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Susan L. Foster, Ph.D.

Member

SFoster@mintz.com

+44.20.3868.6416

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Sue is a commercial lawyer with extensive experience advising clients regarding EU privacy regulations as well as life sciences and technology transactions. Sue is based in the UK, and her work is frequently international in nature. Sue is qualified in England & Wales and California, as well as being a Certified Information Privacy Professional/Europe. Start-ups to global companies seek her counsel on European data protection matters. For her life sciences clients, she helps structure large-scale drug development and marketing collaborations, licensing deals, spin-offs, and other agreements involving healthcare IT, consulting, R&D, manufacturing, and distribution arrangements.

Susan is qualified in England and Wales as well as California, and has experience practicing law in both the United States and the United Kingdom. She has been based in Mintz's London office since September 2007, and worked in the United Kingdom for another international law firm from 2001 to 2004. Susan is a Certified Information Privacy Professional/Europe (CIPP/E).

Susan works with clients primarily on European data protection compliance and licensing, collaborations, and commercial matters in the fields of clean tech, high tech, mobile media, and life sciences. She has represented a broad range of clients, from start-up companies to international industry leaders, and has significant experience with cross-border transactions.

Within the life sciences, Susan has assisted biotech, pharmaceutical, diagnostic, and medical device companies with licenses, collaborations, spin-offs, and agreements relating to consulting services, R&D, manufacturing, and distribution.

Within the high-tech and mobile media fields, Susan has advised clients on deals involving the sale and licensing of intellectual property rights; multi-tier distribution arrangements; OEM and value-added reseller arrangements; research, development, and consulting activities; and the provision and outsourcing of technology services. She has assisted mobile media and Internet services clients with service agreements and content licenses, including user-generated content and web-to-mobile deals.

Susan’s clean tech experience includes advising on a joint venture for the development and marketing of electric cars and various agreements relating to the development and sale of fuel cells.

She has spoken on data protection, open source software, European antitrust and technology transfer law, and other intellectual property and technology law issues at a number of webinars and conferences in the United States and the United Kingdom.

During law school, Susan was on the executive board for the Stanford Technology Law Review.

Education

  • Stanford University (JD)
  • Cornell University (PhD)
  • Cornell University (MA)
  • Princeton University (BA)

Recognition & Awards

  • Phi Beta Kappa

Recent Insights

News & Press

Viewpoints

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The European Commission has just published a consultation draft of the long-promised updated version of the Standard Contractual Clauses (SCCs).  The SCCs are the most commonly used legal mechanism for transferring personal data from the EEA to non-EEA countries (known as “third countries”).  In a nutshell, the new SCCs have finally caught up with the GDPR, which came into effect nearly two and a half years ago.  Once the Commission formally adopts the new SCCs, organizations will have a one-year grace period to transition from the old SCCs to the new SCCs.
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US companies and other organizations whose activities involve the use of personal information from Europe were unsettled by the EU Court of Justice’s July 2020 Schrems II decision that cast doubt on the lawfulness of transferring personal data from the EU to the US. The European Data Protection Board (EDPB) has now published its long-awaited guidance as to what it expects organizations to do to bolster protections for transfers of personal data. The new guidance imposes a very high burden on transferors and recipients of EU personal data.
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Practice Hero Privacy Cybersecurity Mintz
Organizations that transfer personal data from the European Union on the basis of the EU Commission-approved Standard Contractual Clauses (SCCs) may be breathing a sigh of relief on hearing that the SCCs have been upheld by the EU’s top court, the Court of Justice of the European Union in its decision in the Schrems II case.   However, the 5,378 US organizations that have certified to Privacy Shield will be deeply disappointed that the Court has invalidated Privacy Shield with immediate effect, just as it did Safe Harbor in 2015. 
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Does your organization transfer personal data from the European Union to the US?  If so, keep an eye out for a key decision on July 16 from the EU’s top court, the Court of Justice of the European Union.  The Schrems II case presents a challenge to the validity of the Standard Contractual Clauses, EU Commission-approved contracts that are widely used to satisfy the GDPR’s requirements for exporting personal data from the EU to other countries. 
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New Feature: Mintz Privacy Professionals in the News

