A promising future
WIPR Diversity profiles this year’s outstanding women with a decade or less of experience in the IP industry who have already made a significant mark on the sector.
We received some excellent nominations in this category and our judging panel had the unenviable task of narrowing the final selection down to a number of truly remarkable women. Our Trailblazer finalists stood out by virtue of their impressive practice in IP and/or their sterling efforts to promote diversity & inclusion (D&I) within the sector.
We wish our 2021 Trailblazers and nominees the very best of luck for the future which will undoubtedly be bright and full of promise.
The judging panel
Associate, Allen & Overy (Belgium and France)
A WIPR 2020 Trailblazer, Tine Carmeliet began her career as a lawyer at Allen & Overy in Belgium and has been a member of the Brussels Bar since September 2015. Her practice includes multi-jurisdictional patent litigation relating to major pharmaceuticals in France and Belgium.
She has been involved in the Court of Justice of the European Union’s preliminary rulings on new plant breeding techniques and genetically modified organism legislation, and the legality of wellbeing cannabis products in France.
Carmeliet is an active member of ChIPs, an international non-profit organisation that advances and connects women in technology, law and policy and is a driving force in Allen & Overy’s Women in IP and D&I working groups.
Director of patent litigation, Netflix (US)
Before joining the streaming platform this year, Laurie Charrington worked at Intel for seven years where she was on the leadership team for Intel’s women’s leadership programme, Leading Edge.
She also co-chaired Intel’s global Black Leadership Council and was an active member of the company’s African American employees’ network.
Charrington is a frequent speaker on diversity issues concerning women and under-represented minorities in tech and law.
Executive director, general counsel, infrastructure solutions group and head of global litigation, Lenovo (US)
Jennifer Salinas is one of three executive sponsors and a board member of Lenovo’s employee resource group, Hispanics of Lenovo Association.
In 2015, she was awarded the Mary V. Orozco Abriendo Caminos Award by the Latina Lawyers Bar Association, which is bestowed on Latinas “who have inspired and opened doors for countless Latinas and others”.
From 2018 to 2019, she served as president of the Hispanic National Bar Association, where she oversaw a board of more than 70,000 members.
She is highly valued in the IP field as a mentor and sponsor of legal talent who attracts and retains diverse, high-performance teams.
Editor, WIPR Diversity
Muireann Bolger is a senior editor at sister publications World Intellectual Property Review and Life Sciences Intellectual Property Review.
She has worked on numerous business titles over the past decade covering brands and marketing, health, insurance and travel, where she has worked on media projects aimed at promoting greater D&I in B2B industries.
Senior associate, Jackson, Etti & Edu (Nigeria)
In her role, Joy Azumara has consistently participated in promoting IP awareness in Nigeria and has delivered thought leadership on how to deal with IP assets within the African continent. Her practice covers general IP prosecution services across Africa for blue-chip companies around the world, managing complex IP portfolios for fast-moving consumer goods companies and pharmaceutical companies.
To promote IP, Azumara organised and participated in a radio and TV roadshow and created a short story around IP which became a white board animation. She organised and participated in a webinar, in conjunction with the Women in Managing IP community, titled “Trade and commerce in West Africa and how it influences IP rights”.
Senior associate, Allen & Overy (Germany)
At Allen & Overy, Denise Benz has successfully represented clients in multijurisdictional high stake IP matters. Her practice has a particular focus on proceedings in the field of patent law across a range of technologies. She offers advice to national and international clients both in advance of litigation and in patent infringement proceedings before all patent litigation chambers and in validity proceedings before the European Patent Office (EPO) as well as in arbitration proceedings.
An active member of Allen & Overy’s Women in IP working group to advance women in IP, she has set up a global internal mentoring programme for Allen & Overy’s female IP lawyers. She has helped launch the German chapter of the ChIPs network and acts as a mentor in a mentoring programme for law students with a migrant background. She is also involved in Allen & Overy’s German pro bono committee and regularly appears as a speaker in IP training courses for clients across the global network.
In 2017, after a stay in Tanzania, she founded a non-profit organisation, Weltherz, which enables children and young people in that country to receive a school education.
Avocat, Squire Patton Boggs (France)
Marion Cavalier has been practising as a French attorney (“avocat”) for five years, representing large international clients but also smaller clients and non-profits on a pro bono basis with their IP issues. Her practice encompasses patent, trademark and commercial litigation before the French courts and arbitration tribunals. She is also a certified information privacy professional and advises global clients on compliance with privacy laws and regulations.
