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Intellectual Property Law Section Presents Awards

Intellectual Property Law Section Presents Awards

Award winners Sarah Nagae, left, and Pamela Chestek.

The Intellectual Property Law Section of the North Carolina Bar Association presented its 2014-15 IPL Section Pro Bono Awards on Friday, March 20, to Raleigh attorneys Sarah Nagae and Pamela Chestek.

The awards were presented at the section annual meeting and CLE program at the N.C. Bar Center by Laura Kelly, section vice chair. Nagae, who practices with Triangle Trademarks, received the section’s individual award while Chestek, who operates Chestek Legal, received the firm award.

The award for outstanding individual achievement is presented to section members who have actively participated in pro bono activities such as direct indigent representation or direct community service efforts, excluding support of professional/business organizations such as bar associations, chambers of commerce, etc.

The outstanding law firm/organization award is given to the law firm or other organization (such as an in-house legal department) that best supports and facilitates the pro bono efforts of its attorneys.

Sarah Nagae
“While Sarah primarily practices trademark law, through her pro bono work, she also ventures fairly far outside the IP realm to areas such as debtor-creditor, consumer rights and landlord/tenant law,” her nominator stated.

Nagae also volunteers with the NCBA’s Lawyer on the Line program, through which volunteers commit from one to four hours each month to assist LANC-eligible clients by providing brief advice by phone in one or more selected areas of practice.

“She has been a pro bono attorney with the program since 2011,” the nomination continues. “Sarah started 2014 by stepping in to help a client who was trying to deal with a collection agency that claimed that the client owed a debt incurred in 2002. Sarah helped the client obtain information about the alleged underlying debt and about the credibility of the collection agency.

“Ultimately, Sarah helped the client decide how the client could best handle the situation.”

Nagae assisted several more LOTL clients in 2014, devoting a total of 24 hours to the program. She also volunteered for the 4ALL Statewide Service Day and helped small business owners better understand the trademark registration process.

Pamela Chestek
Chestek provided her pro bono service through the Software Freedom Conservancy, which is described in her nomination as “a 501(c)(3) public charity that promotes, supports, and defends free and open source software (FOSS) projects. Conservancy is the non-profit corporate home for dozens of FOSS projects, including Git, the widely used software development collaboration tool popularized by the social coding site GitHub, and Sugar Labs, a computer operating system specifically designedfor childhood education – and the OS of choice for the One Laptop Per Child initiative.”

“All of Conservancy’s projects,” her nominator stated, “develop software freely licensed for the public’s benefit. In 2014, Ms. Chestek provided about 65 hours of pro bono legal services representing Conservancy as plaintiff in a trademark opposition proceeding relating to the Git trademark before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.

“Thanks to Ms. Chestek’ s invaluable guidance, Conservancy was able to secure a positive outcome and defend the Git trademark, as the defendant eventually abandoned its application for a similar mark. As a result, Conservancy was able to successfully register the Git mark with the USPTO as of February 3, 2105.”

1998-99: Karen Magri
2000-01: Richard J. Caira Jr.
2003-04: Cynthia B. Rothschild and Kevin A. O'Brien
2004-05: Michael Boggs and Kilpatrick Stockton Law Firm
2005-06: Clint Wimbish and N.C. IP Group of Kilpatrick Stockton
2006-07: Laura C. Miller and NC Intellectual Property Law Group of Kilpatrick Stockton
2007-08: Deborah R. Gerhardt
2008-09: Robert J. Smith and NC Intellectual Property Law Group of Kilpatrick Stockton
2009-10: Dr. Leslie Grab and Dr. Jennifer Giordano-Coltart and NC Intellectual Property Law Group of Kilpatrick Stockton
2010-11: Robert N. Crouse and N. Dean Powell Jr. and NC Intellectual Property Group of Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton
2011-12: Bryan S. Foster and Mark Prak and NC Intellectual Property Group of Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton
2012-13: Clara Cottrell and Wood Jackson
2013-14: Orla O’Hannaidh
2014-15: Sarah Nagae and Pamela Chestek (Chestek Legal)