FPA Patent Attorneys promotes four across the physics and engineering, and life sciences disciplines

Date: 2021-12-17
Author: John Dower

As the year draws to a close, we’re delighted to announce the promotions of:

For Akanksha and Alister, the appointment to Associate Principal will see each of them take on more leadership responsibilities with the Principal group, the physics and engineering team and across the firm more broadly.

“These promotions represent the outstanding and widely recognised contributions Akanksha, Alister, Sheila and Tian have made to their clients and the patent industry in general. They also exemplify the remarkable calibre of the talent within FPA Patent Attorneys,” comments John Dower, Managing Director of FPA Patent Attorneys.

Akanksha commenced her patent career in 2007 as a patent analyst at a reputable Indian IP firm, after completing her Masters of Telecommunications Engineering at Melbourne University. She moved to Australia in 2013 and joined another Australian firm as a trainee patent attorney before joining FPA in October 2015 after qualifying as a patent attorney. She was subsequently awarded the Institute of Patent and Trade Mark Attorneys of Australia’s prestigious ‘Institute Prize’ for being the top student. Akanksha specialises in electronics, telecommunications, electrical, and software engineering technologies, including quantum computing. She enjoys working closely with local clients, which gives her the opportunity to help setup and manage internal IP processes for clients, educate engineers on the importance of IP, and assist clients capture and assess their inventions.

Beginning his patent career with a premier German IP law firm, Alister registered as a European Patent Attorney in 2012 and gained extensive experience with European patent prosecution and oppositions before joining FPA in late 2015. With a background in mechanical engineering, Alister’s practice focusses on assisting Australian start-ups and SMEs with building and maintaining commercially driven patent and design portfolios. He also routinely handles complex oppositions in ensuring his clients' freedom to operate, and has provided patent attorney support in a number of cross-border litigation matters. While qualifying in Australia, Alister was awarded the AJ Park prize in 2018 for the best performing student in the University of Technology Sydney’s Drafting of Patent Specifications course.

Both Akanksha and Alister were named as MIP Rising Stars in 2018 and 2019, and in 2020 they received MIP’s new recognition award: ‘notable practitioner’— joining an esteemed group of senior practitioners, including some of FPA Patent Attorneys’ Principals.

Sheila completed her PhD in Medicinal and Pharmaceutical Chemistry at The University of Queensland in 2014, followed by her Masters of IP in 2017 at The University of Melbourne. Prior to joining the IP profession, Sheila gained over 5 years’ experience in chemistry research at the Institute for Molecular Bioscience at the University of Queensland, working as part of a team of chemists, molecular modellers, biologists and pharmacologists. Sheila is sought after for her chemical technology expertise in small molecule and peptide drug design and development, organic and medicinal chemistry, analytical chemistry, biological chemistry, polymers and biomaterials, food and beverage technologies, and oral and personal care compositions. It’s this depth of technical knowledge that sees local inventors, research institutes, universities and large multinationals seek her guidance with drafting, prosecution and opposition proceedings.

With a remarkable ability to absorb complex technologies, especially in the photonics space, Tian graduated in 2014 from the Australian National University with a Bachelor of Engineering (First Class Honours), majoring in Electronic and Communication Systems with a minor in photonic systems. This followed her undergraduate degree in engineering (electronic science and technology (photonics)) in Beijing before moving to Australia. She completed her PhD in Engineering at The University of Melbourne, focusing on optical wireless networks as an alternative to Wi-Fi using light instead of radio signals. Tian completed an internship as a Research Assistant at Australia’s ICT Research Centre of Excellence and was a lab supervisor with the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at Melbourne University. Throughout her studies, Tian has been the recipient of numerous scholarships, academic prizes and commendations. Tian is currently advancing her studies in the rapidly growing area of artificial intelligence.

These appointments will be effective from 1 January 2022.