Senate Confirms Iancu as Patent Office Director

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By Malathi Nayak

The U.S. Senate Feb. 5 confirmed Andrei Iancu to be the director of the Patent and Trademark Office.

Lawmakers voted 94-0 to approve the nomination of Iancu, the former managing partner of Los Angeles-based Irell & Manella LLP.

President Donald Trump tapped Iancu in August to succeed Michelle K. Lee, who stepped down in June. Joseph Matal, a former PTO associate solicitor, has been the interim director since Lee’s resignation.

In addition to managing one of the America’s most-profitable law firms, Iancu has taught patent law at University of California, Los Angeles, where he also earned his law degree, a master’s in mechanical engineering, and an undergraduate degree in aerospace engineering.Iancu has represented clients on both sides of intellectual property disputes across industries, including cell phones, computer hardware and software, online entertainment, medical devices, and genetic testing.

Iancu takes over as PTO chief as the Supreme Court weighs the constitutionality of the office’s patent validity review process in Oil States Energy Services., LLC v. Greene’s Energy Group., LLC.

Iancu told lawmakers at his Nov. 29 Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing he would work with the administration and Congress toward achieving a “balanced” intellectual property law framework. Iancu said issues related to patent eligibility and patent validity reviews would be his main focus, if confirmed.

To contact the reporter on this story: Malathi Nayak in Washington at mnayak@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mike Wilczek at mwilczek@bloomberglaw.com

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