“It’s like working for a start-up inside a big company,” says Lisa Bowser, associate general counsel at Cognizant. After joining the tech company in 2015, Bowser moved from commercial transactions—licensing agreements for existing products—to support for software development groups in 2017.
“It is interesting to be doing something so entrepreneurial, the next level of sophistication,” she says of helping Cognizant rise to the first tier in the industry.
This rise is part of the legacy of an expanding organization. “Cognizant has had phenomenal growth,” Bowser says of the company’s transition from offering professional IT contractor services to providing front- and back-end tech infrastructure, applications, and services. “We add technology, not just humans, to companies,” she explains.
When Cognizant acquired TriZetto, a health insurance claim processing software company that deals with a significant percentage of all health insurance claims in the US, several years ago, the company delved further into developing its own tech. Bowser now supports those development teams.
Bowser’s IP role involves reviewing software that Cognizant develops and acquires to offer specialized digital solutions to companies around the world. When handling IP and tech transactions, she works on licensing and software as a service (SaaS) agreements to deploy the newly developed software.
Her skill set makes her part of an emerging specialty in product counsel: multifaceted attorneys who need to take on “a quarterback role” in software product development. She coordinates with team members working on security, privacy, and regulatory reviews that are undertaken before the software can be offered to clients. As new products roll out, Bowser also completes a complex checklist of critical legal support that includes copyright registration, trademark clearance, licensing agreements, and coordinating with the team that completes open-source software integration reviews.
Bowser’s focus, however, is hardly limited to new tech. At the same time that she moved into IP, she assumed the role of the company’s chief trademark counsel. Digging in, she realized that Cognizant’s products and services offerings had expanded considerably compared to what was reflected in trademark registrations filed closer to the company’s inception, when it focused on placing contract tech workers in-house at companies. Bowser led an impressive enhancement of Cognizant’s trademark protections, updating and expanding descriptions of the company’s products and services in forty-four countries.
Her work on the trademark project required a great deal of reaching out to understand all that is happening at Cognizant. “We have more than 280,000 employees worldwide,” she explains. “This was a huge deep dive into what we do.”
The trademark project meant registering under the additional trademark classifications of the products and services the company provides, from education to healthcare and financial technology to a broad range of information technology applications and services.
“We add technology, not just humans, to companies.”
Bowser’s range of skills mirrors the range of products she supports at Cognizant. In a moment, she says, when many companies that are not traditional tech companies are becoming tech driven, Cognizant is positioned to offer B2B support, facilitating moves to digital platforms. Bowser and her team support the development of solutions to enable companies to ride the next technology wave.
Right now, among other things, Cognizant is helping clients develop work-from-home capabilities with secure connections. Bowser, her contract managers, trademark search and copyright application specialists, and the subject matter experts she leans on to help spot issues make sure the legal path is clear for ever-expanding services.
Bowser’s global trademark process has also increased her knowledge about the whole company. New leadership at Cognizant promises to lean in on expanded marketing. Bowser is happy to know that, as she continues to support small team product development work, she is also well positioned to support the global marketing team in enhancing her company’s name recognition and reputation in the U.S. and around the world.
“I learned about our impressive technology, such as AI and analytics, that make a company’s operations more efficient and its interactions with clients more memorable,” she says, excited about the company’s upcoming projects. “I can help increase brand awareness and recognition.” In a fast-changing industry, she is proud to assist in Cognizant’s transformation.