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Roche’s Chief Patent Counsel Joins Gibbons Intellectual Property Department

Monday, October 07, 2013

George W. Johnston, most recently Vice President & Chief Patent Counsel at Hoffmann-La Roche Inc., has joined Gibbons P.C. as Counsel in the Intellectual Property Department, reinforcing the firm’s focus on offering its clients strategically-minded intellectual property attorneys with deep, hands-on industry experience. Roughly one-third of the attorneys in Gibbons Intellectual Property Department have joined the firm from the ranks of Chief Patent Counsel, Chief IP Counsel and Head of Licensing across the pharmaceutical, telecommunications, biotechnology, consumer products and chemical industries.

At Roche, Mr. Johnston developed and implemented a variety of strategies to strengthen the company’s intellectual property throughout the life cycles of its products. For several important products, he enabled Roche to maintain lawful exclusivity for 20 years and beyond, and he won or settled the majority of the company’s patent litigations, ensuring marketing exclusivity and corresponding sales and licensing royalties worth over a billion dollars. He negotiated and prepared the company’s first successful co-promotion alliance agreement, leading to half a billion dollars in revenue. Mr. Johnston was also extensively involved in legislative activities benefiting the entire pharmaceutical industry. Most notably, he helped negotiate and lobby Congress to pass both the Hatch-Waxman Act (and led Roche’s successful efforts to obtain one of the first resulting patent extensions) and Process Patent Amendments Act. In addition, his creative approach for petitioning the FDA led to Roche becoming one of the first companies to obtain pediatric exclusivity rights.

“George's ability to strategically address client's intellectual property matters -- through the prism of his 30+ years of pharmaceutical industry experience -- is a skill set unmatched by most law firms,” says David E. De Lorenzi, Chair of the Gibbons Intellectual Property Department. “Recruiting key former in-house IP attorneys like George, who offer our clients a keen in-house perspective and an immersion in the issues and developments so critical to their businesses, has helped us immensely in assembling a high-level, diverse pool of talent and the most comprehensive slate of intellectual property services. "We are very pleased that George chose Gibbons as his new home."

Mr. Johnston served as the first Chair of the Patent Law Committee for what is now the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO). He was a long-time member of the Board of Directors of the Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO), a leading advocate for protecting IP rights, and has Co-Chaired the American Conference Institute’s long-running national conference, “Maximizing Biopharmaceutical Life Cycles.” He also serves on the Board of the Gibbons Institute of Law, Science, and Technology. Mr. Johnston earned his J.D. from Rutgers University School of Law and his Bachelor of Engineering (Chemical) with high honors from Stevens Institute of Technology. He is admitted to practice in New Jersey, New York and is registered to practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

About Gibbons P.C.

With 230 attorneys, Gibbons is a leading law firm in New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Delaware, ranked among the nation’s top 200 by American Lawyer. Gibbons was one of only 20 law firms nationwide named to the National Law Journal’s inaugural “Midsize Hot List,” which recognized firms with fewer than 300 lawyers that found innovative ways to position themselves in a turbulent legal market, demonstrating creativity and success in recruiting and retaining top talent, developing practice areas, and managing operations. For more information, please

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