opie is registered with the Rechtsanwaltskammer München and practises German, English and Australian law.