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IP Lawyer Who Represented TiVo Is Trump's Pick As USPTO Chief (arstechnica.com) 67

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: President Donald Trump has selected Andrei Iancu, the managing partner of a major Los Angeles law firm, to be the next head of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Iancu has been a partner at Irell & Manella since 2004 and was an associate at the firm for five years earlier. His most notable work in the tech sector is likely his representation of TiVo Corp. in its long-running patent battles with companies like EchoStar, Motorola, Microsoft, Verizon, and Cisco. TiVo ultimately succeeded in compelling those defendants to pay up for its pioneering DVR patents, and payments to TiVo ultimately totaled more than $1.6 billion, according to Iancu's biography page. Iancu also had a hand in Immersion Corp.'s $82 million jury verdict against Sony Computer Entertainment, in which a jury found that Immersion's patent claims on tactile feedback technology were valid and infringed. Those big wins aside, most of Iancu's work has been on the defense side. He's represented eBay in a case against Acacia Research Corp., a large, publicly traded non-practicing entity, and he worked for Hewlett-Packard when it defended against Xerox patent claims. He's also worked in the medical device area, enforcing patents for St. Jude Medical on vascular closure devices.
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IP Lawyer Who Represented TiVo Is Trump's Pick As USPTO Chief

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  • Sounds knowledgable (Score:4, Interesting)

    by XXongo ( 3986865 ) on Monday August 28, 2017 @04:37PM (#55099685) Homepage
    Sounds like a person who is actually knowledgable about the patent system. Would be nice if we knew something about his opinions, though.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Do you know a lot of people in your work environment that go around espousing ethics over profitiability all the time? If anyone did that at my work place they wouldn't work there much longer....

      My point is it's kind of unfair to criticize industry people for what their public opinions are.... their opinion is always going to be profitability and whatever the field considers a middle ground for "fair." You won't ever know what their true intentions are until they are in the position of power to change thi

      • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

        Crass pragmatism has limits.

        Even crass pragmatism has to acknowledge the negative implications of frivolous patents.

        20 year monopolies over stupid shit aren't a trivial matter. They are a burden on everyone. Even crass corporations can give lip service to "the greater good".

    • by HiThere ( 15173 )

      I didn't expect to like his politics. It's nice that it sounds like he picked someone competent for a change.

  • Hot Garbage (Score:1, Flamebait)

    by PopeRatzo ( 965947 )

    Who else but a patent troll would you think Trump would appoint to run the USPTO?

    There has never been an administration this corrupt, this "pay-to-play", this openly and wantonly willing to break ethics laws. I'm not even sure there's anyone in second place. I mean, all the way down to over-charging the Secret Service for golf cart rentals when they take the frequent trips to Trump properties to make sure no one disturbs the royal golf games.

    • What, Daryl McBride wasn't available? Wait, no, should've pardoned Martin Shkreli and tapped him for the post.
    • by MAXOMENOS ( 9802 )
      I despise Trump and everything he stands for, too, but I'm still willing to consider that he might have stumbled into a decent pick. Do we have concrete examples of where Andrei Iancu is monstrously bad (or for that matter, pretty good) about IP and IP reforms?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Learn to read, this guy *fought* trolls, and represented "practicing entities". No idea if he'll be good for the patent system, but I at least know he isn't a troll.

    • Re:Hot Garbage (Score:5, Informative)

      by Mr D from 63 ( 3395377 ) on Monday August 28, 2017 @04:56PM (#55099821)

      Who else but a patent troll would you think Trump would appoint to run the USPTO?

      This guy defended companies against patent trolls. But it appears you don't need factual info to form your opinion.

      • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

        by PopeRatzo ( 965947 )

        This guy defended companies against patent trolls. But it appears you don't need factual info to form your opinion.

        Here, let me help you.

        This is from the article:

        His most notable work in the tech sector is likely his representation of TiVo Corp. in its long-running patent battles with companies like EchoStar, Motorola, Microsoft, Verizon, and Cisco. TiVo ultimately succeeded in compelling those defendants to pay up for its pioneering DVR patents, and payments to TiVo ultimately totaled more than $1.6 billio

        • Re:Hot Garbage (Score:5, Informative)

          by SlaveToTheGrind ( 546262 ) on Monday August 28, 2017 @07:27PM (#55100603)

          Does that sound like someone who is "defending against patent trolls to you?

          Well, you conveniently snipped your quote to omit the case where he defended eBay again Acacia, for one. Here are some others:

          1. Defended LG against Imperium IP Holdings.
          2. Defended RIM against Advanced Display Technologies of Texas.
          3. Defended RIM against Negotiated Data Solutions.
          4. Defended RIM against Unified Messaging Solutions.
          5. Defended RIM against Golden Bridge Technology.

          • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

            by PopeRatzo ( 965947 )

            So, what you're saying is that this guy, this parasite, that Trump appointed has been making a nice living by playing both sides of the patent dysfunction.

            Perfect. He's like a doctor who works for the tobacco industry. He's a goddamn shyster, the worst possible type of person to run the USPTO. People like Andrei Iancu are why our patent system is so messed up.

            • So, what you're saying is that this guy, this parasite, that Trump appointed has been making a nice living by playing both sides of the patent dysfunction.

