They help entrepreneurs to protect their knowledge
Hanna Sonning

Setterwalls is one of Sweden’s leading law firms within the field of life sciences. Meet Hanna Sonning, Senior Associate at Setterwalls and Member of the Swedish Bar Association, and her colleagues at Park Annual, 30 November.

Publish date: 2022-10-27 Text: 
Katharina Hedström

Setterwalls are gold sponsors for this year's Park Annual and you and some of your colleagues will be present at the event. What are you looking forward to?

– The last two years, Park Annual has been remote. This year, I look forward to meeting people from the industry, listening to what topics and concerns that are top of mind right know.

Setterwalls is one of Sweden’s leading law firms within the field of life sciences. Howdo you support companies in the industry?

The pharmaceutical and life sciences industries are among the most heavily regulated in the world, with laws and guidelines constantly shifting. We can assist when it comes to issues relating to permits and approvals, rules on marketing and cooperation and interaction between industry and healthcare. Also, values are often linked to intellectual property such as inventions, trademarks, data and other knowledge, which is more difficult to protect in legal terms than tangible assets – and easier to steal or copy. My job is to help our clients protect their knowledge, but also assist when they want to sell it. We are familiar with the conditions and needs of the companies, whether it is a newly founded research-based company within biotechnology or an internationally established company group within food.

What is required of you as a legal firm to be a strategic partner to life science companies?

– You must understand the industry, the different steps from development to market and what the challenges are to be able to provide legal advice with quality.

The theme for this year's Park Annual is Entrepreneurship and Collaboration for health. From a legal perspective, what do you need to consider to ensure good conditions for such collaborations and why is it important?

– Collaboration and knowledge-sharing are the backbone of the life science industry. At the same time, knowledge is the company’s main asset. It’s important to carefully consider what knowledge you can share with your partners and what knowledge you shouldn’t share. And this needs to be regulated both in relation to the knowledge the parties’ enter into a project and in relation to the results of the project. Ownership of the results, cross-licensing of IP, publication rights, these are complex matters and often the parties’ have opposite interests. Openness is important in a collaboration, but you need to be aware of the degrees.  

What are the possible pitfalls?

– One is that you haven’t thought through what you want to gain from the cooperation and act overprotective. Holding on to your own knowledge too tightly means that you cannot make full use of the collaboration since your partner probably don’t want to share more than you do. Having an agreement on what to share and not share enables a more productive and safe collaboration.

Finally, we look forward to meeting you at Park Annual. What questions or concerns will be possible to discuss with you at the event?

– I hope that me and my colleagues will be able to answer all legal questions that companies may have, and if we cannot answer off-the-cuff we can get back with an answer.

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