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2016 Forty Attorneys Under 40 Presentation

Ivan  Poullaos
Ivan Poullaos
Winston & Strawn LLP
▶Intellectual property
40 Under Class – 2016

Ivan Poullaos has had a major impact, both in his practice and with the pro bono work he has turned in for Heartland Alliance’s National Immigrant Justice Center.

As one of the top patent attorneys in the Chicago area, Poullaos has nabbed several top results for clients in complicated cases. And as one of the strongest supporters of the National Immigrant Justice Center, Poullaos has helped clients achieve political asylum and permanent residency in the United States.

Poullaos has served as a key member of the trial team that invalidated a patent covering the blockbuster drug Baraclude, used for the treatment of Hepatitis B. This case was an important one, marking the first time a court invalidated a patent covering a new chemical compound based on the legal theory of obviousness. This same type of obviousness challenge had been attempted previously by lawyers in more than 22 different cases, resulting in no successes.

Poullaos also earned a significant trial victory in a case involving the generic version of the drug Testim, used to treat low testosterone levels. At the time, 10 patents had been asserted against Poullaos’ client. The trial, though, focused on one patent that would determine the fate of them all. After a two-week trial, post-trial briefing and closing argument, Poullaos’ team earned a ruling that the lone remaining patent was invalid. The court found that the claimed invention would have been “obvious,” and that the patent was also invalid for both derivation and incorrect inventorship.

These results, while impressive, are not rare ones for Poullaos, according to his peers.

“Ivan has the special ability to understand highly scientific and technical issues in drug development, and apply them to the complex framework of patent law,” said Ali Ahmed, chief intellectual property counsel for Lake Zurich, Illinois-based Fresenius Kabi USA. “The skills have been instrumental in giving Ivan a special ability to converse with scientific experts and consultants.”

Another client had this to this to say about Poullaos approach to his practice and clients, “Although he is a litigator, he takes the time to understand the client’s goals and find ways to meet those goals that maintains the integrity of the firm and my company.”

Mary Meg McCarthy, executive director of the National Immigrant Justice Center, said that Poullaos has been a vital supporter of her organization, helping the center in its goal of protecting the due process and access to justice for noncitizens in the United States.

McCarthy said that Poullaos, as a native of Zimbabwe who only recently became a U.S citizen himself, understands the complexities of the U.S. immigration system, and uses that knowledge to help others.

McCarthy pointed to the work that Poullaos did for a Mexican woman, helping her secure legal status and work authorization. He is currently representing an Eritrean woman in a mandamus action to compel U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to adjudicate her request for lawful permanent residency, which has been pending for more than 10 years.

“Without a dedicated pro bono attorney like Ivan, this woman’s case would be stuck indefinitely in the labyrinth of the U.S. immigration system,” McCarthy said.

Joshua Rich, with the Chicago law firm of McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff, said that he expects even more great things from Poullaos in the future.

“Ivan is a very skilled litigator and negotiator,” Rich said. “He advocates strongly, interrogates witnesses well and has a calm, confident demeanor with the court. He has helped shape cases in ways that have come back to provide great benefits to his client in the final decision.”

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