Gibbons Snags Ex-Roche Chief Patent Counsel For IP Practice

As reported in Law360 yesterday, 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 clients strategically-minded intellectual property attorneys with deep, hands-on industry experience. He also serves on the Board of the Gibbons Institute of Law, Science & Technology at Seton Hall University School of Law, a leading educational forum endowed by Gibbons to address the legal, political, and social issues that arise as scientific and technological changes challenge existing laws and legal institutions.

“George’s ability to strategically address client’s intellectual property matters, through the prism of his 30-plus years of pharmaceutical industry experience, is a skill set unmatched by most law firms,” David E. De Lorenzi, the chair of Gibbons’ IP department, said in a statement. “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.”

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.

Mr. Johnston served as the first Chair of the Patent Law Committee for what is now the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO). He was a longtime 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.” 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 and New York and is registered to practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office.