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Name and title: Karen Cottle, senior vice president, legal; general counsel; and corporate secretary Age: 54 Software colossus: Founded in 1982, Adobe Systems Inc. of San Jose, Calif., is now one of the world’s leading software companies, with operations in North America, Europe, the Pacific Rim, Japan and Latin America. It develops, markets and supports software products and technologies for general consumers, creative professionals, digital photographers and video pros, and provides “intelligent document solutions” for document-intensive organizations. The firm boasts that almost every image seen in today’s print and electronic media has been touched by its Photoshop software, the industry standard in desktop digital imaging, and its Acrobat family of products using the PDF (portable document file) format. Adobe’s 3,500 employees have thus helped to spur a modern publishing revolution, along with generating fiscal 2003 revenues of $1.295 billion. Anti-piracy war: The illegal distribution and use of pirated software is a significant problem for Adobe and its competitors, and software piracy is a primary focus of Karen Cottle’s efforts. Because software is so valuable and can be copied rapidly and with ease, piracy is rampant, from individual thieves to professionals who deal in wholesale stolen or counterfeit items. As a result, the industry claims yearly losses of $12 billion in lost sales. Adobe has taken several steps to combat this vexing problem. Its anti-piracy enforcement group has created a Web site to discourage theft and other misuse. Adobe has also developed internal enforcement mechanisms to root out in-house pirates. It monitors e-mails selling software and works closely with eBay Inc. to purge suspect materials from auction sites. Cottle’s team also pursues resellers of pirated software and cooperates with law enforcement personnel in doing so. Adobe is a member of the Business Software Alliance, a Washington-based industry watchdog, which tracks down and prosecutes pirates, and which educates users about the risks of pirated software. The firm also joins with public policy groups in advocating positions on copyright protection. To guard further its products, Adobe now incorporates anti-piracy activation devices into some of its software. General Counsel’s general duties: “Intellectual property is the critical element of Adobe’s assets,” said Cottle, whose department “covers the bases” with respect to protecting it. In addition to the anti-piracy campaign, Cottle’s team is immersed in copyrights, trademarks and in-bound licenses. Copies of Adobe products, featuring their proprietary technology, are licensed all the way through the distribution channel to the end-user. Adobe is broadening its scope to focus more on “enterprise content management solutions,” in which it provides a common platform and repository for all of a company’s documents, e-mail and Web material. This move toward being an enterprise-focused company provides challenges and opportunities for the legal department, “but part of what makes the job fun,” Cottle said, “is an ever-changing technology world.” In response, she has added team members who specialize in enterprise software licensing, an area that differs from the traditional licensing done through standard distribution channels. Adhering to the corporate governance guidelines promulgated by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 typically is an ongoing and laborious process for general counsel. Cottle admits that the legal department has had to expend significant time and energy to grasp fully the new rules. She asserted, however, that Adobe already had proper practices in place prior to the act’s inception, so “it was [just] a matter of dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s to come into compliance with some of its technical requirements.” Legal team: Adobe’s legal agenda is in the hands of a 57-member team (including 27 attorneys), along with the anti-piracy enforcement and public policy groups. Cottle “does some of everything,” and directs a group of managers to whom the legal staff reports. She, in turn, is supervised by Bruce Chizen, Adobe’s chief operating officer and president. Responsibilities of her department are divided along the lines of an outbound licensing group, an intellectual property section and “lawyers who do traditional litigation, human resources, security and corporate matters.” The bulk of the legal activity occurs in-house with, for the most part, only some litigation and patent prosecution going outside. Adobe’s external counsel includes the local offices of Cooley Godward of Palo Alto, Calif.; Gray Cary Ware & Freidenrich; Fish & Richardson; and Baker & McKenzie. Being a global enterprise (one-half of the firm’s revenues are from outside the United States), Adobe Systems also has lawyers in England, Ireland and Japan. As a result of Adobe’s foreign inroads, Cottle has had to familiarize herself with non-American laws, particularly in the realm of licensing. Route to the top: The San Diego native graduated from Pomona College in 1971 with a bachelor’s degree in government. She received a 1976 juris doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley School of Law. Cottle then launched her legal career with a two-year stint clerking for a federal judge in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. San Francisco’s Farella, Braun and Martel, where she was an associate and business litigation partner, was her next stop. There she garnered experience in securities, antitrust, construction and general corporate and partnership matters. From 1986 to 1999, she lent her legal expertise to Raychem Corp., for which she served as division counsel, then vice president, general counsel and secretary. She singles out her predecessor at Raychem, from whom she absorbed the valuable ability to balance legal risk and business needs, as an important influence. Just prior to moving to Adobe, Cottle acted as general counsel for Vitria Technology Inc., a software and consulting services firm based in Sunnyvale, Calif. She has held her present position at Adobe since February 2002. Personal: Cottle and her husband, Bob, a pilot for Delta Airlines, have three sons: Brian, 25; Bobby, 23; and Garrett, 21. She is a “master swimmer” who also enjoys biking and skiing in vacation destinations such as Hawaii, Idaho’s Bear Lake and Jackson Hole, Wyo. A post-college backpacking jaunt through Europe was a seminal experience for the future lawyer.

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