Five minutes with… Anna Sosis, TD Bank Group
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Five minutes with… Anna Sosis, TD Bank Group

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Anna Sosis discusses the importance of IP education and explains why, away from IP, she could see herself becoming a mindfulness teacher

Welcome to the latest instalment of Managing IP’s ‘Five minutes with’ series, where we learn more about intellectual property practitioners on a personal as well as a professional level. This time we have Ana Sosis, senior counsel at banking corporation Toronto-Dominion Bank Group in Canada.

Someone asks you at a party what you do for a living. What do you say?

I am a lawyer, but not a typical one. I help protect valuable intellectual property assets, negotiate agreements, and manage an international trademark portfolio.

I explain that even banks hold a lot of valuable technology, and many contracts have terms that address IP. Additionally, TD Bank operates globally, so I work on IP matters in numerous countries.

Talk us through a typical working day.

My days vary depending on the matters I am handling. Typically, I start by reading emails, and prioritising urgent action items for the day. A significant portion of my day is spent in meetings advising internal clients, reviewing contracts, negotiating, and managing external counsel.

I also work on policies and strategy, and I read various publications to stay updated on current developments in the industry and law.

What are you working on at the moment? 

I am working on a diverse range of IP matters, such as brand protection, copyright, artificial intelligence (AI), sponsorships, technology transactions, trademarks, and IP licensing. It's a mixed bag.

Does one big piece of work usually take priority or are you juggling multiple things?

Priorities are driven by business activity and business timelines. If dealing with a large transaction, or another urgent matter, it takes priority. Most often, I find myself juggling multiple tasks. 

What is the most exciting aspect of your role and what is the most stressful?

The most exciting aspect of my role is finding creative legal solutions for complex challenges and enabling my business partners to move forward with their goals. It's heartening when we reach a consensus on an action plan and resolve a complex legal issue. Stress is a matter of perception. It can be positive and motivate action.

Tell us the key characteristics that make a successful IP lawyer/practitioner

As an in-house practitioner, understanding business goals and developing an IP strategy to support them is crucial. Forward-thinking and keeping an eye on the horizon are equally important.

Engaging in conversations with stakeholders about future business opportunities enables IP lawyers to craft forward-looking IP strategies. Keeping up with industry developments, building leadership, and soft skills, and being able to explain complex concepts concisely with a few visuals, in my view, are also important.

What is the most common misconception about IP?

One of the most common misconceptions is that IP protects the exclusive ownership of ideas and that ideas can be patented. While an idea is an important starting point for a patentable invention, much more is required before a patent can be obtained. I also find that the differences between patents, copyrights, trademarks, and trade secrets are not well understood and need to be explained.

What or who inspires you?

I am inspired by empathetic leaders because they possess a rare ability to truly understand and connect with the people they lead. By prioritising empathy, they foster a culture of trust and collaboration that ultimately leads to greater innovation and success.  

If you weren’t in IP, what would you be doing?

If I weren't in IP, I might pursue a career as an actuary, data scientist, or computer programmer developing AI tools. I've always been fascinated by numbers and solving puzzles. Alternatively, I could see myself as a mindfulness teacher, teaching meditation skills. The possibilities are endless.

Any advice you would give your younger self?

If I could give advice to my younger self, it would be to embrace every opportunity to learn and grow. Take risks and embrace mistakes as they are essential for personal and professional growth.

Above all, trust in your abilities and intuition, and never underestimate the power of perseverance in overcoming challenges.

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