Amin confirmed by Senate as IP enforcement coordinator

On Thursday, August 3, 2017, the United States Senate, through a deal brokered by leaders McConnell (R-KY) and Schumer (D-NY), voted out dozens of Trump nominees under a unanimous consent agreement. Under this procedure, there is no individual or “roll call” votes or floor debate on a nominee.

Of particular note for the intellectual property community, Vishal Amin was confirmed to be the IP enforcement coordinator at the White House and Peter Davidson was confirmed to be general counsel at the Commerce Department.

Amin had been a lawyer for Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX) working on the AIA and then for Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) working on the Innovation Act. Therefore, Amin has been in the middle of IP legislation since President Obama took office in January 2009. Before that, he worked in the Bush White House and Commerce Department on patent reform and IP issues.  Amin generally favors the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) and going after patent trolls. He has been strongly endorsed by the film, music and traditional copyright interests, which puts him at odds with the tech community on copyright, Internet freedom and even, perhaps, cybersecurity issues (think proposals from Hollywood to enable proactive hacking to stop circumvention of copyright protection measures). Because of his support for the PTAB and close association with the AIA and Innovation Act, the independent inventor community opposed Amin for this position, which is sometimes referred to as “the IP Czar.”


Obama Administration Releases 3-Year IP Enforcement Plan

The Obama Administration released a joint strategic plan on intellectual property enforcement for fiscal years 2017 through 2019. The title of the report is Supporting Innovation, Creativity & Enterprise.

The section on patents, which begins on page 134, begins by saying:

Patent-intensive industries are a driving force in the U.S. economy. According to a recent Department of Commerce report, the value added by patent-intensive industries in 2014 was $881 billion, which was 5.1 percent of U.S. gross domestic product. Supporting efficient and predictable patent protection policies that promote investments in research and development is key to the continued growth of innovative economies.

Without effective mechanisms to protect intellectual property rights, including patents and trade secrets, competitors could simply sit back and copy, rather than invest the time and resources required to invent and innovate. Research and development would be even riskier investments, with little to no assurance that such investments would or could be commercially put into use. Simply put, facilitating efficient and predictable patent protection policies harnesses the drive and ingenuity of our innovators and helps ensure that our economy remains innovative and competitive.