Technology company BTG has lured Robin Saphra as its first general counsel from T-Mobile International, the mobile division of Deutsche Telekom
Saphra will assume corporate responsibility for intellectual property and legal affairs on a global basis, sitting on the company's executive committee as well as on the board in his additional role as company secretary. BTG develops and commercialises technologies, working alongside inventors. Saphra will advise on assisting inventors in developing and exploiting patents by way of licensing and investment, as well as advising on business strategy and general management. The company has offices in London, Philadelphia and Japan. The legal capability at BTG consists of 24 lawyers and patent attorneys, which are split between the US and UK offices. Saphra joins BTG after two years at T-Mobile, where he was recently appointed as executive director of strategic development. Prior to that, he spent three years as director of legal affairs and public policy at One 2 One, before its acquisition by Deutsche Telekom in 1999. T-Mobile was set up as a holding company by Deutsche Telekom so that it could concentrate on expanding its business. Saphra managed the third-generation (3G) mobile auction throughout Europe and led a number of competition referrals, but was also heavily involved in the litigation with the UK Government and Oftel regarding 3G licenses. BTG has no formal panel, but its main adviser is Allen & Overy. Saphra confirmed that his duties would include reviewing external law firms, but noted that it is still very early days.