Senate Confirms New Leader For Patent and Trademark Office

BY Heather Greenfield
February 5, 2018

Washington — The Senate has unanimously confirmed Andrei Iancu, an IP attorney from a Los Angeles law firm, to lead the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The PTO has been without a leader since the summer when Michelle Lee left.  We congratulate him on his confirmation and hope to work with him to improve the PTO and its processes.  At his confirmation hearing last fall, Iancu declined to weigh in on the problem of patent trolls and when asked about the inter partes review process to get rid of bad patents often used by patent trolls, he said the criticism of the process was sometimes “well founded.”

For more than 45 years, the Computer & Communications Industry Association has supported patent reforms to ensure the patent system protects the new ideas our innovation economy produces, while also making sure that abuse of the patent system doesn’t prevent those new ideas from being created. The following can be attributed to CCIA President & CEO Ed Black:

“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. 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 new director has a real opportunity to be proactive in patent law rather than responding to problems after they have grown.

“Expanding the inter partes review system would help the patent examiners remedy situations where patent trolls are using weak or mistakenly issued patents to abuse the system.

Allowing review of all grounds of invalidity, not just prior art, would allow the Patent Office to continue to provide a fast, accurate, cost-efficient way to respond to complaints about patents that never should have been issued.”

For additional background on the PTO’s potential  under Iancu’s leadership, please see CCIA patent counsel Josh Landau’s blog post: https://www.patentprogress.org/2018/02/05/dear-director-iancu/

For media inquires, please contact: Heather Greenfield hgreenfield@ccianet.org

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