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Remarks by Former USPTO Director Andrei Iancu



Opening Plenary Session: June 4th 2021

The fifth featured speaker was the former Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and former Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (2017 to 2021) American-Romanian engineer and intellectual property attorney Mr. Andrei Iancu. His address touched on his formal dual mandate in the previous administration, taking the lead on a nexus of policies related patents, copyright, trade secrets and IP policy issues as well as being the head of the USPTO, an agency with over thirteen thousand employees with a 3.5 billion dollars budget. He traveled the world in that capacity talking about these issues, including to Romania in 2019 before the pandemic. His speech in Romania centered on the importance of intellectual property in developing an innovation driven economy. He regaled participants with his inspiring life journey having left Romania as a child and having truly lived “the American dream.” His passion for technology started with his formative years in Bucharest, a childhood passion for aviation that grew into his decision to follow his academic formation as an aerospace engineer in the United States before going to law school. His childhood passion is no coincidence he argued. Romania has a long history of innovation when it comes to flight, starting from pioneer Traian Vuia’s “patented airmobile” called “the bat” followed by Aurel Vlaicu’s first airplane and next Henri Coandă, the prolific aeronautical engineer with over 250 patents in multiple fields, who built the world’s first jet engine airplane and whose observations led to the naming of the “Coandă effect” a phenomenon still applied in aeronautics today. These incredible inventors really ushered in the modern era of human flight and the world has not been the same since. In the span of human existence for millennia, all these inventions spurred within about a century and yet they have taken us all the way to landing a rover on Mars. Mr. Iancu’s inspiring speech contends that the incredible power of human invention rests in a robust intellectual property system that incentivizes and protects that innovation fostering rapid progress. Building on Mr. Iancu’s remarks on the pioneers of the not-so-distant past and echoing the recent public announcements of NASA about establishing a permanent base on the moon, the host introduced a surprise guest speaker giving the virtual podium to Ing. Adrian Stoica, Principal Senior Research Scientist with NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California at the Institute of Technology (Caltech). The latter is leading the research on devising a constant renewable energy supply for the envisioned moon base.

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