MORGANTOWN – For the fourth year in a row, Morgantown lawyer Andrew Fusco has been named to Managing Intellectual Property magazine's list of IP Stars.
Fusco has been working in the area of intellectual property law since the late 1970s. His career in the field began in the pharmaceutical industry, focusing on lawsuits dealing with the infringement and enforcement of patents. His continued his relationship with pharmaceutical intellectual property law throughout the 1980s and 1990s and it became the foundation of his current work as a partner with the law firm of Bowles Rice.
Fusco began his path to a career in intellectual property law in 1970 when he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in business administration in finance from West Virginia University and then completed his Juris Doctorate from the same school in 1973.
Over the course of his decades-long career, he has had clients in transactions, litigation or administrative proceedings in 21 states and the District of Columbia, and in 13 countries outside of the United States. For much of the 1980s and 1990s, much of this work was related to the Hatch-Waxman Act, a 1984 law that set regulations for how intellectual property is handled for generic drugs.
"During this time I worked on many cases involving the Hatch-Waxman act," he told The West Virginia Record. "The act had to do with the litigation of generic drugs and for many years I worked on those lawsuits all over the United States."
He also served as a prosecuting attorney of Monongalia County from 1977 to 1981. He was the lead counsel for plaintiff in Mylan v. AKZO, et al., and special prosecutor in the matter of State v. Pierre E. Dostert, Circuit Judge in the Circuit Court of Jefferson County and related proceedings in the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals.
Over the course of his career, Fusco said that intellectual property law has changed dramatically, mainly thanks to the technology that has forever changed the ways the industry works.
"In the past, a company's main source of value was a brand name," Fusco explained. "But technology has made it possible to reverse engineer technologies and that has created more and more new challenges."
For example, in the pharmaceutical industry he said it has become common to see disputes about what kinds of compounds can and cannot be patented.
"There are now cases revolving around biological compounds rather than chemicals," Fusco said. "And in the software industry we talk about processes and systems, some of which can and can't be shown to be owned by a corporation."
He went on to say much of modern technology is so deeply integrated with other systems that it is often difficult to determine who has ownership of the processes or solutions involved.
"If you were to build a better mousetrap today, you would have to talk with the people who created the springs, the bait, et cetera," he added.
The IP Stars is a list maintained by the publication Managing Intellectual Property. Since 2013, its goal has been to rank the best firms who work with intellectual property. Fusco said he deeply flattered to be named to the list.
"It's quite an honor at this stage and it is gratifying to know I have distinguished myself to get the attention of my peers," he added.