MTIF 2018 Speaker Bios

Christy Lea, Partner, Knobbe Martens

Christy is a partner in the Orange County office of Knobbe Martens specializing in intellectual property (IP) law where she co-manages the medical device litigation group. She has represented clients in the medical device and pharmaceutical industries for nearly two decades, including Smith & Nephew and Edwards Lifesciences.  Notably, Christy co-led the trial team that won $112M for client CardiAQ Valve Technologies (acquired by Edwards Lifesciences for $400M) in a trade secret dispute with a vendor.   Christy has been named a “Life Science Star” by Legal Media Group (LMG) Life Sciences, a “Woman to Watch” by the American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA), a “Top 10 Life Sciences Litigator” by Managing IP magazine, and a Southern California “Rising Star” in intellectual property law by Super Lawyers magazine.


Sabing Lee, Partner, Knobbe Martens

Sabing H. Lee is a partner in the Orange County office of Knobbe, Martens, Olson & Bear, LLP.  Mr. Lee received his bachelor’s degree in Materials Engineering, Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude, from UCLA, and also received his master’s degree in Materials Science and Engineering from UCLA.  He received his J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law (Boalt Hall), where he was an Articles Editor and Executive Editor for the Berkeley Technology Law Journal. Mr. Lee’s practice includes strategic patent procurement, patent portfolio management, intellectual property due diligence and general counseling on infringement, licensing, interferences and post-grant proceedings.  Mr. Lee currently represents clients in a wide range of technologies, with an emphasis on medical devices and procedures and materials science.

[MTIF has] grown each year, and in the last two years, we’ve really changed it to be not just device, but to be medical technology on a much broader scale.”
— Bill Carpou, CEO , OCTANe to SCN


Rob Michiels, Former CEO, CardiAQ Valve Technologies

Rob Michiels is a global, multilingual executive with an extensive track record in the management of medical device companies, both within large corporate and start-up environments.  Skilled at spearheading the global development and commercialization of emerging technologies, he combines operations management, sales, marketing and business development expertise with technology skills and regulatory/environmental knowledge.  He most recently served as CEO of CardiAQ Valve Technologies, a venture funded start-up developing Transcatheter Mitral Valve Implantation, which was acquired by Edwards Lifesciences during the second half of 2015.  He previously served as President and COO of CoreValve, a venture funded start-up that developed one of the two leading Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation technologies (acquired by Medtronic in 2009) and as President and COO of InterVentional Technologies, a venture funded start-up that developed several key interventional cardiology devices (acquired by Boston Scientific).  He is also a founding partner of CONSILIUM, a medical device market research company active in identifying, funding and greenhousing start-up technologies.  He is currently a director of EDAP TMS, Aegis Surgical Ltd, Atrius Ltd, and FEops NV, all companies developing cutting edge less invasive technologies.  Fluent in English, French and Dutch, he holds a bachelor's degree in economics from Antwerp University in Belgium and an MBA from Indiana University.


Keith Studdard, Vice President, Government Affairs & Political Strategy, Jeffrey J. Kimbell & Associates

Mr. Studdard spent two and a half years in the House of Representatives serving as Legislative Director to U.S. Representative Marsha Blackburn (R-TN). Blackburn currently serves as Vice Chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee where she sits on four critical subcommittees including the Subcommittee on Health and Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. She also serves on the House Budget Committee and is a founding member of the Republican Women’s Policy Committee. Finally, Rep. Blackburn is a House Deputy Whip and serves as a Vice-Chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee.During his time with Rep. Blackburn, Keith was involved in debate and negotiations over numerous pieces of health care related legislation including the Affordable Care Act, the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act, and the Drug Quality and Safety Act.