Uppsala University Innovation strengthened by new adviser

5 December 2016

Portrait of Olivia Tolan.

Olivia Tolan has recently joined Uppsala University Innovation as adviser on intellectual property law.

With nearly 20 years’ experience of working with intellectual property (IP) law at patent law firms and in industry, Olivia Tolan has now taken the leap into the academic sphere as new IP adviser at UU Innovation. In this role, she will support the University’s researchers with assessments and advice focusing on patent and IP strategies for business ideas in life sciences, chemistry and mechanics.

Olivia Tolan has Swedish roots but is born and raised in New York state. She has many years’ experience of working and living in Sweden but she was most recently Senior Patent Attorney at Syngenta in Switzerland where she worked for just over six years. At Syngenta she handled the company’s IP and patent strategies for both established products and products under development in the business field of pesticides. Advice, competitor monitoring, disputes, negotiations and contracts were also part of the job. This is now her third move to Sweden, but living in Uppsala will be a first, as will working in the academic world. After having worked for many years at patent firms and in industry in both the US and in Europe she was curious to work with IP issues in academia. And the opportunity to do so in Sweden was enticing.

“I have always felt that I was meant to return to Sweden. I like it here and Uppsala seems to be a pleasant town,” says Olivia Tolan, adding that she should probably find herself a bike to blend in.

She is looking forward to working in a new field. Her years in the industry have led to many contacts with both universities and research institutes, but now it’s all about changing perspectives, and being able to use her full range of technical abilities.

“Getting to work with researchers and to combine my specialist skills with theirs feels great. In my role as IP adviser I will also hold courses on intellectual property law issues, which is something I really enjoy doing and have done a lot during my years at Syngenta,” she says.

Olivia has studied biology at Virgina Tech. After a few years of working with drug formulation at a commissioned research company she went back to school and got a law degree from George Mason University, alongside working with IP issues at a consultant firm. Her CV also lists a degree in European intellectual property law from Stockholm University. Olivia is both a European and American patent attorney and when she celebrates 20 years in the IP field next year she will no doubt be well on her way to contributing to new innovations and research.

“At Uppsala University Innovation there is a skilled team of IP and business advisers who are all devoted to making the best use of research and knowledge from the University. I feel I have found just the right place for me,” says Olivia.