On Monday, December 12. 2011 General Counsel Kerry
presided over the Office of General Counsel Annual Awards Ceremony. He
was joined by Secretary Bryson who delivered remarks, thanking the office for
their tireless work over the past year.
The Secretary acknowledged the great assistant that the office’s
attorneys and support staff have provided to him since his start at Commerce
and he looks forward to working closely with the staff. He introduced GC Kerry, who detailed the
broad range of accomplishments achieved by OGC office over the past year. He highlighted the successful completion of Patent
Reform and the successful litigation of the Supreme Court Case Golan v. Holder (10-545 ). He also applauded OGC’s contributions to
various other litigation matters as well as works in enforcing fisheries
regulations and export controls.
GC Kerry and Deputy General Counsel Geovette Washington presented
the Attorney of the Year Awards and the Support Staff of the Year
Award. The 2011 recipients are:
Attorney of the Year - Robert McManus – U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
Robert significantly advanced the goals both of the USPTO
and the Department to establish a strong patent system. Thanks to his efforts at the Supreme Court,
the Court adopted the Department's position which has been haled as resulting
in stronger and more reliable patent rights.
Robert was also instrumental in a wholesale re-writing of the rules
governing how appeals are conducted at the USPTO Patent Trial and Appeal Board
which will lead to more efficient review of patent applications. Robert routinely provides expert advice under
tight deadlines on complicated matters.
Support Staff of the Year - Debra Ketchopulos – National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration
Debra provided crucial support to the Gloucester's
Enforcement Section office maintaining continuity of operations in that region
in the absence of any enforcement attorneys for most of the year. During this time, she continued to coordinate
enforcement matters with the Office for Law Enforcement, fielding as many
inquiries herself as possible, while judiciously referring others to
headquarters for resolution. Debra also
responded to a large number of requests for case information from the Special
Master who was appointed by the Secretary of Commerce to review fisheries
enforcement, thereby greatly enhancing the Special Master's ability to timely
complete his review. After 34 years of
support to the NOAA Office of the General Counsel, she continues to be cited by
colleagues at all levels for her exceptional performance and willingness to
take on new tasks and increased responsibilities.