Volunteer Awards
Membership and Committees
Volunteer Awards
2013 Volunteer Service Award

Advancement of Trademark Law

Kerstin Gründig-Schnelle (Lichtenstein, Koerner & Partners, Germany) has truly distinguished herself with her steadfast support of INTA’s participation in the ongoing reform of the EU trademark system. Kerstin initially represented INTA at the Max Planck Institute, which the European Commission had asked to study the current state of the law. Once the Commission presented its legislative package in March 2013, Kerstin was involved again—this time as a central participant among the INTA policy committee members who extensively reviewed the proposed texts revising the CTM Directive and Regulation. Kerstin continued to offer her insight and expertise when the proposals were presented and discussed with policy makers, and she continues to be INTA’s go-to person in connection with the ongoing political process.

Neil Wilkof (Bressler Group, Israel) has in many ways contributed to INTA’s overall mission to educate the trademark community and to advance the protection of trademarks around the globe. As an author and editor, Neil contributes to several of INTA’s law and practice resources. Neil is extremely active on the Editorial Board of INTA’s peer-reviewed law journal, The Trademark Reporter. His new ideas, perseverance and endless energy have helped to expand the TMR’s global view, “internationalize” and diversify the journal’s content, and engage a greatly increased number of its Committee members. As a speaker and lecturer, Neil frequently participates in INTA’s programs. In 2013, he hosted a table topic on trademark blogging at the Annual Meeting in Dallas.

Advancement of Committee or Subcommittee Objectives

Pavel Gorokhov (Baker & McKenzie – CIS, Limited, Russian Federation) has done a remarkable job of advancing the objectives of the Enforcement Committee’s Opposition and Cancellation Standards & Procedures Subcommittee. Under Pavel’s leadership, the Subcommittee has researched and recommended a total of four Resolutions regarding trademark office procedures for Opposition and Cancellation proceedings. Pavel also took on a key role when INTA sent a congratulatory letter to the presiding judge of the newly established Russian Specialized Court for Intellectual Property Rights. Pavel translated the letter along with several INTA Board Resolutions into Russian.

Kevin McDevitt (Neal & McDevitt, LLC, USA) has led the Leadership Programming Project Team, part of the Leadership Development Committee. Kevin and his team worked to create and present an Annual Meeting session that promotes committee work and involvement with INTA, Table Topics on Leadership Development, joint programming with the Young Practitioners, Academics, and In-House Counsel, and coming soon, a leadership development session on Doing Business in China. Kevin is dedicated to identifying new leaders and helping them recognize how a volunteer role at INTA can benefit their career paths.

Advancement of the Association

Murlidhar Balasubramanian (Castrol India Limited, India) has been an integral part of INTA’s outreach to India and advocating for the interests of brand owners there. Working with our India Representative, Murli has started In-House Practitioner Luncheons in cities throughout the region. These gatherings bring brand owners together to discuss best practices and challenges related to trademarks. These lunchtime conversations help INTA identify areas of concern within the trademark community in India, and how they give INTA the opportunity to interact with prospective members from the region. Murli’s impressive efforts have significantly strengthened the Association in India.

Michael Wolnizer (Davies Collison Cave, Australia) has been the project leader of INTA’s Trademark Office Benchmarking Database project for over 6 years. The publicly available database, which launched in February 2013, compares information on the practice of over 170 trademark offices in the areas of filing, examination, prosecution, and opposition. It is an invaluable tool that can be used to analyze and “benchmark” office practices on an international and regional basis, as well as by individual jurisdiction. The database and its shared information will ultimately help improve office practices and facilitate greater cooperation between offices. It will also help trademark offices to improve their services to users.

Pro Bono Legal Services by an Individual

Chris Bennett (Davis, LLP, Canada) regularly provides pro bono intellectual property services to a wide range of organizations, including: Cures for Kids, Education Beyond Borders, Earth Day Network and the Hockey Education Reaching Out Society, known as HEROS. Chris offers not only trademark clearance, prosecution and management services, including licensing and sponsorship assistance, but also dispute resolution services when an organization is accused of violating another’s trademark rights or has had its own trademark infringed. Recipients of his services have said that he “goes above and beyond what is expected” and that he is an “understated gentleman.”

Pro Bono Legal Services by an Organization

McDermott Will & Emery's IP lawyers provide legal assistance to non-profits and small businesses whose focus is to develop and revitalize low income communities, and to environmental organizations helping ensure a clean, safe and healthy environment. McDermott’s IP practice has taken on numerous trademark prosecution matters on behalf of a variety of not-for-profit organizations. Some of the non-profits and small businesses that McDermott has worked with include: Fonderie 47, the National Museum of Women on the Arts, Absolute Return for Kids, Streetscape, Universal Education Foundation, Solar Sisters and Rainforest Alliance.