April 14, 2020 | Blog | By Cynthia Larose

The Mintz Privacy team has been tracking privacy issues related to COVID-19. We have been featured in various publications talking about cybersecurity risks, GDPR regulations, the California Consumer Privacy Act, and more.
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Companies with employees in multiple European locations may well be feeling challenged both in keeping up with public health-driven guidance – and more recently, mandates – relating to the SARS-COV2 risks in the workplace.  On top of extraordinarily urgent efforts to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus while maintaining as much business continuity as possible, companies have legitimate concerns about their data protection obligations under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and national employment laws.
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Some US companies who do business in the UK are wondering whether they need to update their GDPR notices or take other steps now that the UK has officially left the European Union.  The answer is: Not yet.  The threat of a “Hard Brexit” with immediate changes to UK laws has passed.
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The European Data Protection Board (EDPB) recently published an updated version of its guidelines on the territorial scope of the GDPR, which were initially issued just over a year ago.  The revised Guidelines do not significantly change the EDPB’s essential framework for determining whether or not the GDPR applies to a given data processing activity.  The revised Guidelines do provide a few additional (and reasonably useful) examples as well clarifying a few points that were a bit hazy in the original formulation of the EDPB’s framework. 
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Brexit and UK-US data transfers: What’s the plan?

March 26, 2019 | Blog | By Susan Foster

Despite the overall political uncertainty about Brexit, worries about a sudden stop to personal data transfers from the UK to the US are misplaced, deal or no deal.  There is, in fact, a plan, and it’s a reasonable, practical plan.
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Companies based outside of the European Union sometimes find it challenging to determine whether the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) applies to them.  And if they finally work out that the GDPR applies, they then have the challenge of finding a local representative as required by Art. 27. 
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News & Press

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In an article published by Lexology, Mintz Member Susan L. Foster was quoted on how companies should assess their cybersecurity risk with the global increase in telework to slow the spread of COVID-19.
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Mintz Member Susan L. Foster was quoted in an article published by Lexology on General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) obligations for companies, particularly with respect to ongoing investigations or enforcement actions, as well as requirements for data sharing with other European Union data protection authorities during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Member Sue Foster, part of the firm’s Privacy & Cybersecurity group, provides commentary in this feature article discussing the Privacy Shield data transfer mechanism which is facing a new, series test in the form of a second review from U.S. and European officials.
Susan Foster, a Member in the Mintz London office, primarily works with clients on European data protection compliance and licensing in the fields of clean tech, high tech, mobile media, and life sciences.
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Mintz advised biotechnology company BeiGene, Ltd. on a collaboration with Celgene Corporation to develop and commercialize BeiGene’s investigational anti-programmed cell death protein 1 inhibitor, BGB-A317.
This Law360 feature article focuses on a draft of Regulation on Privacy and Electronic Communications that would impose stricter privacy rules on electronic communications to tech companies outside the traditional telecom space.
Member Susan Foster provides commentary in this Compliance Week article on how the European Union data protection authorities adopted a final version of the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield (WP29).
This article notes that Europe’s privacy regulators are backing the new EU-U.S. Privacy Shield data transfer deal. Authorities, according to the article, qualified that while they still carry some concerns about the framework, they will not challenge the Shield further for at least one year.
Member Susan Foster provides commentary in this article on how though fears of global market fallout resulting from the Brexit vote have largely gone unrealized, companies handling personal data are now facing similar concerns with regards to privacy regulation.
Member Sue Foster, a Certified Information Privacy Professional, provides commentary in this Business Insider article discussing the potential Brexit vote and the potential impact this could have on the European technology industry.
Member Sue Foster provides commentary in this The Hill article on the long-awaited Privacy Shield – a data-sharing deal between the United States and the European Union. The deal would allow tech companies to legally handle European citizens’ data.
Member Susan Foster provides commentary in this article on the Privacy Shield agreement between the United States and the European Union.
Member Susan Foster provides commentary in this article on how the transatlantic data exchange deal stands to be seriously threatened unless the U.S. “overhauls its national security laws.”
Member Susan Foster is quoted in this article on the upcoming deadline for the transatlantic Privacy Shield agreement, which will ensure the viability of data transfers between the U.S. and the European Union.
Member Susan Foster is quoted in this Law360 article on the importance for employers in the European Union to follow their surveillance policies and protocols carefully when monitoring their employees’ online activities.

Events

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2016

Who Owns the IP? The Situation in the U.S.

Association of Corporate Counsel

Tel Aviv, Israel

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