In-house Counsel of the Year: Sophie Bodet, GlaxoSmithKline

Dispersed around the globe, the GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) trademark team handles a challenging workload with aplomb, under what one nominator hailed as the “impressive” stewardship of vice president and head of global trademarks Sophie Bodet. “No matter how complex a case is, the team is equipped with the skills and energy necessary to handle any situation in an exceptional manner,” the nominator concluded.

Generously, however, Bodet credits her team as the driving force behind this success. “We are a global team with dedicated product responsibilities for all aspects of trademark and brand protection,” she expands. “We also have individual owners for key areas such as anti-counterfeiting, copyright and digital media, and we serve GSK in all the global markets where we operate. We take pride in the diversity of our experience and backgrounds.”

Given the store that she sets in her team, its ongoing evolution has been a primary focus over the last 12 months: “Leading the team through some tough times, developing our talents within the group and making sure we always have the most relevant organisation in place, as well as having interesting training programmes, have really been keeping me busy.”

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Support for the trademark function is also on hand through an “extensive network of external counsel in almost every country of the world. Handling this is another significant challenge that keeps us very busy, but it remains critical for us to ensure effective management of external counsel”.

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John Olsen of Locke Lord presents Sophie Bodet with her award

In spearheading these efforts, Bodet brings invaluable industry experience to the table – when she joined GSK as vice president, head of global trademarks in 2008, she had already chalked up some 15 years in the sector. “I have always enjoyed working in the pharmaceutical industry and I am especially proud to be part of GSK,” she enthuses. “The organisation has launched major initiatives in the recent past that clearly demonstrate that the company is behaving responsibly. Such initiatives include innovative partnerships, transparency, a new approach to access to medicines and a real focus on the patient. It is rewarding and energising to be part of that change.”

Bodet has made her own personal contribution to the development of the industry through her presidency of the Pharmaceutical Trademarks Group (PTMG), something which she cites as her highlight of the past year: “Taking on additional responsibilities – internally, within GSK’s legal department, but also externally while I was chairing the PTMG, which has been a fantastic experience. Within GSK, it is also extremely gratifying to see that my team is highly regarded and we are regularly commended for the quality of our services, as well as our rigorous processes and procedures.”

Other nominees:

Lauren Dienes-Middlen, World Wrestling Entertainment

Colm Dobbyn, MasterCard

Richard Graham, Richemont

Karen Law, Alibaba

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