After a 94-0 vote earlier this week, the Senate voted Adrei Iancu, 49, as the next head of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Iancu was elected by Donald Trump in August 2017 after the position became a political flashpoint in recent years.
Iancu will succeed interim director Joseph Matal, who took over from Michelle Lee, a former patent lawyer at Google nominated by President Barack Obama to the position in 2014. Lee resigned in June 2017 following months of uncertainty about whether Trump would keep her in the position. Iancu will manage a staff of approximately 8,000 patent examiners, whose main focus is to grant patent protection for more than 300,000 inventions every year. Iancu will also oversee the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, an administrative court created in 2011 that has the power to invalidate patents.
Iancu was previously working for Irell & Manella, an LA-based law firm with clients that include TiVo and Ariosa Diagnostics Inc.
Iancu has been regarded as a “consensus pick” who will balance the rights of patent owners with the concerns of large technology companies often accused of infringement, said Robert Stoll, a lawyer at Drinker Biddle & Reath and former patent office official.