Director Iancu delivers first policy speech at U.S. Chamber of Commerce


On April 19, 2018, the Global Intellectual Property Center (GIPC) of the United States Chamber of Commerce hosted a symposium titled Investing in American Innovation: Is the U.S. Patent Environment Promoting or Limiting Investment? The first speaker of the day, the keynote speaker, was USPTO Director Andrei Iancu, who in an important policy speech, told those gathered at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that the U.S. patent system is at an inflection point, and that the nation cannot continue down the path we are currently on if we as a nation want to remain economically successful.

“We will not continue down the same path,” Iancu pledged emphatically during what can only be described as a major policy speech that gives an important look into what the new Director thinks on a variety of issues.

“The patent grant is less reliable today than it should be. This onslaught has come from all directions,” Iancu explained. “The rhetoric has focused on certain abuses instead of the incredible benefits the system brings.”

“We are at an inflection point with respect to the patent system itself. As a nation, we cannot continue down the same path if we want to maintain our global economic leadership. And we will not continue down the same path,” Iancu stated.

While Director Iancu’s speech should be viewed as required reading for a variety of reasons, the other key aspects of the speech that particularly caught my attention were:

  • “In 2016, Western Digital acquired SanDisk for $19 billion. But think about it: Without patents, how could someone like Dr. Harari risk everything, put aside his secure career at an established company, and strike out on his own?”
  • “American invention changes the world. Indeed, with American patents, humans made light, began to fly, treated disease, and enabled instant communications across the globe from tiny devices in our pockets.”
  • “[H]ow exactly do we translate this into a better patent system? Here’s a start: when we write, interpret, and administer patent laws, we must consistently ask ourselves: Are we helping these inventors? Whether it’s an individual tinkering in her garage, or a team at a large corporation, or a laboratory on a university campus—we must ask ourselves: are we helping them? Are we incentivizing innovation?”
  • “[O]ur current law surrounding patentable subject matter has created a more unpredictable patent landscape that is hurting innovation and, consequently, investment and job creation.”

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