Industry insiders and watchers praised President Clinton'schoice earlier this month of Bruce Lehman as assistantcommerce secretary and commissioner of patents andtrademarks.

"I think he is a very strong supporter of innovation andtechnology," David Beier, vice president for government affairsat Genentech Inc., told BioWorld. "We worked together inCongress for a long time, so I know Bruce very well. This isgood news for the biotech industry."

As chief counsel to the Intellectual Property Subcommittee ofthe House Judiciary Committee, where he came to work in1974, Lehman was responsible for legislation on intellectualproperty. He helped develop a law, passed in 1980, to protectcomputer software, and worked hard on patent termrestoration as well.

He left the committee in 1983 for Swidler and Berlin, where hehas been practicing ever since. "He has remained committed tohigh-technology companies and is very likely to be aggressive,"Beier told BioWorld. "Domestically, Bruce is oriented towardsolving problems and making sure innovation is rewarded."

"I like him immensely," added Peter Barton Hutt, former chiefcounsel to FDA. "He and I appeared on a panel discussion onpatent term restoration," Hutt told BioWorld. "He's a strongbeliever in the patent system, and very intelligent."

"I believe that Lehman will be particularly effective as anadministration spokesman for the need for intellectualproperty protection internationally," Gerald Mossinghoff, headof the Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association, toldBioWorld.

"He knows a lot about politics, and he probably is going to befair-minded," Michael Blommer, executive director of theAmerican Intellectual Property Law Association, told BioWorld.

(c) 1997 American Health Consultants. All rights reserved.

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