scanrail /
11 July 2018Americas

LSIPR 50 2018: The promise of IP

Although she has focused exclusively on patent litigation for the past ten years, Manisha Desai stays in touch with patent procurement through remaining active in various IP policy matters, as LSIPR reports.

“The best parts of the job are also some of the greatest challenges,” Desai explains. “I love working with our affiliates and local counsel, especially in the emerging markets, as I can learn so much from them about local laws and procedures,” she adds, saying that she has managed patent litigation in Latin America, Russia, the Middle East, and South Asia, as well as across the US.

However, in emerging markets, expectations have to be managed when engaging in litigation in a country with a less-developed IP system.

It’s a balancing act. “It’s important to me that our affiliates know we care about how an outcome affects them, but we also have a responsibility to help them understand how our decisions in their country can impact our patent portfolio more broadly,” she says.

Complementing her work is her scientific background: Desai has a PhD in pharmacology and spent a decade conducting neuroscientific research before pursuing a law degree.

“Working on IP policy has been a great way for me to stay engaged in the research,” she explains. With her scientific understanding, Desai is well placed to liaise with policymakers on agreements which may affect the way research is conducted and protected.

Desai is never too far away from the research at Lilly. “Our patent attorneys get involved very early during the basic research process and stay involved through launch of a product,” she says. As with any biopharmaceutical company, developing a new product can be a lengthy project, spanning ten to 15 years.

“Discovering and developing medicines is a risky endeavour, but we should all be hoping for its success, as we need new medicines to combat existing and evolving diseases,” she adds.

A global backlash

Desai is particularly interested in the impact of the TRIPS Agreement in her native country, India.

“When I started in the patent division, there was a lot of hope and expectation about the certainty that the TRIPS Agreement would bring,” she explains. TRIPS promised that IP rights could be secured in countries that had not previously allowed pharmaceuticals to be patented.

Desai was not surprised that there was resistance to the implementation of TRIPS-compliant laws in countries such as India. “Their domestic generic industry thrived in the absence of pharmaceutical patents,” she explains, but what has surprised her is the global backlash against IP, particularly in the area of patents.

Already registered?

Login to your account

To request a FREE 2-week trial subscription, please signup.
NOTE - this can take up to 48hrs to be approved.

Two Weeks Free Trial

For multi-user price options, or to check if your company has an existing subscription that we can add you to for FREE, please email Adrian Tapping at