USPTO Director Iancu Makes Surprise Appearance at Inventor Conference

“We are focused on delivering reliable and predictable IP rights,” Director Iancu told Inventor Club Presidents meeting at the USPTO.

Earlier today Andrei Iancu (left), Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), made an unannounced stop by a gathering of Inventor Club Presidents meeting at the USPTO. The Conference, sponsored by Inventors Groups of America (IGA) and the United Inventors Association (UIA), has been a long time effort by leaders of the national Inventor community to bring leaders from local and regional Inventor Groups together from all over America.

“We are focused on delivering reliable and predictable IP rights,” Director Iancu told the Inventor Group Presidents gathered at the Patent Office as he addressed them to start the day this morning. “I have called for a new dialog in intellectual property. A dialogue focused on the brilliance of the inventors, the excitement of invention and the incredible benefits they bring to our economy… to our history.”

Director Iancu would go on to say:

Successful systems must focus on their goals, aspirations, and achievements. They must focus on the positive. And we must focus on the positive. So, I call on all of you and your members to help us spread the message. The message of your brilliant work and the brilliant work of your fellow inventors. Advocate, teach, inspire. Inspire with your stories and those of you who write publicly, write about these stories. Those of you who don’t, start. Starting your stories. Stay positive about IP and about innovation. Tell people what you do. Tell the next generation.

President Eisenhower said: ‘Love of liberty means the guarding of every resource that makes freedom possible. From the sanctity of our families and the wealth of our soil to the genius of our scientists.’ And I say, scientists and inventors. Keep up the work that you do and keep inspiring the world.

I couldn’t agree more. One of the most frustrating things is not being able to tell inventor stories. Those with the best stories to tell inevitably won’t tell them because their attorney will convince them they need to stay under the radar. That is how the narrative of inventors as patent trolls has grown unchecked and out of control. Inventors have a critically important story to tell, and need to tell their stories.

Following Director Iancu was Commissioner for Patents Drew Hirshfeld (right). During Hirshfeld’s remarks he mentioned the National Academy of Inventors, which recently inducted 155 academic inventors, which brings the total of fellows to 912.

“For these 912 innovators, the have more than 9,400 licensed technologies, they have started nearly 8,900 companies, they have generated over $137 billion in revenue by their innovations,” Hirshfeld said. “And job creation has been estimated to be over 1.3 million jobs. That is from 912 people.”

Hirshfeld explained that he likes to remind himself that job creation and economic activity is what is at stake in everything the USPTO does.

Hirshfeld also gave the audience a glimpse of when we might be able to see the next milestone patent. “Coming sometime this summer, likely sometime in June, will be the issuance of the 10 millionth patent,” said Hirshfeld.

Appearances from top USPTO management was not complete. Later this morning Joe Matal, nominee to be the next Deputy Director of the USPTO, participated in a panel discussion. “The new leadership of the agency really has your back,” said Matal.

It does seem that inventors have new allies and a lot of reason to be optimistic.


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Join the Discussion

16 comments so far.

  • [Avatar for Anon]
    April 19, 2018 08:35 pm

    John @ 14,

    I surely mean no disrespect but I will not be reaching out to you.

    I have long been a champion of anonymous (and pseudonymous) posting, and guard my identity quite closely (for a variety of reasons).

    That being said, I will engage on these boards as I can make the time (and typically, I will engage in a cogent and meaningful manner, addressing points presented and taking to task those who merely like to post propaganda and mindlessness. I do enjoy discussions when both sides focus on the merits (and yes, believe it or not, I have been inclined to change my mind when presented with a strong legal position!).

    That being said, I tend to be less inclined to “dance in the weeds” of particularly bad claims (yes, bad claims do get through), or onerous levels of details of points that any reasonable person will (or should) concede. I have seen your massive posts on internal coding, and found it difficult to engage there in a meaningful manner. Not that you did not have a really good point, but that I could not dive intot he particular poiont and discuss it meaningfully (my bad).

  • [Avatar for Richard Brunner]
    Richard Brunner
    April 19, 2018 11:24 am

    If our System of Commerce is to survive as an Inventive Society, we need to Improve the Conditions Inside the Envelope that Startups have to contend with. In 2016 politicians gave us Startups down by 50%. That means Startup Job Creation Potential was down by 50% also. Proves that our leadership has been a total failure and working against progress at every turn, instead of Setting the Conditions for Prosperity and creating favorable conditions for Startups to have a chance at surviving. Startups are births that we have to breathe life into. They don’t happen by chance.
    We are sending our vital startups into a fight at a disadvantage when we should be building them up and increasing their chances. The Conditions Inside the Envelope must be improved to reduce the Startup Death Rate, increase the success rate, and to create jobs.

