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AIPLA > Committee Center > Committee Leadership Resources > Committee Leadership Blog > Posts > Committee Leaders Spotlight - April 2016
April 15
Committee Leaders Spotlight - April 2016

Each month, we are reaching out to the leaders of several committees to provide some information about themselves for inclusion in the Leadership Spotlight. This is your opportunity to introduce yourselves to your fellow leaders of AIPLA. We look forward to spotlighting each of our Committee Leaders throughout the year!

This month features:




Barbara Fiacco
Chair,
Committee on Legislation
If you weren’t an attorney or IP Professional, what would you be and why?

I would be a professor of political science focused on American Government. I have a Master’s Degree in Political Science and considered a Ph.D. or joint J.D./Ph.D. program before going to law school.

What is your biggest accomplishment (professional or otherwise)?

Raising 3 boys is an incredibly challenging and rewarding experience; it is fun (and sometimes nerve-racking) to watch each of them develop interests and goals.  Professionally, I always feel a great sense of accomplishment after finishing an important brief; I love the challenge of distilling complicated factual and legal issues into concise, direct arguments. 

What do you like to do for fun?

Spending time with my family ( I have 3 boys, ages 15, 12, and 10), hiking (my husband and I hiked all 48 of the New Hampshire 4,000-footers in less than a year), Pilates and cooking.

How did you first get involved in AIPLA, and what is your favorite AIPLA memory?

When I was a junior associate, my colleague Denise DeFranco brought me to an Annual Meeting and showed me around.  One of my favorite memories is the Mid-Winter Institute 2012 in Las Vegas. I chaired the meeting with the help of a great committee.  The dinner event with the Vegas-style entertainment was especially fun -- in particular, arranging to have “Marilyn Monroe” sing “Happy Birthday” to Joe Re!

How big is your committee membership?

The Committee on Legislation is a closed committee made up of 18 members.

How did you first get involved in this committee?

I was appointed as a member of the committee and served while the America Invents Act was pending. (I still have my chart comparing IPR and PGR provisions!). After my stint on the Board of Directors, I was asked to return to the committee and serve as chair.

What goals/projects do you have for your committee?

There has been so much activity in Congress in recent years that this committee has served in a primarily reactive role. I would like to us take on a more proactive approach to legislative reform efforts, drawing on the breadth and depth of our members’ experiences as well as the insights of the substantive committees. 
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Iris Mok
Vice Chair, International and Foreign Law Committee
If you weren’t an attorney or IP Professional, what would you be and why?

Great question, I think I would rather be a pilot as much as I love traveling. But that’s assuming I have better eye sight and don’t get sick being up in the air all the time.

What is your biggest accomplishment (professional or otherwise)?

Spent 5 years in Europe and speaking German and coming home without experiencing reverse culture shock.

What do you like to do for fun?

Yoga, Dancing, watching football games.

How did you first get involved in AIPLA, and what is your favorite AIPLA memory?

2008, getting stuck in Paris during snow storm in one of the IPP Europe trips while the rest of the delegation are in London. Remembering the cab drive almost got me killed sliding on ice on the way to the train station so I can get on the Eurostar.

How big is your committee membership?

About 450 members.

How did you first get involved in this committee?

Working as co-chair in IPP Europe committee and attending DeAnn’s monthly global sector calls.

What goals/projects do you have for your committee?

TPP comments for Board information, IPP in Arabic countries, IPP in Africa subcommittee
Ken Nigon
Ken Nigon
Vice Chair, Patent-Relations with the USPTO Committee
If you weren’t an attorney or IP Professional, what would you be and why?

An engineer because I really enjoy learning about new technology.  It’s the best part of the job.

What is your biggest accomplishment (professional or otherwise)?

Raising my kids

What do you like to do for fun?

Gardening.  I have a vegetable garden, two mature tangerine trees that I grew from seed and two coffee plants.

How did you first get involved in AIPLA, and what is your favorite AIPLA memory?

I first got involved based on my father’s experience.  He valued AIPLA (or APLA as it was known then).  My favorite AIPLA memory was being involved in the taskforce that reviewed the rules packages that came out as a result of the AIA.

How big is your committee membership?

Our committee has 654 members.

How did you first get involved in this committee?

