Trump nominates Andrei Iancu to be director of patent office

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The White House announced Friday that President Trump intends to nominate Andrei Iancu to be the director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

Iancu is currently the managing partner of Irell & Manella LLP, a Los Angeles-based law firm that focuses on intellectual property law.

At his firm, Iancu has represented TiVo in patent lawsuits over its DVR technology. His work has resulted in settlements worth more than $1.6 billion being paid out to TiVo in patent cases against EchoStar, AT&T, Verizon, Microsoft, Motorola and Cisco.


Iancu’s firm, Irell & Manella, once defended Trump, Mark Burnett Productions and NBC Universal in a case involving copyright claims over the reality TV show, “The Apprentice.”

If approved by Congress, Iancu’s nomination concludes a protracted saga of confusion as over leadership of the USPTO within the Commerce Department.

Michelle Lee had previously served as head of the office under President Obama, however her title fell into ambiguity when Trump took office.

The office declined to clearly state if she was in charge or not for the several months of Trump’s tenure. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) added to the confusion by telling a crowd of technology trade association officials at an event in January that Lee was still the head of the USPTO.

The organization finally said that she was the director in March attorney Gary Shuster filed a FOIA request to the office, asking who was in charge of the office.

Technology groups, including Amazon, Facebook and Google, where she previously worked, rallied around Lee at the time, signing a petition for her to stay on in the position. Lee resigned as director of USPTO in July.

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