  • [Avatar for John L Guymon]
    John L Guymon
    April 18, 2018 02:48 pm

    Anon #13,

    Totally agreed! These 2 are just the start. With the ability to parse the 2014,2015 and 2016 data I can determine any and all information on each of the over 2000 event codes. The BCPA and OPPT are the more serious ones! – The BCPA allows transactions to be hidden as it is a wrapper type of event – it wasn’t when first used. There is so much being hidden within the BCPA and FCPA events – things are are totally against proceedure – but who’s the wiser as these hidden groups/allotments are not seen/noticed by the public.

    Contact me – lets talk. 801-930-8229. [email protected] or [email protected]

  • [Avatar for Anon]
    April 18, 2018 01:31 pm

    John @ 5,

    There are many ways at which the USPTO is still up to the same old same old….. SAWS didn’t stop; the ‘one’ blade was just removed. There are many others… they started 2013 & 2014.

    They started MUCH earlier.


    Further, even the “mea culpa” and admission as to the existence of SAWs (while “officially” pulling that single program), contained the admission by the Office that SAWS was but one of many – and uncounted many – such programs.

    What is need is for the Office to abide by 37 CFR 1.2.

    ALL matters affecting any patent application must be reflected in the written record.

    That includes ANY SAWS-like actions.
    That includes ANY PTAB non-named judge or influencer AND the material being used to influence the proceeding.

    The shadow organization within the USPTO makes the Marvel Comics movie notion of Hydra pail in comparison.

    The antidote is sunshine.

  • [Avatar for Night Writer]
    Night Writer
    April 18, 2018 12:06 pm

    Probably makes sense to take a lay of the land before Oil States comes down.

    No point in making grand plans before he knows what going to happen.

  • [Avatar for Night Writer]
    Night Writer
    April 18, 2018 12:05 pm

    Alice is chaos. Not possible to have predictable results with Alice.

    KSR is chaos. Not possible to have predictable results with KSR. KSR basically means an examiner or judge/jury may decide privately what they think is patentable.

  • [Avatar for Joachim Martillo]
    Joachim Martillo
    April 18, 2018 10:40 am

    In the internal USPTO email discussions that I have and that pertain to modeling the economic effect of claims (and thus to setting a price to charge wannabe IP poachers for the cancellation), Matal seems to be heavily involved.

  • [Avatar for Kevin R.]
    Kevin R.
    April 18, 2018 10:11 am

    Commissioner Hirshfeld came up to Philadelphia last night for a Philadelphia IP Lawyers Assoc. event and very much echoed the recent remarks of Director Iancu. The underlying idea was that IP is critical to innovation which drives the economy, jobs, success of the nation overall, etc.

    I would expect we will be hearing this non-stop at least until US Pat No 10,000,000 (June 19th). I really do not expect to hear new rules before then (maybe Alice guidance), especially considering Oil States/SAS…

    We know that there are problems with the patent system, but re-iterating the very positive pro-innovation, pro-inventor message is huge. The public will hear it. Judges and juries will hear it. Examiners will hear it. Congress will hear it. Change will come.

  • [Avatar for Valuationguy]
    April 18, 2018 08:46 am

    I have to laugh at the irony of Joe Matal saying that the new leadership has inventors back…considering the knife (that is the AIA) which stabbed patent owners in the back was HIS in large effect.

    He wrote/drafted the bill which became the AIA; he shepherded it (and protected it) through the Committee process to get passed (despite opposition from all patent owner groups); he wrote the ‘definitive’ legislative history on the Act to maximize interpretations falling in favor of infringers, and he actively defended the heavily biased procedures put in place at the PTO (i.e. doing nothing to change them) as Solicitor and later Acting Director of the PTO.

    While I don’t doubt that Iancu has the back of inventors now….for Matal to be the specific messenger of this statement is so bizarre as to be disorientating because I certainly don’t see Joe doing anything but stabbing patent owners in the back again. Iancu might create policy…but if he leaves it up to Joe to implement…I still fear patent owners are not going to see much fruit.

    (While politicians can certainly change their stripes for the public….they never really change and always revert to their old ways when the spotlight shifts off them.)

  • [Avatar for John L Guymon]
    John L Guymon
    April 18, 2018 01:25 am

    A patent is, in my opinion, basically a layout of an idea such that it becomes reality. I imagine this is the best and coolest thing of it all! Of course there are issues, but it is cool to continue through and solve these issues and get that patent (that package that presents something for the first time to the world).

