Andrei Iancu unanimously approved by Senate Judiciary Committee

On Thursday, December 14, 2017, President Trump’s nominee to become the new Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and the Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office was unanimously approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“Mr. Iancu has a proven record in the field of intellectual property law,” Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) said moments before the vote. “He has an excellent academic and professional background in intellectual property law. He’s extremely knowledgeable about the patent system. He’s well respected in the legal community.”

“We congratulate Mr. Iancu on his support from the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee to be Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office,” said Innovation Alliance Executive Director Brian Pomper. “We believe he will heed the views of independent inventors, entrepreneurs, and various industry groups—all those that form our U.S. innovation ecosystem.” Pomper would go on to urge the full Senate to approve the Iancu nomination as soon as possible. “We look forward to working with Mr. Iancu in creating a strong and stable U.S. intellectual property landscape for entities of all sizes, enabling the U.S. to reassert its position as an international leader in innovation,” Pomper said. (more…)

House Budget Committee recommends USPTO be independent agency

The House Budget Committee recently released a non-binding budget blueprint titled Building a Better America: A Plan for Fiscal Responsibility. As a part of this proposed fiscal year 2018 budget, the House Budget Committee is proposing that the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) be made an independent agency.

On page 50 of the House budget proposal, under a heading discussing the elimination of overlapping Department of Commerce functions and consolidating necessary Department of Commerce functions into other Departments, the proposal includes the line item: “Establish the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office as an independent agency.” No further information is provided relating how that might be accomplished. The budget proposal does say, however, that the Commerce Department and its various agencies “are rife with waste, abuse, and duplication,” which is why House Republicans are recommending a different approach for the federal government supporting commerce moving forward.


PTO Update from John Cabeca, Silicon Valley Director

Last week John Cabeca (left), Director of the Silicon Valley branch of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, delivered the Keynote Speech at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the Association of Intellectual Property Firms (AIPF) in San Francisco, California. What follows are several of the more interesting points Cabeca make during his 30-minute presentation.

“Typically it takes three months plus or minus a month, depending upon what Congress has on their schedule, but we look forward to having Mr. Iancu on board,” said Cabeca, when addressing the most common question he gets of late – when can we expect the new Director to be confirmed and in place.

Cabeca’s assessment on the Iancu timeframe is in keeping with everything I’ve been hearing. President Trump nominated Andrei Iancu to be the next Director of the USPTO on August 25, 2017. Perhaps Iancu will manage to find himself a part of some late-year nominee deal in the Senate, perhaps he will be held over for confirmation until early 2018. (more…)

A new PTO Director will face a patent system at a crossroads

The U.S. patent system is at a crossroads. See The Top 3 Reasons the U.S. patent system is in decline. In both 2016 and 2017, the Chinese government made significant improvements to its patent rules and laws. See China relaxing barriers to software and business method patents. As the Chinese landscape for patents and innovation continues to improve, we have to consider that more innovation might move to China, as investors flee in search of better legal protections – protections necessary to justify the speculative investment in early-stage high-tech innovative companies.

Time is of the essence for the U.S. patent system. The 2017 worldwide patent rankings of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce already shows the United States tumbling from 1st place into a tie for 10th place with Hungary.

With strong and principled leadership, it is not too late to turn the tide and restore the United States patent system to its former glory. With this in mind, I recommend in the strongest terms possible that the person selected as the next Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) share a vision for a stronger U.S. patent system that is once again the envy of the world.


Trump’s proposed budget would give PTO $3.6 billion for FY 2018

Several weeks ago, President Donald J. Trump released his proposed FY 2018 budget under the title A New Foundation for American Greatness. A review of the budget and supporting Commerce Department Appendix suggests the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has received everything it requested, and will not suffer fee diversion during the next fiscal year if the President’s FY 2018 budget passes Congress.

The President’s Message on FY 2018 Budget

“This Budget’s defining ambition is to unleash the dreams of the American people,” President Trump wrote in the Budget Message of the President accompanying the release of the FY 2018 budget. “This requires laying a new foundation for American Greatness.”