Andrei Iancu Resigns as USPTO Director
Since U.S. Patent and Trademark Director Andrei Iancu announced in January that he was resigning as director as of the induction of the Biden administration on Wednesday January 20. Iancu served as the director of the USPTO beginning in 2017. Iancu was regarded as a very pro-patentee director during his tenure. In a speech at a U.S. Chamber of Commerce event Iancu announced his resignation and thanked those attending for the privilege of serving.
Andrei Iancu Resigns with Call for Continued Reform for Patent Eligibility
During the speech Iancu also made a call for further reform on patent eligibility requirements. Iancu stressed that many of the important inventions and technologies, like those in the fields of bioinformatics, artificial intelligence, and digital processing, are being impacted by the current state of patent eligibility requirements in the U.S.
Senator Thom Tillis, R-N.C., chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, echoed Director Iancu’s sentiments on eligibility reform, and spoke of how reform is necessary for America to not fall behind in 21st century innovation. He also spoke of his intention to make patent eligibility a major factor in the confirmation of the next director of the PTO as well as in any amicus briefs before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Iancu Highlights Three Year Term Accomplishments
Director Iancu also made his final blog post on the Director’s Forum on the USPTO website. The post focused on thanking his PTO colleagues as well as highlighting the accomplishments of the office over the last three years. Some of the major highlights include a 44% decrease in the uncertainty around subject matter eligibility, reducing patent appeals times from an average of 30 months to an average of 13 months, and the passage of the Trademark Modernization Act. At the end of the blog post he included a list of the ten highlights.
1. Strengthened the USPTO’s Patent and Trademark Operations
2. Increased the Certainty, Reliability, and Quality of IP Rights
3. Changed the Dialogue on IP
4. Balanced AIA Review Proceedings at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board
5. Bolstered the United States’ Leadership in IP
6. Reduced Abuse of the IP System
7. Strengthened the USPTO’s Fiscal Health
8. Expanded American Innovation
9. Ensured Continuous Operation During the Pandemic
10. Modernized the USPTO IT System
Following Andrei Iancu’s resignation announcement, Deputy Director Laura Peter also announced that she would be resigning. The USPTO announced that Commissioner for Patents, Drew Hirshfeld, would be performing the functions and duties of the director until a new director is named and confirmed by the new administration.
To read all of Director Iancu’s farewell or to learn more, the Director’s Forum may be found at https://www.uspto.gov/blog/
For more information on patents, see our Patent Services Overview and Industry Focused Legal Solutions pages.
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