IP Intensive: An Internship at Janssen - The Right Way to Do Drugs

IP Intensive: An Internship at Janssen - The Right Way to Do Drugs

As part of Osgoode's Intellectual Property Law & Technology Intensive Program (IP Intensive), I spent last semester interning at Janssen Inc., a pharmaceutical company of Johnson & Johnson, gaining more legal knowledge than I could have ever gained had I spent the same period of time in the classroom. No matter how much legal theory and history you learn in lectures, the only way to learn legal practice and develop your legal skills is by getting real experience, not by reading a book.

Days prior to me joining Janssen for 10 weeks the AstraZeneca decision was released, resulting in the abolition of the Promise Doctrine. This made for an eventful beginning to my internship as we prepared case comments and new practice tips based off this decision. The decision provided a substantial change to pharmaceutical litigation especially. For example, soon after beginning my internship I was asked to review some notice of allegations, I quickly noticed that the claims they made seemed to rely heavily on the Promise Doctrine. By the time I had finished reviewing them and reported the results, we had received word that the plaintiffs had already filed to amend their NOA’s as they knew with the release of the AstraZeneca case their claims would not hold. The practice changes that came with this decision continued to be a topic of discussion throughout my time at my placement.

While the new caselaw was a hot topic in the pharma world, it was not the only focus of my internship. I had the opportunity to attend meetings with team leaders within the company, which provided me with more knowledge of how a massive company such as Janssen operates. One of the biggest surprises was the lack of focus on maximizing profits. When people think of a public company that operates on a global scale, they generally think that everything the company does is about watching the money come in. At Janssen, there are numerous drugs being produced that are either given to those in need for free, or sold at a loss, because the company considers the public need for the drug more important than making large profits.

My internship experience was extremely valuable. Working on numerous contracts, attending meetings, researching the pharma industry, and having the opportunity to learn about relevant caselaw in a more practical way than I would in a classroom, I would not trade my time with Janssen for any semester of academia. Janssen provided a comfortable work place, and my supervisor, Diane Yee, proved not only to be a great supervisor who gave me freedom to operate, but also proved to be a fantastic mentor to me.

Anyone who has the chance to follow in the footsteps of students who have been a part of the IP Intensive Program under Professor D’Agostino and Professor Vaver would be extremely fortunate to have this unique opportunity.


Kyle Alber is a JD Candidate at Osgoode Hall Law School and was enrolled in Osgoode’s Intellectual Property Law and Technology Intensive Program. As part of the program requirements, students were asked to write a reflective blog on their internship experience.