Senate Confirms USPTO Head

The Senate Monday (Feb. 5) confirmed Andrei Iancu as head of the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. He was nominated by President Trump in August 2017.

Iancu will be Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property. He has been the managing partner of law firm Irell & Manella LLP and a member of its litigation and property practice groupy, including practicing before the USPTO. He also teaches patent law at UCLA.

Iancu is familiar to followers of Tivo's various patent and patent infringement suits. He represented the company's DVR technology in cases involving AT&T, Motorola, Verizon and EchoStar.

Michelle Lee, who had headed the USPTO since 2015, resigned in June 2017.

"Iancu has the experience necessary to be a strong leader of the USPTO and a champion for innovators across the country," said Consumer Technology Association President Gary Shapiro. "America's patent system is the strongest in the world, and we expect that Iancu will work to ensure that our country continues to do all it can to reward invention and ingenuity.

"With Iancu at the helm of the USPTO, we hope that America's innovators will benefit from an IP system that incentivizes invention, protects property, and curbs damaging abuse of patent litigation. All of us here at CTA are excited to work with him to help innovation continue to thrive and flourish in the United States of America."

“We hope the new director can withstand pressure from those who are now successfully misusing the patent system and implement changes to curb that abuse," said CCIA President Ed Black. "The patent office and Congress should be working to take away some of the tools that allow patent trolls to expand their reach and harm innovation."

“The internet industry congratulates Andrei Iancu on his confirmation as Under Secretary of Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO," said the Internet Association, whose members include Amazon, google and Netflix. "Mr. Iancu has a well-deserved reputation as a thought leader on intellectual property issues. USPTO’s work to ensure robust post-grant review procedures and uphold the integrity of the patent system is indispensable to the American economy, and we look forward to working with him as the USPTO continues to fulfill its mission of promoting a high-quality patent system."

“A stable, predictable, and strong intellectual property framework fosters a healthy environment for innovation and creativity," said David Hirschmann, president of the U.S. Chamber's Global Innovation Policy Center (GIPC). "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.”

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.