Leading Our Team: The Office of General Counsel Senior Management Retreat

Deputy General Counsel Justin Antonipillai discussing Secretary's initiative

This year the Office of General Counsel hosted its yearly Senior Management Retreat at the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The retreat started with an open and engaging conversation with White House Counsel, Neil Eggleston who discussed his experiences in the federal government and its utility in supporting the Obama Administration as White House Counsel.

In support of Secretary Pritzker’s “America is Open for Business” Agenda, the Office of the General Counsel hosted two panel sessions supporting Strategic Goals Two and Three, Innovation and Environment. One panel focused on the overall lifecycle of innovation and was led by Vikrum Aiyer, Deputy Chief of Staff for the United States Patent and Trademark Office and Gregory Godbout, Deputy Associate Administrator and Executive Director of 18F at the General Services Administration. On environment, the additional panel focused on the impact of climate change and the Administration’s response with guest speakers Brandi Colander, Counselor to the Assistant Secretary for Land and Minerals Management at the Department of the Interior and Tom Karl, Director of the National Climatic Data Center for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Deputy General Counsel Justin Antonipillai discussed the Secretary’s vision on management, mentoring, and training at the Commerce Department

Power Africa: Power Purchase Agreements Consultation Workshop

Led by Nnamdi Ezera and Mohamed Badissy, The Commercial Law Development Program (CLDP) held a Regional Stakeholders Workshop on Refining the Annotation of Africa Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) in Abuja, Nigeria. The program featured 70 participants, including government officials and representatives from power utilities, transmitters, distributors and regulators in West Africa. The program is a follow-up to a CLDP program in March 2014 to review and annotate the most heavily negotiated and disputed provisions of power project contracts. This second program aimed to gain much-needed government stakeholder perspectives and ownership of the annotated PPA. It was attended by the Nigerian Minister of Power and CEOs from the Nigerian Bulk Electricity Trading Plc, the Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission, and the Africa Finance Corporation. Julie Wenah provided reflections from Secretary Pritzker’s West Africa Trade Mission and Trade and Investment Speech the previous month in Accra, Ghana and Lagos, Nigeria as well as the Administration's commitment to double access to power in Sub-Saharan Africa. Attorney-experts from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation and international and Nigerian firms gave presentations on offtake obligations, power payments, force majeure, sovereign guarantees, and dispute resolution. The issues raised and the perspectives gleaned from the workshop will be the basis for potential power-market reform, and will be included in the final PPA Annotation tool.

U.S. Commerce Department General Counsel Cameron F. Kerry Delivers Final Policy Address at the German Marshall Fund of the United States

General Counsel Cameron F. Kerry at the German Marshall Fund of the United States

On August 28, 2013, General Counsel Cameron F. Kerry delivered a policy address at the German Marshall Fund on the international impact of privacy and security issues.  Please click the link for the remarks, entitled "The Impact of Privacy and National Security on International Commerce in the Digital Age."  The speech reflected on the work of the Commerce Department to sustain and promote the digital economy.  General Counsel Kerry described work on privacy legislation and international engagement and expressed concern that any step back from the US-EU Safe Harbor Framework would "set the trading relationship between the U.S. and EU backward...."

NIST, DOJ Form Commission to Develop Guidelines for Forensic Labs

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology and the U.S. Department of Justice announced on February 15, 2013 the establishment of a National Commission to Develop Guidelines for Forensic  Labs. http://www.commerce.gov/blog/2013/02/21/nist-doj-form-commission-develop-guidelines-forensic-labs

The Commercial Law Development Program Assists the Egyptian Customs with Integrity Program Roll Out

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On January 9-16, the Commercial Law Development Program and the Office of the Assistant General Counsel for Administration held ethics training for Egyptian Customs Authority (ECA) officials in Alexandria, Port Said, and Cairo. The training supports the ECA’s implementation of a comprehensive integrity program, to include the adoption of Ethics rules and guidelines, as well as a plan to engage key stakeholders.  For further information on the program, see the CLDP website: www.cldp.doc.gov

Nine Office of General Counsel Attorneys Admitted to the U.S. Supreme Court

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On Monday, November 9, 2012 General Counsel Cameron Kerry moved to admit nine attorneys from the Office of the General Counsel to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court.  Pictured with General Counsel Kerry are the following (from left to right):  George Kivork, Joseph Bartels, Michelle McClelland, John Broderick, Geovette Washington, Shraddha Upadhyaya, Kathryn Kempton, Michelle Branigan, and Megan Walline.

OGC CFC Kickoff Kickball Game

The Kerry CFC "Cam"-paigners and the Washington Whirlwind after their 3-3 tie kickball game in support of the Combined Federal Campaign

The Department of Commerce Office of the General Counsel kicked off their 2012 Combined Federal Campaign drive by hosting an office-wide CFC Kickoff Kickball game.  Celebrity guest, Acting Commerce Secretary Rebecca M. Blank, rolled out the first pitch to start a friendly but spirited competition pitting the Kerry CFC "Cam"-paigners, led by General Counsel Cameron Kerry, against the Washington Whirlwinds, captained by Deputy General Counsel Geovette Washington.  The teams battled to a 3-3 tied.  The real winner was the Combined Federal Campaign as the event raised awareness of the campaign and raised over $350 for the CFC undesignated fund.

General Counsel Kerry Delivers Remarks at Iraq Finance Conference

On June 27, 2012, General Counsel Cameron F. Kerry delivered remarks at the Iraq Finance Conference.  Below is a copy of his remarks.

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General Counsel Kerry Travels to the EU to Discuss US-EU Commercial Data Privacy Efforts

On June 20, General Counsel Cameron F. Kerry arrived in Rome, Italy for the second leg of his trip to Europe to engage with senior government and private sector officials on consumer data privacy.  As President Obama said in the Administration’s policy blueprint, Consumer Data Privacy in a Networked World: A Framework for Protecting Privacy and Promoting Innovation in the Global Digital Economy (Privacy Blueprint), “[n]ever has privacy been more important than today, in the age of the Internet, the World Wide Web and smart phones.”  The Commerce Department is committed to protecting consumer privacy while encouraging innovation, entrepreneurship, and supporting jobs and growth.

Commerce Department’s NTIA Announces First Privacy Multistakeholder Process Topic

Friday, the Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration announced the first topic for the multistakeholder process called for by the Obama Administration's Consumer Privacy Blueprint.  On July 12th, 2012, NTIA will convene stakeholders to begin developing codes of conduct to provide transparency in how companies providing applications and interactive services for mobile devices handle personal data.  More information about the first multistakeholder process is available at http://www.ntia.doc.gov/headlines/2012/first-privacy-multistakeholder-meeting-july-12-2012, and a blog post from NTIA Administrator Lawrence E. Strickling is available at http://www.ntia.doc.gov/blog/2012/putting-consumer-privacy-bill-rights-practice.