              No, I wasn't saying anything of the sort. I was saying that your position that he doesn't defend companies against patent trolls is utter crap. Your response was to shamelessly jump to another lilypad and come up with some new inflammatory rhetoric.

              Your new position might possibly have some merit if he had both represented and defended against patent trolls, but that doesn't appear to be the case and I haven't seen you suggest it.

              As it is, this seems to leave you saying that we wouldn't want someone who i

              • and thus understands all the considerations at play from the various stakeholders

                I love this construction. "He's great for running the Patent Office because he's understands the considerations of all the stakeholders."

                But that's only if you consider "all of the various stakeholders" to include only huge corporate interests. What you fail to understand is that the greatest "stakeholder" in the patent wars is actually the consumer. First, because the goddamn consumer is footing the bill for the whole fucki

              • by Rakarra ( 112805 )

                No, I wasn't saying anything of the sort. I was saying that your position that he doesn't defend companies against patent trolls is utter crap

                Every large company has to defend against patent trolls. The real question is whether he was a patent troll himself, and he has that history as well.

                • The real question is whether he was a patent troll himself, and he has that history as well.

                  I didn't see any cases where he represented patent trolls, and I note you didn't cite any. If you have any specifics, I'm happy to discuss.

                  • by Rakarra ( 112805 )

                    The real question is whether he was a patent troll himself, and he has that history as well.

                    I didn't see any cases where he represented patent trolls, and I note you didn't cite any. If you have any specifics, I'm happy to discuss.

                    Sure, I'll go into a specific: I think Tivo's original DVR patents were bullshit. Whether they won court cases or not, they got a club to wield against people using obvious techniques that had been in use before Tivo was doing it. I guess YMMV as to whether that -really- counts as "patent trolling," but I set a low bar.

                    • Sure, I'll go into a specific: I think Tivo's original DVR patents were bullshit. Whether they won court cases or not, they got a club to wield against people using obvious techniques that had been in use before Tivo was doing it. I guess YMMV as to whether that -really- counts as "patent trolling," but I set a low bar.

                      Yeah, now I see the disconnect. The traditional "patent troll" just owns and tries to collect royalties on the patent without actually doing anything with it, and in fact the more formal term is "non-practicing entity." Poor patent quality often goes hand in hand with patent trolls/NPEs, but it's really a separate issue. A patent troll/NPE could assert a very high-quality patent (though it's statistically unlikely since they usually buy them and thus have to content themselves with more marginal ones), a

            • Here we have living proof of the phenomenon where, when confronted with proof their belief is wrong, people will just dig in further.

              Dude, patent trolls by definition are Non-Practicing Entities. Meaning they don't make products, just sue people for infringing on low-value patents. That description in no way describes TiVo or Immersion.

              Hey, guess what, Immersion DOES have the rights to "tactile feedback technology." THAT'S WHAT A PATENT IS! That's why Nintendo designed their Rumble Pak to work differently:

              • If you don't like patents, that's fine, but that has nothing to do with this guy.

                It has everything to do with "this guy". The head of the USPTO isn't there to represent patent-holders, he's there to represent the People. I'm surprised that you don't understand this. The idea that "this guy" is going to usher in some age of "patent reform" that will in any way help consumers is laughable.

                • Stop moving the goalposts. The person you were responding to wasn't making some wild claims that this guy was some messiah that was going to reform anything. He's a patent attorney. He's familiar with the system. He's represented companies who were attacked by patent trolls, as well as companies who sued over technologies they actually developed and sold.

                  What's novel about him is he's an apparently an uncharacteristically competent and experienced nominee compared to Trump's usual choices!

              • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

                No. Patent trolls are anyone that abuse the patent system. it doesn't matter if they are a manufacturer or not.

                You're trying to claim that harm doesn't exist because of the nature of the harm.

                You still have someone claiming ownership over something that isn't theirs. THAT is the relevant part of the "bridge troll" metaphor.

                Bullshit is bullshit regardless of whether or not you have a device that will be the only one allowed to be bought by the rest of us for 20 YEARS.

        • Does that sound like someone who is "defending against patent trolls to you?

          Maybe because those few examples need to be balanced against that very clear statement;

          Those big wins aside, most of Iancu's work has been on the defense side

          and the article goes on to explain more, but not so prominently as the items highlighted by the author with the intent to paint a picture in your mind, and you seemed willing to allow it to be a canvas.

    • by nwaack ( 3482871 )
      I'd mod this '-1 completely ignores facts' if I could. Just because you hate Trump doesn't mean you get to make up whatever you want about him. Yeesh.
  • by AlanObject ( 3603453 ) on Monday August 28, 2017 @04:51PM (#55099793)

    The candidate must be

    a) a true Trump believer that thinks all the bad press Trump has gotten is just partisan fear mongering.

    b) they think they are smart and independent and strong-willed enough to run the department credibly in spite of any shortcomings Trump or the rest of his crew might have.

    c) the increase in prestige of high office will do more for their reputation than association with Trump will hurt it.

    d) the entire structure is going to come crashing down regardless and the best plan is to be has high up on it as you can so you land on top and not underneath.

    Any other options? Any bets?

    • e) He has a plan to cash in on this and get out without getting caught. If he gets caught maybe he has something he can leverage POTUS with to get a pardon.
  • ... is a virtue.

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