Andrei Iancu’s nomination to be the next Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office has now been delivered to the Senate. The nomination will be considered by the Judiciary Committee with likely confirmation this fall.
At age 49, Mr. Iancu is Managing Partner at Irell & Manella (LA) where he is a patent attorney but these days primarily focuses on intellectual property litigation.
Iancu has participated in a number of Inter Partes Review proceedings – both as petitioner (challenging the patent) and representing the patentee. He regularly works with Michael Flemming who is of-counsel at Irell and former PTAB Chief Judge. Iancu has also been part of dozens of patent infringement lawsuits, again representing both patentees and accused infringers.
Iancu is also a prolific author of patent law materials – the following are a few examples:
- Andrei Iancu, Jeremiah Helm, Code on Disks and Hat Tricks – Is Computer Software on A Medium Really Patentable?, 90 J. Pat. & Trademark Off. Socy. 97, 98 (2008) (“In the absence of legislative changes to what constitutes patentable subject matter, there really is no debate that a claim for software code by itself is not patentable.”)
- Andrei Iancu, Ben Haber, Post-Issuance Proceedings in the America Invents Act, 93 J. Pat. & Trademark Off. Socy. 476, 486 (2011) (“Congress clearly intends to make the PTO a viable alternative to district court litigation for answering questions of patent validity.”)
- Andrei Iancu, Michael Fleming, C. Maclain Wells, Indefiniteness in Inter Partes Review Proceedings, 98 J. Pat. & Trademark Off. Socy. 4, 5 (2016) (proposing that the PTAB allow the parties to fully brief indefiniteness issues before the PTAB issues express indefiniteness findings at the IPR initiation stage)
- Benjamin Hattenbach, Andrei Iancu, Kenneth Weatherwax, Patent Prosecution Pitfalls: Perspectives from the Trenches of Litigation, 92 J. Pat. & Trademark Off. Socy. 340, 341 (2010) (“Those writing patents must recognize the various uncertainties, embrace them, and take steps that will improve the odds of prevailing in litigation in spite of them.”)
- Andrei Iancu, Jay Chung, Real Reasons the Eastern District of Texas Draws Patent Cases-Beyond Lore and Anecdote, 14 SMU Sci. & Tech. L. Rev. 299, 308 (2011) (“[T]he presence of local patent rules, judges well versed in patent litigation, and a relatively quick docket mean that a patent case can often be resolved more efficiently and effectively in the Eastern District of Texas than in many other districts. Plus, it is more likely that a case will get to the jury in East Texas.”)
- Andrei Iancu, Ben Haber, Elizabeth Iglesias, Inter Partes Review Is the New Normal: What Has Been Lost? What Has Been Gained?, 40 AIPLA Q.J. 539, 592 (2012) (“Only time will tell whether this is an improvement over the old inter partes reexamination process.”)
It is the first time in a while that we’ve had a PTO director with this level of litigation experience, and it will be interesting to see how that develops in terms of policy goals.