On Friday, August 25, The Trump administration nominated Andrei Iancu to serve as the next head of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The position had formerly been held by the former head of Google’s patent program, Michelle Lee, who resigned from the position in June.
Iancu, who is currently the managing partner of a large law firm, has a long history in helping patent owners enforce their patents. For example, Iancu helped secure separate settlements of $490 million and $500 million enforcing TiVo’s patents against various telecommunications companies including Cisco Systems, Inc., Motorola Mobility, Inc., and EchoStar Communications Inc.
Iancu has also been successful in defending clients in patent infringement cases, including a high-profile case, Ariosa v. Sequenom, Inc., 788 F.3d 1371 (Fed. Cir. 2015). In that case, the District Court granted summary judgement that the patent at issue, which covered a prenatal DNA test, was invalid for claiming naturally-occurring phenomena. The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit upheld the decision.
We have been impressed with several recent U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Directors – especially David Kappos and Michelle Lee. During their tenures, the Patent Office cleared much of its backlog, and put procedures in place for expediting the handling of patent applications. Under these new “Track I” procedures, we have had a number of patent applications allowed very quickly, including three recent patent applications that were allowed in less than three months.
With his history of helping patent owners enforce their patents, and his background in leading a large, successful law firm, we’re hopeful that, if confirmed by the Senate, Mr. Iancu will continue the Patent Office’s current, forward momentum.
SCOTT E. BRIENT
Scott, who is the managing attorney of Brient Globerman LLC, has helped clients obtain patent protection for their unique computer systems and mechanical technologies since 1999.
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