Syndicate content

Latest Developments

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.