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U.S. Patent System must be Predictable, Reliable and Balanced, says USPTO Director

USPTO Director Andrei Iancu

Director Iancu’s talk at the IP Awareness Summit highlights the critical role of IP rights in U.S. economic development and leadership

For the United States to maintain its competitive leadership it is critically important that that we have an IP system and entrepreneurship ecosystem that encourages innovation”
— USPTO Director Andrei Iancu
NEW YORK, NY , USA, December 3, 2018 / -- The word “right” is mentioned only once in the United States Constitution and it is in regard to intellectual property rights.

That is among the messages conveyed by Undersecretary of Commerce and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, Andrei Iancu, who delivered the keynote address at the second annual IP Awareness Summit in New York last week. IPAS was held by the Center for Intellectual Property Understanding (CIPU), an independent non-profit.

Director Iancu said that IP is the engine that makes economic and cultural developments work and that the USPTO is laser focused on achieving these goals.

“For the IP system to work as intended,” he told the audience of IP owners, creators, executives and educators, “we must make sure future IP laws are predictable, reliable and carefully balanced.”

In responding to an audience question about “conspiracy theories” alleging that the patent system is working against inventors and misconceptions created by perpetuation of the term patent “troll,” the Director said that we need to be specific about problems and “not engage in name-calling on either side of the issue.” He said he encourages more public debate and coming up with solutions.

Director Iancu, who has degrees in aerospace and mechanical engineering and who has taught at UCLA, said he believed that it is really important for new members of congress coming into office in January, as well as existing ones, be informed about the importance of intellectual property. They should be aware why IP is important to the economy and to America’s standing in the world and competitive position.

“I would urge folks in this room,” he said referring to the IP professionals and educators present, “to talk about these issues with members [of Congress] in ways that relate to their priorities and constituents.”

The World’s Fair held in Chicago in 1893 featured a battle fought by two business leaders for the electric current standard, AC or DC. A similar battle for artificial intelligence or 5G, Director Iancu suggested, would be seen in a very different light today.

“Today, the battle for 5G is not likely to be limited to giant American companies but is international and being waged by the smallest and biggest countries; from Singapore, for example, to China.”

“We live in a different world,” he concluded. “For the United States to maintain its competitive leadership it is critically important that that we have an IP system and innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem that encourages innovation; that provides stability and predictability, so folks can invest here in the U.S. confidently.

“I think we are still the leaders, but we cannot take our eye off the ball. We have huge competition.”

The full audio recording of Director Iancu’s remarks and q&a is available at

Other featured speakers at IPAS 2018 included Manny Schecter, Chief Patent Counsel of IBM and a member of the board of directors of the Center for Intellectual Property Understanding (CIPU); Jay Walker, inventor, entrepreneur, TEDMED curator and founder of; and Adam Mossoff, Director of the Center for the Protection of Intellectual Property (CPIP) at George Mason University College of Law.

IPAS 2018 was held on November 29 at Pulitzer Hall at the Columbia University School of Journalism in conjunction with Columbia Technology Ventures. In addition to the featured speakers there were four panels 17 other speakers and three breakout sessions for IP owners, creators, educators, investors and others.

IPAS 2018 explored defining and providing IP literacy for a digital age. For the program and partners, please visit the IPAS website.

About the Center for IP Understanding

The Center for Intellectual Property Understanding is an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to increasing awareness of IP rights and their impact on people’s lives. CIPU provides information, conducts research and facilitates activities that seek to make IP more intelligible, enhance value and deter theft. The Center also tracks attitudes toward IP rights, including patents, copyrights, and trademarks, and through outreach, provides an education framework for understanding how IP promotes competition and creates jobs. To learn more, please visit

Bruce Berman
Center for IP Understanding
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