Her experience spans a broad range of industries with particular emphasis on the technology, media, telecommunications and life sciences sectors. Before joining Squire Patton Boggs, Cavalier was an associate at Foley Hoag’s IP department.
She completed her attorney traineeship at Hogan Lovells in Paris. Cavalier also worked at the National Archives in London on a research project called “Big Data for Law” which won the Halsbury Legal Innovation Award in 2015.
Attorney, NTD Intellectual Property Attorneys (China)
Lijia Chen’s practice covers IP strategy consulting, management, and licensing as well as infringement litigation. She is a member of the China Law Society, and her career highlights include handling trademark invalidation cases on behalf of Renmin University of China, which was elected as one of the ten notable cases in 2019 by the Beijing IP Protection Center.
She has written and published articles on developments in trademarks, including research on the trend of foreign trademark squatting.
Vice president, San Francisco’s liaison office, Kilburn & Strode (US)
Emily Collins works primarily in European and UK patent drafting and prosecution, with a focus on patent strategy for multinational companies. As a European patent attorney based in San Francisco, she specialises in providing European IP advice to US companies. With a background in physics, her technical expertise includes software, aerospace and medical devices.
She spends a lot of time trying to make a difference to the gender divide in science and in IP. Also passionate about mental health in IP, she founded a mental health awareness campaign while studying at the University of Oxford.
She has worked with advocacy organisations IP Inclusive and Jonathan’s Voice to improve mental health in the workplace for IP professionals, and has focused a lot of her efforts on addressing the stigma around mental health in the workplace.
Shanti Sadtler Conway
Partner, Kirkland & Ellis (US)
Shanti Sadtler Conway focuses her practice on IP, including copyright, trademark, false advertising, right of publicity, social media, licensing and contract issues. She has represented clients before the federal and state trial and appellate courts, the US Patent and Trademark Office and the US International Trade Commission in high-profile cases.
A leader of Kirkland’s asylum programme, Conway has represented numerous clients who are HIV positive and/or from LGBT+ community from all over the world on a pro bono basis, with a 100% success rate. She also represents non-profit corporations and low-income individuals in a variety of other pro bono matters.
Associate, Bird & Bird (Netherlands)
In her six years of experience as a lawyer at Bird & Bird, Nina Dorenbosch has handled litigation for the big brand names in the trademark and product design field.
She specialises in IP litigation, strategic advice and brand management, and has experience with international and cross-border patent disputes. She works at the forefront of Bird & Bird’s retail and consumer group and is an active member of the firm’s sustainability taskforce for the luxury and fashion industry.
In February 2021, Dorenbosch co-organised a shared event of Bird & Bird and the Female Intellectual Property Experts network of the Netherlands on the topic of female entrepreneurship, which was attended by almost 100 Dutch female IP experts. She also helped organise the first online version of Bird & Bird’s Ladies@Bird event for women clients of the firm’s Dutch office.
Partner, Bardehle Pagenberg (Germany)
Anna Giedke became a partner at Bardehle Pagenberg in Munich in January 2021, where she specialises in patent infringement proceedings with a focus on semiconductor technology, electrical engineering, chemistry, pharma and life sciences, software, IT and computer technology, and telecommunications.
Career highlights include successfully representing 10x Genomics against Bio-Rad at the German Higher Regional Court of Munich in March 2020. She has co-founded the group “Munich’s Women in Patent Law”, an informal group of female judges and legal counsels in patent law.
In May 2021, she spoke at the Licensing Executives Society International annual conference roundtable on the dos and don’ts of IP licensing.
Senior associate, Bristows (UK)
Naomi Hazenberg has advised on numerous disputes in relation to mobile technology, including standardised technologies from the 2G, 3G and 4G systems. She has become an expert on issues that arise specifically in the cutting-edge fields of standard essential patent litigation and fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory disputes, as well as the complex confidentiality aspects of these cases.
Outside of the field of telecommunications, she has advised on patent cases concerning hydrocarbon exploration, renewable energy and electronics. Hazenberg was part of the team that successfully assisted Fidelis in trademark infringement proceedings brought against it by Fidelity in 2018. She was also a key member of the team that advised IPCom in its case against Vodafone this year.
