Since Marianne Johansen in 1989, when working in a research group at the University of Copenhagen, came across the world of patents, she has been hooked on IP:
“After my Ph.D., I worked as an associate professor at the University of Copenhagen, Department of Pharmaceutics. During my research, I was part of a research group working with drug delivery systems, and we invented a drug delivery system based on dextrans. We wrote and filed a patent application and contacted companies that could have an interest in taking the project further. During this work, I experienced the contrast between scientific papers and legal documents like patent applications – a difference that I had not previously been aware of. Moreover, the huge amount of knowledge hidden in patent documents was a big surprise to me.
It created my curiosity for IP, and one of my friends held a position at an IPR firm and talked with passion about her work – thus, when a position became available, I applied for it – and I was caught with the same passion. The work is highly interesting, you work with highly skilled people and it never becomes routine. Your work is in front of the technology, and the IP regulation and practice change. All in all, you need to be alert” she explains.
With more than 30 years of IP work on her back, Marianne is one of aera’s most experienced attorneys, and looking back on that period, she enjoys the development of the focus on the business aspect within IPR:
“When I started working with IP, it was more or less only engineers who became patent attorneys, and the work was based primarily on relationships between foreign associates and the IP firm. Incoming work from local companies was sparse. In general, IP firms were not oriented towards the businesses of their clients.
At that time, I believe that the only IP firm that employed people with another scientific background and where local clients and their businesses were important was the firm where I was employed. In that firm, the innovative aspects of the IP business were top priorities and I believe that today, most of the IP firms in Denmark have more or less realised the importance of bringing business and IP together.”
This is in Marianne’s opinion central if you aim to become a good attorney:
“I believe the most important skills lie in the interface of business skills, technology skills, language skills, legal skills, and communication skills. Working in this interface is challenging and always exciting. I also believe that my background as an associate professor, working with research projects and researchers, gives me an excellent basis for discussions with inventors and for applying legal framework to technologies. Moreover, in my mind a patent application is not just a piece of technology put into a legal frame – it is an important business opportunity that must be seen as a tool for obtaining a desired business strategy.”
Marianne works for all kinds and all sizes of companies within the Life Science field. Naturally, her main focus is on patents, but synergies within all areas of IPR and strategy also play a big role in her work:
“My main interest has always been patents, but I value the importance of the synergies between all kinds of IPR in order to obtain the best possible IP protection. Thus, my interest is in the interface between IPR and exclusivity, and in the advantages obtainable using patents, designs, trademarks, etc. in combination.”
Another area is the strategic aspect – it concerns every aspect of IP and any time period within the development process. Due diligences, e.g. in connection with mergers, acquisitions or IPO’s, and freedom to operate evaluations are also important and enjoyable tasks.
“When a client’s IP is turned into a business success and the client realises the value of its IP, I find my work both meaningful and satisfying.”
During her career, Marianne has held several CEO positions, so we were extremely happy that she chose to continue her IP career at aera when she joined our company last January.
Here she explains why:
“aera is a relatively new IP firm established by a highly innovative and business-oriented team of European patent attorneys. I have worked with several of them in my previous positions and know that they have the right spirit and the talent to make aera an important player on the international scene of IP. I believe that aera has the ability and the will to be more than a traditional IP firm. My colleagues fully understand the importance of providing our clients with the best possible service, irrespective of whether it relates to IP in Denmark, Europe, the USA or other countries.”
Visit Marianne Johansen’s profile to learn more or get in touch.