Iancu: USPTO Guidance Gets 101 Right; Time for Courts to Follow Suit
On Monday, the International Intellectual Property Commercialization Council (IIPCC) gathered patent office and Federal Circuit experts, including current USPTO Director Andrei Iancu and former Federal Circuit Chief Judge Randall Rader, at the Capitol Building to discuss “The State of Innovation in the Union.” The panel was moderated armchair style and resulted in some poignant questions and answers from a few of the best-known players in the patent world. I attended the event, and at the end of the panel on which he participated I had the opportunity to ask Iancu what he thought about the current roundtables taking place in Congress and the efforts to reform Section 101. I reminded him that, at this time last year, he was giving speeches and testifying to Congress, saying to anyone who would listen that 101 should be something that we are all talking about and considering from a variety of angle. Then, as a newly minted Director, Iancu would tell Congress that if and when they were interested in engaging on 101 reform he and the Office would be ready to offer any assistance necessary. Congress seems to be working on the precursor to what will soon become legislative language. So, where does the Director stand on the issue today? His response was both correct, and something of a wake-up call. The final takeaway I think was that Iancu’s the only hope we’ve got, at least for the foreseeable future.“In the end, all three branches need to be rowing in the same direction on something like 101,” Iancu said. An obvious if seemingly cautious statement, but he did not stop there.