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Sidebars

Author: Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP

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This limited podcast series hosted by Kilpatrick Townsend Partners Kim Davis and April Abele Isaacson features today's leading women in the patent bar. Each of the episodes is a candid conversation between groundbreaking women legal practitioners about their career paths, the obstacles they overcame in reaching success, and the steps we as a profession must still take to close the gender gap in intellectual property law and the patent bar.
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April Abele Isaacson has 25 years of experience as a trial lawyer and a registered United States patent attorney. Before starting her legal career, April earned a MS in Pharmacological and Physiological Sciences and was an HIV/AIDS research scientist at Boston Children’s Hospital. This technical background plays a significant role in her success as a patent litigator who focuses her practice on pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and chemical patent litigation, particularly on behalf of drug innovators. Her patent litigation experience includes trying cases in several federal district courts throughout the United States, as well as appeals before the Federal Circuit, representing both plaintiffs and defendants. April also counsels biopharma companies on patent and related regulatory issues, including patent portfolio strategy, litigation preparation and strategy, licensing, patent term extension strategy, and Orange Book patent listing and Use Code strategy. April’s experience also includes a 5-year stint as in-house counsel at a public specialty pharmaceutical company, and serving as a U.S. Navy JAG Corps prosecutor where she won several high-profile jury cases and earned multiple achievement medals and letters of commendation for superior service and leadership. April’s career is a truly her own creation, and her success is built on grit, tenacity, and love of learning. At every turn, she bet on herself and did the hard work that opened new doors. In this episode, April shares her journey and the forces that shaped her life and her career – from mental illness in her family to a changing political landscape in the country to the crucible of serving in the Navy. She also shares how determination and focusing on being her best self allowed her to build a bespoke career that fits her perfectly and that she loves – a career that didn’t come with an instruction manual. Highlights include:Why 1984 was the perfect year to attend a Seven Sisters college (2:00) Embracing culture shock (4:35)Finding your tribe (6:38)Leaving it all on the (track-and-)field (7:42)Spurning an athletic scholarship (10:13)The invaluable support of others when there’s no family support to lean on (12:14)How Shirley Chisholm derailed plans for medical school (15:06)Letting go of other people’s dreams and expectations and finding your own (20:53)Creating a Master's degree in a school that doesn’t award them (24:16)Hello, law school, Hello Nashville (27:42)Growing as a leader and a litigator through the Navy JAG Corp experience (30:43)Cross-country and cross-careers: the move to California and to patent litigation (37:21)The generational shift from women competing against each other to a collaborative, symbiotic approach (42:27) Getting ahead in life does not require a “sharp elbows” mentality (45:45)
Kim Davis is a rising star in the patent bar. Kim earned a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Emory University and her scientific training is instrumental in her practice, which focuses on prosecuting foreign and domestic patent applications in pharmaceuticals, the chemical arts, and metallurgy, due diligence and freedom to operate analysis, and client counseling and portfolio strategy for companies, universities, and research institutions. Among Kim’s many honors and accolades, she was recognized in 2018, 2019, and 2021 as a Georgia "Rising Star" in the area of Intellectual Property by Super Lawyers magazine, and named a “40 Under 40 Leader” by Emory University Alumni Association in 2020. Kim also serves as the co-chair of KT Voice, Kilpatrick's resource group focused on promoting the interests of Black attorneys.  Kim is also a National Board Member and Chair of the Atlanta Advisory Board for Jumpstart, a non-profit organization dedicated to ensuring all children enter Kindergarten prepared for success.The story of how Kim got to her present position and her current career success is full of pivots, twists, and surprises. In this episode, Kim pulls back the curtain and shows us how her relentless drive for excellence and achievement, which has been a constant factor in her life since her high-school days, allows her to navigate an imperfect career path to reach her perfect outcome.Highlights include:•  The eternal question: doctor or lawyer? (1:06) •  A valedictorian competition, a pivot, and a prestigious new path (3:40)•  A reality check, a gut reaction, and yet another pivot to a new career (8:02)•  An Eli Lilly internship provides a glimpse of two potential futures: bench science vs. patent law (12:13)•  The importance of honesty for finding the right mentor (17:00)•  Being proactive in building networks pays huge career dividends (20:01)•  Working 9-5…and 5-9 (in evening law school) (26:05)•  Making the move from to Kilpatrick Townsend (29:44)•  Designing a great career takes thought…and a checklist (31:48)•  Tackling the PTO presidency during a pandemic (34:29)•  When your career takes an unexpected detour on its way to partnership (37:09)•  How to be a great mentee and how to mentor others (42:22)•  The value of being “the only” in your category (46:33)
Setting the Bar

Setting the Bar

2021-03-0816:32

Why does a gaping gender gap persist in the patent bar and what’s to be done about it? In this inaugural episode of Sidebars, a limited-series podcast for women in patent law, Kilpatrick Townsend partners April Abele Isaacson and Kim Davis set up a discussion of these issues, which they will continue to explore in future episodes through interviews with phenomenal women in patent law, many of whom are “firsts,” or in some cases “onlys” even today. April and Kim also share some stories of their own careers and the pivot points that inspired them to create this podcast.Meet the Hosts:•  April Abele Isaacson, M.S.•  Kimberlynn B. Davis, Ph.D.Articles Mentioned in the Episode:•  “Senators Tell Iancu Patent Bar Needs More Women” (Law360)•  “The Patent Bar Gender Gap: Expanding the Eligibility Requirements to Foster Inclusion and Innovation in the U.S. Patent System” by Mary Hannon•  “Diversity in Patent Law: A Data Analysis of Diversity in the Patent Practice by Technology Background and Region” (American Bar Association, Landslide)•  U.S. Senators' Letter to USPTO Director•  "Where Have all the Patent Lawyers Gone? Long Time Passing..." by Kenneth L. Port, Molly Littman, and Lucas Hjelle•   USPTO Director Andrei Iancu's response to U.S. Senators' LetterLearn More:•  Visit the Kilpatrick Townsend MEMO Blog•  Check out other insights from Kilpatrick Townsend **The opinions expressed are those of the attorneys and do not necessarily reflect the views of the firm or its clients. This podcast is for general information purposes and is not intended to be and should not be taken as legal advice.**
We're pleased to introduce Sidebars! This limited podcast series by Kilpatrick Townsend's biopharma team showcases today's leading women in the patent bar. Each of the episodes is a candid conversation between groundbreaking women legal practitioners about their career paths, the obstacles they overcame in reaching success, and the steps we as a profession must still take to close the gender gap in intellectual property law and the patent bar.Meet the Hosts:•  April Abele Isaacson, M.S.•  Kimberlynn B. Davis, Ph.D.Learn More:•  Visit the Kilpatrick Townsend MEMO Blog•  Check out other insights from Kilpatrick Townsend **The opinions expressed are those of the attorneys and do not necessarily reflect the views of the firm or its clients. This podcast is for general information purposes and is not intended to be and should not be taken as legal advice.**
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