Photo of Sheldon R. Pontaoe

Sheldon R. Pontaoe

AA Contact Info

Cheryl Baber
Phone: 919.838.2023


Sheldon Pontaoe counsels clients on a broad range of legal issues in intellectual property, including trademarks, copyrights, domain names, social media and brand protection.

Sheldon has extensive life sciences and pharmaceutical experience and served as in-house counsel for industry-leading companies including Elanco, Eli Lilly and Company, Alcon Laboratories, Novartis Pharmaceuticals and GlaxoSmithKline. Sheldon started his legal career working for law firms in New York City.

Outside of the office, Sheldon enjoys golf, tennis and spending time with family and friends.


  • International Trademark Association (INTA) (1999-present)
  • Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association (PhRMA) Trademark Focus Group, (2001-2015), Chair (2014-2015)
  • Association of Corporate Counsel, Dallas-Fort Worth and Indiana Chapters (2011-2022)
  • General Counsel Forum (2015-2017)
  • GC Netweavers (2015-present)
  • Officer and Board Member, Triangle Intellectual Property Law Association (2001-2009)
  • National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (2001-2015)
  • Finalist for WTR Healthcare & Life Sciences Team of the Year Award (2013)
  • Alcon President and Novartis CEO Award (2012)
  • National Asian Pacific American Bar Association, "Best Lawyers Under 40" (2002)



  • Served as senior-level in-house attorney in several major international corporations.
  • Managed integration of legal functions and operations of numerous multi-billion and multi-million dollar merged, acquired, and separated entities.
  • Led cross-functional collaboration and coordination among internal functions and external organizations which contributed to implementation of the Madrid Protocol in the US, Colombia, and Mexico and changes in the way regulatory authorities review and approve the use of pharmaceutical trademarks.
  • Lead attorney during strategic review of top animal health company that resulted in successful Initial Public Offering (IPO) and creation of new independent Legal function.
  • Collaborated with internal functions and external counsel on due diligence and contract negotiations on M&A deals valued at more than $8 billion.
  • Managed pharmaceutical trademark development from name creation to name approval and obtained “best-in-class” results for generic name and trademark approvals at WHO, FDA, EMA and Health Canada.
  • Co-authored first version of “Social Media Guidelines” for major pharmaceutical company.
  • Supervised and handled domestic and foreign trademark litigations, oppositions, and cancellations, including the successful arbitration of more than 50 domain name disputes.
  • Coordinated global brand protection initiatives cross-functionally from identification, investigation, testing and enforcement relating to counterfeit and illegal parallel imported products.
  • Litigated Internet domain name case to favorable judgment pre-Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act.
  • Co-authored various pharmaceutical industry position papers and initiatives, including dual trademarks, “Good Naming Practice” and “PhRMA Drug Suffix Policy.”

News & Publications

Bar & Court Admissions

  • New Jersey
  • United States District Court for the District of New Jersey


  • New York Law School, J.D., 1994
  • University of Southern Indiana, B.S., 1989
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