It was announced on Friday, August 25, 2017, that Andrei Iancu has been nominated for Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Iancu will replace Joseph Matal, who has been serving as interim Director since Michelle Lee’s resignation in June.
Andrei Iancu comes from a successful career in private practice, where he currently serves as managing partner of Irell & Manella LLP. Iancu is also currently an adjunct professor at UCLA School of Law. He has handled all aspects of intellectual property, including prosecution and litigation. His primary focus has been intellectual property litigation, where he has extensive experience representing both patent owners and alleged infringers in Federal Courts and in post-grant proceedings at the USPTO. In addition to his representative matters, Iancu has been recognized for his publications, including several on the patent eligibility of software.
Some members of the IP community are touting his experience representing patent owners against large technology companies as reflecting a pro-patent ideology. Some of his more notable casework includes the successful representation of TiVO Corporation enforcing patent rights against tech giants including AT&T, Motorola, Microsoft, Cisco, and EchoStar. The cases led to over $1.5 billion in payments to TiVo. Iancu has also successfully represented defendants of patent infringement claims, such as Ariosa Diagnostics, Inc. in Ariosa Diagnostics, Inc. v. Sequenom, Inc, resulting in cancellation of Sequenom’s patent as an ineligible natural phenomenon under 35 U.S.C. 101.
The nomination of Andrei Iancu, ends a long period of speculation over the new Administration’s plans for the USPTO, which were amplified by Michelle Lee’s resignation as Director in June. However, the confirmation process is likely to endure for several months to come.