Former USTR Official Espinel Nominated US IP “Czar”

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A variety of industry and non-governmental groups today applauded the Obama administration’s announcement that Victoria A. Espinel would be nominated to be the first White House Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator.

Espinel is a former assistant US Trade Representative for intellectual property and innovation who led US trade negotiations on IP. In 2007, after stepping down from USTR, she became a consultant at Romulus and joined the faculty at George Mason University Law School in Virginia.

The official announcement could not be found immediately [Update: the official announcement can be found here] but praise for the long-awaited choice was simultaneously sent out by the Recording Industry Alliance of America, the Motion Picture Association of America, the Copyright Alliance, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (Vermont Democrat who sponsored the original bill creating the post), and Public Knowledge.

The law creating the post was signed by President Bush in 2008, and is intended to coordinate US efforts on IP enforcement (IPW, US Policy, 1 October 2008).

Another possible appointment to be announced soon is rumoured to be Duke University Law School professor Arti Rai to head international affairs at the US Patent and Trademark Office, sources say.

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