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The 25 Most Influential People in IP

Oct 06, 2010, 03:04 (0 Talkback[s])

"JOHN AMSTER

"Founder, CEO, RPX Corporation

"Many in the tech world were skeptical in September 2008 when lawyer John Amster launched RPX as a defensive patent aggregator with the mission of buying up patents and patent rights as a way of cutting into what he calls "the nonpracticing entity problem"—and what others call the "patent troll problem." Two years later, some of that skepticism is fading. In July, RPX announced the addition of eight new clients, including NEC Corporation and Hitachi, Ltd., to bring its total roster, which already included such tech titans as Cisco Systems, Inc., International Business Machines Corporation, and Microsoft Corp., to more than 50 clients. The RPX model—under which clients, according to their size, pay fees ranging from $50,000 to $5.2 million to protect themselves from NPE patent assertions—is clearly winning converts among the kinds of companies often targeted by NPEs. Amster is a long way from his stated goal of making the patent licensing marketplace more "rational" by eliminating the NPE "problem" altogether. Still, among patent defense groups, RPX alone appears to be making steady progress in that direction.

"ROBERT ARMITAGE

"Senior Vice President and General Counsel, Eli Lilly and Company

"In his 11 years at Lilly—and especially since ascending to his current post seven years ago—Armitage has helped shape every aspect of the pharmaceutical giant's stance on patent regulation, becoming an industry leader in the process. Last year, for example, he took a prominent role in negotiations over the Pathway to Biosimilars Act, legislation aimed at creating an approval process for generic versions of biotechnology-based medicines. While some suggested that new biotech-based drugs should get a relatively short period of exclusivity before facing generic competition, Armitage, with the help of Lilly's government affairs staffers, articulated the branded drugmakers' position by pushing for a 12-year window. Pharmaceutical companies, he argued, need a longer exclusivity period to recoup the huge sums they spend bringing new drugs to market."

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