Australia: Q&A with Nicholas Tyacke - all about Life Sciences, Intellectual Property and Technology
Last Updated: 9 July 2012

Nicholas is a Partner in the firm's Life Sciences and Intellectual Property & Technology practices. He is a dual-qualified (Australia and the United States) specialist intellectual property (IP) litigator. Nicholas offers a level of experience unique to the Australian market, having spent many years litigating IP disputes in both the US and Australia.

WHAT ARE YOUR KEY AREAS OF PRACTICE?

Patent law in the life sciences and technology sectors and copyright and trade mark law, as they relate to the internet and cutting-edge technologies.

WHERE HAS THE PRACTICE OF IP LAW TAKEN YOU?

Around the world. My love of IP law first took me to New York, where I obtained a Masters of Law from Columbia University. I then worked as a patent litigator at the New York office of Fish & Neave, one of the top specialist patent litigation firms in the US, for several years. While at Fish & Neave, I acted for many Fortune 500 life science and technology clients, including in one matter that went to the US Supreme Court. Since returning to Australia, IP law has then taken me to the UK, much of Europe, Singapore and New Zealand, as well as many return visits to the US.

WHAT ARE THE MOST NOTABLE CASES/ MATTERS YOU HAVE WORKED ON?

It's hard to choose, but three of my favorites would be:

  1. Defending Sharman Networks - the distributor of the peer-to-peer software Kazaa® - in what was at the time Australia's largest ever copyright infringement litigation. This was counterpart litigation to the Grokster case heard by the US Supreme Court, and was the first major Australian case to give detailed consideration to the application of copyright law to the internet.
  2. Acting for Eli Lilly & Company as part of a global team involved in multi-jurisdictional patent infringement and revocation proceedings. In the Australian proceedings, I acted for Eli Lilly in successfully resisting a challenge to the patent term extension of one of the patents-in-suit, successfully amending the claims of that patent in the course of litigation and successfully obtaining an interlocutory (preliminary) injunction enjoining the marketing of two generic competitors' products. The proceedings established an important set of guiding principles in Australia for determining when an interlocutory injunction will be granted in pharmaceutical patent infringement cases.
  3. Directly advising the then Australian Prime Minister on the legislation to implement the pharmaceutical and patent aspects of the Australia-US Free Trade Agreement. In doing so, I was able to call on both my US and Australian experience to advise from both perspectives.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE THING TO DO OUTSIDE OF WORK?

As much as I loved practicing law in New York, I always felt the call of Australia's beaches, the best beaches in the world. Since returning to Australia, I have been blessed with two sons. My favourite thing to do outside of work is to spend time at the beach with them and my wife.

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