    And of course something that is cooler than all other ‘cools’ – finding out all the things done bad by the bad people that do them. I know for a fact I am almost there…(ok – I know many things and there are many I don’t) In regard to making the place that is the ‘packaging’ place for these new items for the world a better place, or more specifically making the place do as it should and no more.

    Anyone care to see proof, and entertain any suggestions in the laying on of the proof such that the problems go away?

    IN NO WAY AM I IN NEED OF ANY HELP (have had to do it myself to this point), but for sure welcome other option to smooth any rough edges and show what it is I perhaps don’t see.

    I just figure that the right people with the right ideas in this final stage of disclosure and restoration may indeed help me to do a better job at doing so.

    But, honestly, it could be only a matter of a few days and ya’all (and I mean ALL – worldwide) will hear and become aware of what the deal really is. I have wanted to keep it inside the office such that the office cleans up after itself. I know Mr. Iancu would do the job, and, I know he will. There are only a few items left to do and then his work, with regards to making it right, can begin.

    There are reasons for the delay/stall.. However, it is a planned duration for many reasons. I am sure this time period will pass before anyone really steps up to assist. Besides, the work is already done, less its announcement.

    So, honestly, the words written now are just confirmations – to myself as to my final steps and to the world – to make sure ya’ all know, that soon, the real start to the real end, is, well, honestly soon. I am hopeful, as, well, as I am sure.

    Maybe a bit of time to pause and thank the One that really made it possible and, for sure, was there every step of the journey – one that I knew not of when in fact I was of. OFIH,TYFYBBATOTDTW. IJN, Amen.

  • [Avatar for Ternary]
    April 18, 2018 12:24 am

    This is what I experience in comments: efforts to obtain a patent are uncool and is behavior of uncool companies. Going after infringers is borderline fraudulent. The diminishing value of patents is proof of their futility. Why are smart people even involved with patents?

    We have a long, long way to go. I like what Director Iancu is saying. But considerable damage has been done and more than sympathetic words are needed.

  • [Avatar for John L Guymon]
    John L Guymon
    April 17, 2018 11:11 pm

    There are many things that our new Director can do to make the USPTO as it once was, but it is going to take a lot of changes. There are many ways at which the USPTO is still up to the same old same old….. SAWS didn’t stop; the ‘one’ blade was just removed. There are many others… they started 2013 & 2014.

    To make the United States patent system good again is going to take a little effort.

    Anyone care to share details? Anyone out there who truly wants to get to the bottom of all the SAWS dust and see the new teeth on the new blades and dare stop them?

    I will. I am. Care to join me? Take a look at the following :


    Send me an email – we can talk further. Thanks.

    [email protected] or [email protected]

  • [Avatar for Joachim Martillo]
    Joachim Martillo
    April 17, 2018 09:07 pm

    Matal filed a ridiculous intervenor brief (now withdrawn) in the Telebrands v Tinnus PGR even though there was no need to do so because Telebrands is defending the judgment in its favor.

  • [Avatar for Bemused]
    April 17, 2018 06:10 pm

    I second Pro [email protected] Yes, its very important to fix the 101 debacle (thanks SCOTUS!!!) but what does it matter if you can survive a 101 motion to dismiss if the bad guys can IPR you to death.

    At the very least with a 101 challenge (and not that this is a benefit), the death of the patent is relatively fast and at a comparatively low cost. In contrast, EACH petition for inter partes review can cost you several hundred thousand dollars and if the petition(s) are filed late in the post complaint one year period, you’ve also spent hundred of thousands of dollars in litigation expenses by the time the IPR gets instituted.

    Kudos to Director Iancu for saying (and hopefully doing) the right things. But I really hope one of those right things is making IPRs into the extraordinary process used only in the most egregious of cases that it was originally contemplated to be (not the every day patent killing maching that its become in practice).


  • [Avatar for Pro Se]
    Pro Se
    April 17, 2018 05:00 pm

    Since my patenting career, my favorite Director in the last 20 years is Kappos.

    Seems Iancu is taking this appointment serious.. but for me:

    Iancu will need to say the word “IPR” before he catches my full belief that he’ll at least try to fix what is the real issue…

  • [Avatar for Steve]
    April 17, 2018 04:00 pm

    Wish he had some words of encouragement on the IPR “Death Squad” and changes he is proposing. Someone asked him recently about changes that are coming, his reply was a couple of weeks….not 2 months!