As trademark counsel at Mars Inc. subsidiary Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co., Ann H. Chen protects the brand assets of popular products like Juicy Fruit, Orbit, Starburst and Skittles. The former law firm associate went in-house in July 2008, joining Wrigley because she wanted to have a direct hand in how a business operates.
“Ann is an incredible energetic force,” chief trademark counsel Stacy Chronopoulos said. “She has spearheaded our social-media space. She uses her legal skills to come up with practical business solutions.”
In 2009, Chen teamed up with Wrigley’s marketing and other departments to create global guidelines for social media. That same year, she began working with outside attorneys and inside counsel in China and California to curb the substantial brand infringements in China. “I had to become an expert in the Chinese trademark legal system,” said Chen, who speaks Mandarin. “We’ve seen great success in reducing the knockoffs, and even created legal precedent through litigation.”
In 2008, Chen created a quarterly networking event for female in-house and firm lawyers to promote business and career development. Among an impressive catalog of professional affiliations, she is president of the board of directors of the Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Chicago Area Law Foundation, a financial sponsor of the Chinatown Pro Bono Legal Clinic. She represents Wrigley on the Chicago Intellectual Property Alliance. She also serves on the board of West Suburban Tennis Patrons, which provides tennis camps to disadvantaged youth.
In September, she will join the legal team of Wrigley’s parent, Mars.
“There are not that many in-house lawyers under 40, especially ones with long lists of credentials,” said Susan Hackett, chief executive officer at Legal Executive Leadership.
— Sherry Karabin