When I was vice chair of the Patent Law committee, we frequently coordinated with the Patent Relations with the USPTO Committee.

What goals/projects do you have for your committee?

To get more of the membership involved in improving the relationship between practitioners and the USPTO.
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Kathleen Petrich
Vice Chair, Online Programs Committee
If you weren’t an attorney or IP Professional, what would you be and why?

A restaurant critic for a large city newspaper!  I love great food and wine and being able to tell others about the fabulous (or not so fabulous) restaurant experience I had.

What is your biggest accomplishment (professional or otherwise)?

Personal:  Raising our son to be the fine man with a great future that he is—and that he is very comfortable being around and working with strong-minded women (!).  And the children's picture book that my sister and I worked on (came out November 2015) is pretty cool too. 

Professional:  Not sure that I have reached my biggest professional accomplishment (yet), but my best legal moment was when I got to hear retired Justice Sandra Day O'Connor speak at a dinner a few years ago in Seattle.

What do you like to do for fun?

Going to the dog park every weekend with my husband and our large Bernese Mountain Dog.  I also enjoy having friends over for dinner where my (culinary academy-trained) husband cooks for us.  And I also love to read.  I'm a member of our firm's book club.

How did you first get involved in AIPLA, and what is your favorite AIPLA memory?

I was just stepping down from being the president of the Washington State Patent Law Association (2003), and Rex Stratton asked me to join AIPLA and be on a new committee (IP Law Associations) that was then chaired by Harrie Samaras.  I have been a member ever since.

My favorite AIPLA memories are: (1) attending the best educational seminars with great speakers where I learned so much, and (2) eating pizza and drinking wine at 2 Amys with TM Relations with the USPTO Committee Chair Jessie Roberts.  She is such a great person and we have formed a strong friendship.

How big is your committee membership?

123 members – and they are fabulous!

How did you first get involved in this committee?

I received an e-mail from then AIPLA president Wayne Sobon asking me to be the Vice Chair of the TM Relations with the USPTO Committee.  I had been involved with the TM Law Committee and TM Litigation Committee for many years, including summarizing the 9th Circuit trademark cases for the AIPLA quarterly trademark case review.

What goals/projects do you have for your committee?

Our goal is to be the major law association providing helpful feedback to the U.S. Trademark Office.  AIPLA's position is unique and our voice is requested, respected, and listened to by the U.S. Trademark Office officials.  Right now, we are working hard to comment on the proposed TTAB rules package.  We recently formally commented on the FY2017 proposed fee increase.  We also participate in the USPTO Expo and put on an annual CLE for Trademark Office attorneys.  And our chair has been a participant at TM5 (last year hosted by the USPTO).
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Jessie Roberts,
Chair,
Trademark-Relations with the USPTO
jessierobertsCV.docjessierobertsCV.doc
If you weren’t an attorney or IP Professional, what would you be and why?

I would be an actress. Since the age of 5, I’ve loved performing in theatre. I have an advanced degree in acting and I currently act and direct with local theatre companies. But succeeding as a professional actress is difficult in many ways so I became at attorney and fortuitously entered the field of IP.

What is your biggest accomplishment (professional or otherwise)?

Besides my wonderful family, I would have to list two major accomplishments.

The first is that I was chairperson of a group of parents employed at the USPTO that successfully created an employee child care center very close to the Crystal City campus of the USPTO. It was established in 1987. The day care center continues to exist today at the Alexandria campus of the USPTO.

The second is that I am author of the book A Guide to the Nice Agreement published by Oxford University Press. I was immersed in the world of Trademark Classification while at the USPTO and by serving two years as a classification officer at WIPO. I felt that the knowledge I gained through this experience would be helpful to trademark practitioners around the world, thus, I wrote a book about it.

What do you like to do for fun?

That would have to be theatre. It’s grueling, time-consuming and often frustrating work, but I love it. I get great satisfaction personally but I also find making people laugh, think, self-examine and escape from the realities of life for a while very rewarding.

How did you first get involved in AIPLA, and what is your favorite AIPLA memory?

I got involved with AIPLA after I left my employment at the USPTO. I considered becoming active in another national trademark organization that shall remain nameless, but I found that it was difficult for an individual to have an impact on IP through that organization. AIPLA was much more welcoming and appreciative of my interests and the strengths I could bring to make the organization and the IP world a better place.

