U.S. IP Coordinator Steps Down

by McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff LLP

Espinel, VictoriaThe first United States Intellectual Enforcement Property Coordinator ("IPEC"), Victoria Espinel (at right), has stepped down after four years in the position.  During her tenure, Ms. Espinel worked to strengthen enforcement of intellectual property rights in the United States, at its borders, and overseas.  Howard Shelanski, the recently confirmed administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs for the White House, will serve as the acting IPEC; IPEC chief of staff Alex Niejelow will help handle policy issues.

The position of IPEC was created by the Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property (PRO-IP) Act of 2008.  Under the PRO-IP Act, the IPEC is charged with developing the Joint Strategic Plan on Intellectual Property Enforcement and serves as a principal advisor to, and spokesperson for, the President on intellectual property issues.  The IPEC is also charged with assisting the US Trade Representative in intellectual property negotiations with other countries and enforcing foreign obligations under trade agreements.  Finally, the IPEC coordinates the issuance of intellectual property policy guidance to various governmental authorities.

Ms. Espinel was the first person appointed to the position of IPEC.  Prior to her appointment, she had worked in private law firms, governmental positions, and academia.  After graduating from law school, she worked as an associate at the law firms of Covington & Burling and Sidley Austin and served as an advisor for an investment company.  She then joined the Office of the US Trade Representative as the senior counsel for intellectual property issues in 2001.  In 2005, she became the first Assistant US Trade Representative for Intellectual Property and Innovation at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and, in that position, created the office of Intellectual Property and Innovation at the Office of the US Trade Representative.  Then, from 2007 to her appointment as IPEC in 2009, she was a visiting professor at the George Mason School of Law, specializing in intellectual property and international trade.

While serving as IPEC, Ms. Espinel oversaw the preparation and issuance of the first two Joint Strategic Plans on Intellectual Property Enforcement, the most recent one issued in June 2013.  She coordinated the preparation and launch of the Administration's Strategy on Mitigating the Theft of U.S. Trade Secrets and has helped facilitate the implementation of the America Invents Act, including by facilitating intragovernmental policy advice (see "Obama Administration Solicits Public Help in Preventing Foreign Trade Secret Theft").  And as the controversy over the Stop Online Piracy Act grew, she helped defuse concerns by writing a blog post indicating that "[a]ny effort to combat online piracy must guard against the risk of online censorship of lawful activity and must not inhibit innovation by our dynamic businesses large and small."  All in all, she will be credited for strengthening the enforcement of intellectual property rights over the past four years, especially through copyright, trade secret, and anti-counterfeiting laws and enforcement efforts.

Mr. Shelanski joined the White House last month from the Bureau of Economics at the Federal Trade Commission.  In his primary position, he is charged with reviewing all of the Obama Administration's potential regulations.  Like Ms. Espinel, he has also worked as a law professor (at the University of California, Berkeley and the Georgetown University Law Center).  Unlike Ms. Espinel, his focus has been on antitrust, regulation, and telecommunications policy.  Mr. Niejelow, who will be assisting him on policy issues, has been in the position of chief of staff for one year and was previously counselor and special assistant to the Commissioner of US Customs and Border Protection.

Ms. Espinel's departure leaves the office of the IPEC in need of both experience and focus.  She recently solicited comments from the public on potential legislative improvements to the enforcement of trade secrets in the US; the IPEC's office is supposed to promptly propose steps to take in response to those comments.  Further, Mr. Shelanski's divided attention will limit his ability to lead in facilitating intragovernmental cooperation in the enforcement of intellectual property rights.  Accordingly, in order to maintain the Obama Administration's momentum in protecting and enforcing intellectual property rights, and to prevent the importation of counterfeit goods, it will be important for a permanent replacement to be nominated quickly.


DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff LLP | Attorney Advertising

Written by:

McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff LLP

McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff LLP on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Custom Email Digest
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.


JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at info@jdsupra.com. In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at: info@jdsupra.com.

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.