NRL's John Karasek Receives Meritorious Civilian Service Award


1/14/2009 - 6-09r
Contact: Donna McKinney, (202) 767-2541


The Naval Research Laboratory's Mr. John Karasek has received the Department of the Navy Meritorious Civilian Service Award. Mr. Karasek is the Associate Counsel, Intellectual Property Law and the primary deputy to NRL Counsel on intellectual property law matters.

The award is presented to Mr. Karasek "for exemplary service and dedication to the Naval Research Laboratory, the Office of General Counsel, and the Department of the Navy. Mr. Karasek demonstrated extraordinary leadership, resourcefulness, and flexibility which, coupled with his tremendous subject matter knowledge, has resulted in the Office of Counsel's high quality of legal support for naval innovation over the past decade. Mr. Karasek's leadership has established an environment of enduring, unfaltering accomplishment despite rapidly changing and increasing demands placed on the Office of Counsel. His professionalism, expertise, and dedication reflect great credit upon Mr. Karasek, the Naval Research Laboratory, Office of Counsel, and the United States Navy."

Mr. Karasek is recognized for his long record of outstanding contributions and dedication to NRL and the Navy Office of General Counsel (OGC), based on the enduring strength of his leadership and supervisory skills that he has demonstrated during his past nine years as Associate Counsel for the Intellectual Property Law Branch. It is noted that from the beginning of Mr. Karasek's NRL career, he has demonstrated superior legal skills and performed at levels that far exceeded reasonable expectations for someone with his level of experience.

In describing Mr. Karasek's leadership, the award nomination states that "A great testament to his leadership skills and supervisory accomplishments is the fact that four attorneys (all of whom Mr. Karasek trained and mentored in the practice of law as junior attorneys) who left NRL for advancement have returned to NRL (one from a high paying private practice) to work for Mr. Karasek as senior attorneys."

Mr. Karasek is widely respected throughout the Navy and the Department of Defense for his superior expertise and fine judgment, as was recognized when he was selected to be Patent Counsel of the Navy (Acting) during 2007, and more recently when the Office of Counsel for the Commandant of the Marine Corps asked that he serve on the committee tasked with selecting the senior patent attorney who would establish an intellectual property practice at Marine Corps Base Quantico.

Mr. Karasek is noted for his ability to find creative solutions to daunting legal and management challenges when usual methods of doing business will not suffice. For example, during Mr. Karasek's tenure as NRL's Intellectual Property Law Counsel, his office developed a new patent licensing paradigm that has been adopted by several other DON laboratories, resulting in a dramatic increase in licensing revenues for DON over the past several years. Mr. Karasek also encourages the patent attorneys he has trained to contribute to broader Navy and OGC missions as demonstrated by the fact his attorneys have assumed leadership roles on projects such as the OGC Intellectual Property Software Working Group, the DON Open Source Software Working Group, and the OGC Return on Investment Study, and in organizations such as the Government Intellectual Property Law Association.

Mr. Karasek demonstrated his resourcefulness and resiliency in leading NRL's Intellectual Property Law Branch during critical personnel shortages at the same time when requirements and expectations for office output were increasing. Mr. Karasek managed this dilemma by effectively leveraging the remaining talents within the Intellectual Property Law Branch, by personally carrying an extremely heavy load of complex and challenging cases, and by diligently pursuing new hires in a difficult market. As a result of his sustained efforts, the Intellectual Property Law Branch has maintained the highest level of performance possible.

Mr. Karasek has ensured that NRL's field activities receive the full level of intellectual property legal services they need. To accomplish this, he assigned senior attorneys to directly support the needs of NRL's field offices, and insured that lines of communication between the assigned attorneys and their field clients were maintained. These attorneys travel regularly to these field offices, and have regular telephonic meetings with them between visits. The result is that the clients at NRL's field offices are submitting more requests for patent applications and striving to proactively coordinate intellectual property issues.

Mr. Karasek particularly distinguished himself through his successful development of the most highly regarded intellectual property legal office within the Department of Defense. Mr. Karasek's counterparts at the Army Research Laboratory (ARL) and the Air Force Research Laboratory regularly seek his counsel on structuring and organizing their own intellectual property legal offices; the Chief of Staff of the Army Research Laboratory has visited NRL to learn how to better organize and manage ARL's intellectual property legal office.

Mr. Karasek received his B.S. degree in Chemistry from the University of Pittsburgh in 1986 and his J.D. from Thomas M. Cooley Law School in 1991. He has received three NRL Edison Patent Awards. Mr. Karasek is a member of the American Intellectual Property Law Association, the Government Intellectual Property Law Association, and the Phi Alpha Delta Law Fraternity.



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The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory is the Navy's full-spectrum corporate laboratory, conducting a broadly based multidisciplinary program of scientific research and advanced technological development. The Laboratory, with a total complement of nearly 2,800 personnel, is located in southwest Washington, D.C., with other major sites at the Stennis Space Center, Miss., and Monterey, Calif. NRL has served the Navy and the nation for over 90 years and continues to meet the complex technological challenges of today's world. For more information, visit the NRL homepage or join the conversation on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

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