My favorite AIPLA memory isn’t a memory yet. It would be meeting, working with and becoming friends with my vice-chair (should be co-chair), Kathleen Petrich. We are currently working together for the committee and will continue to do that in the future. Generally, the memories I will have of AIPLA will be all of the people I have met and worked with through the organization. But Kathleen is special.

How big is your committee membership?

123 members

How did you first get involved in this committee?

I joined the committee when I joined AIPLA and the committee in 2011 after my retirement from the USPTO. The next year, Al Tramposch (who also worked at WIPO while I was there), asked if I would chair the committee. I was honored to be asked and glad to accept.

What goals/projects do you have for your committee?

The most important goal of the committee is to assure that AIPLA’s relations with the USPTO are mutually beneficial and cordial. As a former USPTO employee, I would like to think I have furthered that goal since so many of the people this committee has interacted with in the USPTO over the years of my chairship were colleagues and friends when I was working there. This has made interaction with them pleasant and productive.

My personal goal for the committee is to bring trademarks into greater awareness and focus in the AIPLA organization. The “little sister (or brother)” status of trademarks vis-à-vis patents was true at the USPTO and is true in the larger world. However, trademarks deserve more significant focus than they currently get since most business ventures have trademarks whether they are registered with the USPTO or not while a smaller percentage own patents. I have no empirical evidence of this but my own observation of commerce and the marketplace. Therefore, I feel that trademarks should be given much more “face time” than it now gets in AIPLA as well as other all-IP organizations.

DeAnn Smith,
Chair,
International & Foreign Law
If you weren’t an attorney or IP Professional, what would you be and why?

A dancer.  In college I had to decide between biochemistry and ballet - I often wonder what my life would have been like if I had chosen the latter instead of the former.


What is your biggest accomplishment (professional or otherwise)?

Having my daughter later in life as a single mother-by-choice and continuing with my career.

What do you like to do for fun?

These days, chase around a 2 year old! But I also enjoy running, yoga, skiing, being with friends and family and going to the beach.

How did you first get involved in AIPLA, and what is your favorite AIPLA memory?

I was in law school when I attended my first Annual Meeting (1991) and have been a member ever since so really too many great memories to choose from! Seeing Denise DeFranco, my very good friend and colleague, become the President this year was certainly wonderful.

How big is your committee membership?

~ 450 members

How did you first get involved in this committee?

Other leadership positions in other international-related committees.

What goals/projects do you have for your committee?

External programming (education); add subcommittees; get new lawyers more involved; complete analysis of IP provisions of TPP; and much, much more!


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Craig Whitney
Copyright Law Committee
Vice Chair
If you weren’t an attorney or IP Professional, what would you be and why?

Starting point guard for the New York Knicks.  I mean, since this is a hypothetical, I might as well pick my fantasy job, right?  (Plus, I think the position is currently available.)

What is your biggest accomplishment (professional or otherwise)?

Definitely convincing my wife to marry me, and then raising our wonderful son.

What do you like to do for fun?

Playing tennis and going for bike rides with my family along the Hudson.

How did you first get involved in AIPLA, and what is your favorite AIPLA memory?

At my prior firm, I was looking to become involved in a meaningful IP-focused organization, and Kim Van Voorhis (who worked at the same firm at the time) convinced me to join AIPLA and showed me the ropes.  My favorite memory is probably my first AIPLA panel speaking experience during a joint Trademark/Copyright session at the Annual Meeting.

How big is your committee membership?

I don’t know the exact number, but I believe we have several hundred members.

How did you first get involved in this committee?

From Day One at AIPLA, I approached the committee leaders at the time and asked how I could get involved.  It didn’t take long from there.

What goals/projects do you have for your committee?

Probably too many to list here.  We are a very active committee with numerous projects going on simultaneously.  Matt and I just started the bi-monthly committee calls a few months ago, and they have been great – much of the committee’s work is discussed there as well as at the committee sessions during stated AIPLA meetings, so we encourage anyone who wants to be involved to attend and raise his or her hand.  There are several Copyright Office, congressional and judicial projects underway and we are always looking for interested volunteers.

 


 
 

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