HIPLA Committees

Amicus Committee
Recommends to the board that amicus curiae briefs be filed in appropriate cases and attends to the preparation of such briefs on behalf of the association under the direction of the board.

Chair: Jayne Piana

Fletcher Yoder

11450 Compaq Center Drive West

Building 9, STE 300

Houston, Texas 77070

Phone: 281-970-4545 (ext. 201)

Email: piana@fyiplaw.com

Annual Federal Judges Dinner Committee
The Annual Federal Judges Dinner Committee is charged with planning and executing the annual dinner honoring the Federal judiciary.

Chair: Leisa Peschel

Jackson Walker, LLP

1401 McKinney Street, STE 1900

Houston, Texas 77010

Phone: 713-752-4278

Email: lpeschel@jw.com

Annual Fall Institute Committee
Plans and executes the Annual Institute on Intellectual Property Law in conjunction with the Program Planning Committee.

Chair: Christopher McKeon

Saunders McKeon PLLC

4900 Woodway Dr., STE 900

Houston, Texas 77056

Phone: 713-972-1947

Email: cmckeon@saundersmckeon.com 

Diversity and Inclusion Committee
Plans, organizes, and manages initiatives focused on diversity and inclusion.

Co-Chair: Natalie Alfaro Gonzales

Yetter Coleman

Email: ngonzales@yettercoleman.com

Co-Chair: Bert Jennings


1221 McKinney Street, Ste. 300

Houston, Texas 77010

Phone: 713-309-4611

Email: Bert.jennings@lyb.com

Entertainment Committee
Plans, organizes, and manages parties and social functions of the Association.

Co-Chair: Ron Derrington


711 Louisiana Street, Suite 2300

Houston, Texas 77002

Phone: 713-221-1515

Email: ron.derrington@bracewell.com

Co-Chair: Tom Rooney


Phone: 281-871-4139

Email: Thomas.Rooney@halliburton.com

Giles Rich Moot Court Committee
Plans, organizes, and supervises the Houston regional Giles Rich Moot Court competition.

Co-Chair: Jonathan M Hernandez 
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP
1111 Louisiana St., 44th Floor
Houston, TX 77002
Phone: 713-250-2162
Email: jhernandez@akingump.com

Co-Chair: Bobbie J. Horocofsky


1000 Louisiana Street, Suite 6400

Houston, Texas 77002

Phone: 713-4374-1659

Email: BHorocofsky@Polsinelli.com

Inventor of the Year Committee
Plans and executes the Annual Inventor of the Year award in conjunction with the Program Planning Committee.

Chair: Catherine Rifai
Munck Wilson Mandala, LLP
1330 Post Oak Boulevard, Suite 2850
Houston, Texas 77056
Phone: 832-615-2723
Email: crifai@munckwilson.com

Law School Relations Committee

Provides liaison between HIPLA and the Houston-area law schools, and their faculty and students, concerning intellectual property law matters.

Chair: Alison Ibendahl
White & Case LLP 
609 Main Street, Suite 2900
Houston, Texas 77002
Phone: 832-786-6153

Email: alison.ibendahl@whitecase.com

Long Range Planning (Vice President)

Chair: Brigitte Echols


Email: jeffery1@slb.com

Meeting Arrangements and Programs Committee
Plans, organizes, and supervises the arrangements, program speakers, and management of the meetings, dinners, and other functions of the Association, subject to the approval of the President.

Co-Chair: Vikesh N. Patel

Kearney, McWilliams & Davis, PLLC

55 Waugh #150

Houston, Texas 77007

Email: vpatel@kmd.law

Co-Chair: Lauren A. Kickel

Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP

909 Fannin St. #2700

Houston, Texas 77010

Email: lakickel@vorys.com

Membership Committee
Promotes and encourages new members to join the Association and organizes and distributes an annual pictorial directory of members.

Chair: Melissa Martinez
Email: melissa@martinezlaw.us

Patent Agents & Intellectual Property Managers Committee
Plans, organizes, and manages events for patent agents, patent attorneys practicing as a patent agent or manager, and non-registered patent professionals that primarily work in patent preparation, prosecution, and portfolio management

Chair: Sahana Annadorai, Ph.D.

Boulware Valoir, PLLC

2603 Augusta Drive, Suite 1350

Houston, Texas 77057

Phone: 832-369-7851

Email: sannadorai@boulwarevaloir.com 

Scholarship/Fellowship Committee
Receives, reviews, and recommends worthy applications from students at local Law Schools wishing to receive scholarships who have a demonstrated interest in intellectual property law. Also receives, reviews, and recommends worthy applications from applicants wishing to receive fellowships to work as interns in the Houston offices of a U.S. District Court Judge or a U.S. Magistrate Judge, at the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, or at the United States Patent and Trademark Office

Co-Chair:  Kate Jackson


Email: katherine.l.jackson@exxonmobil.com

Co-Chair: Shilpa Ghurye, Ph.D., J.D.

Kearney, McWilliams & Davis, PLLC

55 Waugh #150

Houston, Texas 77007

Email: sghurye@kmd.law

Science Fair Committee

Organizes members of the Association to serve as judges for the international and local Science Engineering Fair, provides for appropriate Association award(s), and arranges an appropriate ceremony for the presentation of the award(s).

Co-Chair: Varsha Pednekar, Ph.D.

Eversheds Sutherland

1001 Fannin St.

Houston, Texas 77002

Phone: 713.425.3521

Email: varsha.pednekar@outlook.com

Co-Chair: Jaime Stark, Ph.D., J.D.

Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP

1301 McKinney, STE 5100

Houston, Texas 77010

Email: jaime.stark@nortonrosefulbright.com

Website and Social Media Committee
Leverage technology to manage communications between HIPLA, its members and the public at large.

Chair: Monica Garza-Hovel

Kearney, McWilliams & Davis, PLLC

55 Waugh #150

Houston, Texas 77007

Email: mghovel@kmd.law

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