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Dave Justmann
Dave Justmann

In-House Counsel 2021: Dave Justmann

As the pandemic spread last year, equipment manufacturer Smiths Medical played an essential role in helping companies in other countries gain access to its ventilator design.

Various governments around the world placed ventilator orders far too large for Smiths Medical’s production capacity. With the need so vast, chief intellectual property counsel Dave Justmann went to work crafting licensing agreements with manufacturing consortiums in the United Kingdom and Australia.

The successful agreements gave the countries “everything they needed to know to make copies of our ventilators,” he said. “It described the entire process on how to make these ventilators.”

Last year, Justmann also trained Smiths Medical engineers on operation of the face mask production line and troubleshooting basics. As an inventor and former manufacturing engineer, he gave employees training on what to expect during production. More recently, he led an effort to ramp up Smiths Medical’s inoculation syringes supply.

Justmann joined the company 12 years ago. Back in the days before he got his law degree, he invented several health care products and manufacturing processes. Attorneys managing patent submissions for his inventions would often ask him to write different sections. He decided to take the next step and earn a law degree with a focus on patent protection.

Years later, he was attracted to Smiths Medical by the challenge of starting up an in-house intellectual property operation. Justmann later expanded its purview to three sibling divisions of parent company Smiths Group.

Active in several organizations, he also serves as president of the Minnesota Chief Patent Counsel Roundtable and as an executive committee member of the Association of Corporate Patent Counsel, a leading national chief patent counsel organization. Although primarily an attorney, Justmann continues to invent, recently developing improvements to intravenous catheters and infusion devices for people living with diabetes. “I still love creating inventions that improve our products,” he said.

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