Senior associate, EIP (UK)
Catherine Howell is an IP solicitor, and has experience of proceedings in the English High Court and the UK Court of Appeal, as well as cross-border disputes. Since qualifying in 2017, she has worked on cutting-edge patent litigation cases, including Unwired Planet v Huawei & Ors (2018), and Conversant v Huawei & Ors (2020).
She was on the legal team representing the successful parties, Unwired Planet and Conversant Wireless, and worked on these actions from the pre-filing stage all the way through to the UK Supreme Court. She has developed in-depth experience of advising clients at all stages of contentious proceedings.
Howell is in charge of negotiating confidentiality agreements, dealing with compliance on these matters and communicating with third parties whose information will be disclosed in the case. She is a member of ChIPs.
Partner, Mewburn Ellis (UK)
Sarah Kostiuk-Smith qualified as a chartered patent attorney and European Patent Attorney in 2015 and became a partner at law firm Mewburn Ellis in 2019. She works predominantly in the pharmaceutical sector but also has a sizeable materials chemistry practice.
In addition to working with global pharmaceutical companies protecting and defending their IP, she works closely with smaller companies to discuss results and capture IP at each stage of the drug discovery journey, expanding their IP portfolios based on later stage pre-clinical and clinical data.
A voice for progress, both at Mewburn Ellis and within the wider IP community, Kostiuk-Smith is a founding member of the IP Inclusive “Women in IP” committee, and regularly presents on the need for more diversity within IP.
Attorney, AWA (Sweden)
Alicia Kim is an attorney specialising in trademark and design strategy, filing and prosecution and IP agreements. Kim works with one of AWA’s largest clients, a leader in the alternative milk world. Kim forms part of the client team and has been instrumental in securing successes for this client.
In addition to the prosecution work, she has also worked on several ongoing high-profile litigations. Kim completed her master’s in corporate and commercial law at University College London and qualified as a solicitor in England and Wales in 2011.
Before joining AWA in 2016, Kim worked as a solicitor in law firm Lawrence Graham in London dealing with IP and dispute resolution matters.
Partner, Sterne Kessler Goldstein & Fox (US)
Josephine Kim’s practice covers patent litigation and she has been involved in cases before federal district courts, the US Patent Trial and Appeal Board and the ITC. She has experience in all stages of litigation—initial fact investigation, claim construction, depositions, motions practice, expert discovery, and trial.
She has navigated complicated electronic discovery issues and is also experienced in the case management of multi-defendant litigations. Kim has a particular focus on industries related to pharmaceuticals, therapeutic methods, materials science, and the mechanical arts.
She represents the firm at a wide range of events and conferences in the D&I space and has made several presentations to the firm to share information and recommendations on D&I best practices.
Senior legal counsel, Aurora (Canada)
In 2019, Stephanie Melnychuk moved from her private practice at Oyen Wiggs Green & Mutala to Aurora Cannabis, one of Canada’s leading licensed cannabis producers and innovators. Aurora employs scientists to research and develop technologies related to plant cultivation and genetics, biosynthesis, cannabinoid extraction, and consumer packaged goods.
Melnychuk is responsible for developing, securing, maintaining, and strategically leveraging Aurora’s IP assets. Her specialties span cannabis, chemistry, biotechnology, medical devices, consumer packaged goods, and she is affiliated with the Intellectual Property Institute of Canada. She is an adjunct professor at the Peter A. Allard School of Law at the University of British Columbia.
Passionate about fostering a healthier and productive IP profession, she has written and published numerous articles on IP and how to promote mental wellbeing among lawyers.
Senior associate, Adams & Adams (South Africa)
Alissa Nayanah joined Adams & Adams in 2012, where she specialises in trademark prosecution and litigation in South Africa and foreign territories. Her practice also includes advising on copyright protection and litigation, domain name disputes, company name objections, and advertising and labelling regulations.
Nayanah advises and manages the IP portfolios of multinational clients in various industries. She has been a speaker at Adams & Adams’ events and at external events where she has spoken to students, clients and South African police officials about the protection and enforcement of IP. Nayanah has also published several articles relating to IP developments in South Africa and abroad.
Lawyer, Barrera & Asociado Law (Peru)
Giovana Palacios is an attorney with more than five years of experience in IP law and her practice is focused on legal advice, strategy, administrative procedures and application of the IP law in Peru and abroad as well as regulatory affairs. Palacios began her career as a trainee at Pierola & Asociados in 2013 and she then joined legal assistant at Clarke Modet & Co. as a legal assistant.
