My proposal is to join the United States Copyright Office with the already existing United States Patent and Trademark Office to form a cross-doctrine United States Intellectual Property Office (USIPO). Congress has other plans.
H.R.1695 – Register of Copyrights Selection and Accountability Act of 2017 – is moving forward in the house – being voted out of the Judiciary Committee earlier this week (27-1 vote). The proposal would create a quasi-independent position of Register of Copyrights appointed by the US President for a 10-year term (with Senate confirmation) removable for cause. An amendment approved by the Committee would limit Presidential appointment power. In particular, a six-member delegation of Congressional leadership plus the Librarian of Congress would recommend three qualified candidates for the President’s consideration.
The background for the changes stems from the recognition that the Register of Copyrights is currently seen essentially as an at-will employee of the Librarian of Congress – who is not really focused on IP Policy or Efficiency.