Andrei Iancu Named US Patent And Trademark Office Director 06/02/2018 by Dugie Standeford for Intellectual Property Watch 3 Comments Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)By a vote of 94-0, the United States Senate on 5 February confirmed California intellectual property litigator Andrei Iancu as next director of the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The new Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property is currently managing partner of Irell & Manella LLP’s Los Angeles firm. The patent and trademark communities wished Iancu luck but said there are many issues at the agency that need his attention. Iancu’s practice focused on IP litigation as well as patent and trademark prosecution, his bio says (https://www.irell.com/professionals-90.html). His clients came from across the technology spectrum, including those associated with medical devices, genetic testing, telephony and video game systems, it says. In addition, Iancu has taught patent law at the UCLA School of Law. Andrei Iancu The firm Iancu works at once defended Donald Trump (who appointed Iancu to the USPTO post) and others including NBC Universal in a copyright case involving reality TV show “The Apprentice.” Also, Iancu did work that led to settlements of more than $1.6 billion being paid out to TiVo in patent cases against EchoStar, AT&T, Verizon, Microsoft, Motorola and Cisco, The Hill news site reported. American Intellectual Property Law Association President Myra McCormack pledged to work with the office “in a constructive manner to always look for ways to keep improving the intellectual property system.” The Computer & Communications Industry Association said it hopes the new director “can withstand pressure from those who are now successfully misusing the patent system and implement changes to curb that abuse.” The office and Congress should be working to remove some of the tools that allow patent trolls to broaden their reach and harm innovation, said CCIA President Ed Black. He urged Iancu to expand the inter-partes (IPR) review system, which allows third parties to challenge the validity of granted patents in the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB), saying it would “help the patent examiners remedy situations where patent trolls are using weak or mistakenly issued patents to abuse the system.” IPR changes were also on the wish list of CCIA patent counsel Josh Landau. Among other things, Landau also said the office should take an active role in developing patent jurisprudence – such as in the emerging areas of virtual and augmented reality — rather than reacting to patent practice issues after the fact. “As a longtime patent attorney and patent litigator, Iancu brings both a wealth of experience and understanding of the system,” University of Missouri Law School Professor Dennis Crouch blogged. Iancu “has a clear understanding of the importance of strong patent rights and a strong US patent system to American innovation, job creation and competitiveness,” said Innovation Alliance Executive Director Brian Pomper. The Intellectual Property Owners Association congratulated Iancu “on his appointment to a post so critical to American innovation and creativity.” The USPTO has been awaiting a new director for nearly a year since Michelle Lee departed, despite reported efforts to stay on, supported by the high-tech industry. [Update:] As counterfeiting continues to be a growing and pervasive problem for brand owners and consumers, the International Trademark Association said, it wants to work closely with the USPTO on strengthening IP rights and protections in the US and globally. Patent analyst Gregory Aharonian questioned the appointment of a patent litigator to head the USPTO. “For decades, the USPTO has made no progress [toward] improving patent quality, pendency, their archaic IT systems, labor-management conditions,” he emailed. The office has done nothing to develop better patent drafting guidelines to help applicants obtain patents more quickly and cheaply, he said. The new director may be an excellent patent litigator “but what does that have to do with” those issues? As long as the problems remain unresolved, there will be more unnecessary patent litigation, Aharonian said. Iancu won’t “shake things up that are needed to improve the system for inventors and applicants,” he added. Adobe’s Dana Rao, vice president of intellectual property and litigation, congratulated Iancu in a statement, saying: ” As a technology company, innovation is one of the most critical components of our success, so we are thrilled that the PTO has a permanent director who will help lead the office at this critical time. Adobe is looking forward to working with Mr. Iancu to protect the nation’s inventors, secure trade secrets and promote a culture of innovation.” Rao added, “Adobe would also like to thank Acting PTO Director Joseph Matal for his work over the last six months as well as former director Michelle Lee for her work improving patent quality and transparency while reforming a number of processes at the PTO to make obtaining a patent fairer and more straightforward for innovators.” David Hirschmann, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber’s Global Innovation Policy Center (GIPC), said in a statement: “A stable, predictable, and strong intellectual property framework fosters a healthy environment for innovation and creativity. The Chamber looks forward to working with Director Iancu to preserve American inventors’ right to deliver and benefit from the breakthroughs they make across a variety of sectors. We stand ready to assist Director Iancu in his efforts to help spur the American innovative spirit.” Image Credits: Irell & Manella LLP Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Related Dugie Standeford may be reached at email@example.com."Andrei Iancu Named US Patent And Trademark Office Director" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.