Since 2018, Palacios has been an associate and attorney-at-law at Barrera & Asociado, where is in charge of trademark and patent filings abroad. In addition, she supports the non-contentious department regarding background searches, and trademark, copyright and patent filings in Peru.
Attorney, Stites & Harbison (US)
Mari-Elise Paul specialises in IP clearance, acquisition, protection, management, and enforcement, and her practice covers consumer goods and services, medical, healthcare, cybersecurity, data protection and privacy. Recent career highlights include obtaining a full defence judgment on behalf of Pixels.com that led to the company becoming immune from liability for copyright infringement under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act as an online service provider.
She is a member of the International Trademark Association (INTA) and of the INTA Bulletin Committee, the American Intellectual Property Law Association and International Association of Privacy Professionals.
She has published a number of articles in the INTA Bulletin and also on Stites and Harbison’s trademark blog on the intersection of IP and pop culture. In addition to being a full-time attorney she is the mother of a daughter, a heart transplant recipient, who faced an extremely challenging first year of life.
Her goal is to serve as a role model for other women in the legal profession with medically fragile children who also want to thrive as attorneys.
Senior associate, Osborne Clarke (UK)
Anna Rawlings qualified in 2014 and joined Osborne Clarke in 2016, where she litigates high profile patent and trademark cases. Her industry expertise spans life sciences, retail and consumer, tech, media and communications. She has experience of high profile patent litigation in the life sciences and tech, media and communications sectors, and has particular expertise in managing parallel actions across Europe.
Her trademark litigation cases have involved seeking a declaration of non-infringement in respect of well-known marks, a cross-border passing off claim relating to the VFX industry and enforcing trademark rights in the context of a comparative advertising dispute.
She regularly speaks on IP issues including at the Commercial Dispute Resolution Life Sciences Litigation Symposium on “Managing Complex Litigation”. She interviewed Baroness Hale, then President of the UK Supreme Court for IPSoc and organised and led a World Intellectual Property Day event on “Ingenious Women”.
Senior associate, Marks & Clerk (UK)
Lara Sibley joined Marks & Clerk nine years ago after completing her PhD in condensed matter physics from the University of Cambridge. Sibley is now a senior associate in the electronics patents team in the London office of Marks & Clerk. She has successfully represented clients at oral proceedings at the EPO and has experience of EPO opposition and appeal proceedings.
In addition, she works on standards essentiality evaluations for European patents. Sibley acts on behalf of clients of all sizes, from individual inventors to large multinationals. She has experience prosecuting applications in multiple jurisdictions including Europe, the US, China and Japan.
Attorney, Finnegan (US)
Kara Specht focuses on patent litigation before district courts and the ITC and her practice covers a wide range of electronic and electrical technology areas related to computers, consumer electronics, and computer-implemented business methods. She has represented clients including Google, BMW, United Bank and FedEx.
Passionate about D&I, she devotes significant time to “non-billable” causes which she feels strongly about. She works closely with the firm’s internal women’s business initiative, Finnegan FORWARD, that works to address issues impacting female attorneys in law firms.
Associate, Powell Gilbert (UK)
Tess Waldron has represented life sciences and consumer electronics companies in wider commercial disputes and negotiations, including in relation to FRAND. She has experience of litigation in the English High Court (involving general commercial and IP claims), the UK Court of Appeal and the UK Supreme Court and has taken a lead role in successful mediations.
Before becoming a solicitor, Waldron qualified as a doctor and spent three years working in hospital medicine. This experience provides her with a valuable background when advising clients operating in the life sciences sector. Waldron takes a keen interest in Women in IP law and the next generation of IP lawyers.
She is heavily involved in the London Chapter of ChIPs, is on the Committee of the Competition Law Association and regularly attends and speaks at conferences and webinars on a wide range of IP issues.
Senior associate, CMS (Poland)
Alicja Zalewska is the head of the EU trademarks and designs team in CMS Poland and leads a team of five attorneys. Zalewska has led on several high-profile cases for clients such as Microsoft, Sky, LinkedIn or eBay. She has worked as a seconded legal counsel at Microsoft’s central trademark team in Redmond, US, advising on Microsoft’s global trademark strategy.
Zalewska strives to be an inspirational role model to the female colleagues on her team and is a member of the firm’s CMS Women’s Network. She is actively involved in women’s rights activism in Poland and provides pro bono help to the participants of the “Women Strike” protests.