Andrei Iancu

2018-2021

Andrei Iancu was born in 1968 in Bucharest, Romania, and immigrated to the United States when he was 12 years old. He was educated at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where he earned a Bachelor of Science in aerospace engineering, a Master of Science in mechanical engineering, and a Juris Doctor. 

Early in his engineering career, Iancu’s interests in science and technology broadened to include business and law, so he returned to UCLA for legal training, specializing in intellectual property (IP). Iancu’s subsequent practice focused on IP litigation and entailed appearances before the USPTO, U.S. district courts, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, and the U.S. International Trade Commission. His clients came from across the technical and scientific spectra, including those associated with medical devices, genetic testing, therapeutics, the internet, telephony, television broadcasting, video game systems, and computer peripherals. In the course of his legal career, Iancu became an authority on IP issues and taught law at UCLA. 

On September 5, 2017, President Donald J. Trump nominated Iancu to be the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO. The Senate confirmed his nomination in early 2018. A few months into Director Iancu’s tenure, the USPTO issued U.S. patent 10 million, which featured the first new patent cover in more than 30 years and a presidential signing ceremony in the White House.  

In his three years at the USPTO, Director Iancu oversaw several improvements to Patent and Trademark processes and practices. On the Patents side, he supervised the implementation of the Access to Relevant Prior Art Initiative, which used automation to import prior art references from previously filed parent applications into later-filed child applications, and other forms of technologies, including artificial intelligence and machine learning.  

To further the efforts around educating the public on the importance of IP, Director Iancu and the USPTO founded the National Council for Expanding American Innovation (NCEAI), a body composed of leaders from the federal government, industry, academia, and professional and nonprofit organizations, as well as venture capitalists and independent inventors, who would now collaborate on making innovation and IP protection more accessible to more people.  

On March 23, 2020, the USPTO transitioned most of its employees to mandatory telework in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic. Information technology specialists immediately ensured that everyone had the equipment and support necessary to telework efficiently and increased bandwidth to accommodate the more than two-fold jump in the number of virtual meetings. These accomplishments built on the recent implementation of the Patent Application Location Monitoring system, servers working 100 times faster than in the past. The cumulative result was that the USPTO continued to operate with no decrease in productivity.  

To support the search for treatments and vaccines, Director Iancu approved the extension of deadlines for filing many patent and trademark documents. He also directed the establishment of several initiatives to promote research related to COVID-19: the COVID-19 Prioritized Examination Program, which streamlined the patenting process for certain COVID-19–related inventions, and the Patents 4 Partnerships website, a patent repository and platform.  

Further reading

UCLA Samueli Newsroom, “Triple-Bruin Andrei Iancu is Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property.” UCLA Samueli School of Engineering, March 16, 2020.

U.S. Patent 10 Million.” USPTO. Accessed January 12, 2021.

United States Patent and Trademark Office FY 2018 Performance and Accountability Report. USPTO. November 2018.

United States Patent and Trademark Office FY 2019 Performance and Accountability Report. USPTO. November 2019.

United States Patent and Trademark Office FY 2020 Performance and Accountability Report. USPTO. November 2020.