Mass Law Blog

Looking for a New Job? How About Federal IP Czar?

by | Oct 20, 2008

So, you’re unhappy in your law firm job? Ready to move on to a job that has lots of responsibility but doesn’t require hourly billing and client headaches? A job that puts you in close proximity to the President and his closest advisers?  You’d like a job that provides security and good benefits? A federal pension to offset the losses in your 401K account?

Well, you can thank President Bush for creating this exciting new job when he signed the “Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property Act of 2008” last week. The legislation calls this the “short title” of the law. Yes, Congress does have a sense of humor. We’ll call the new law PRO-IP, which is even shorter, and tells you almost as much about the law as the slightly longer title (but still short, no disrespect meant) assigned by Congress.

Copyright lawyers always get excited when the Copyright Act is amended, but as I suggested above, there is even greater cause for excitement this time: the new law creates the position of “International Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator.” This is a mouthful, so we’d prefer the term “IP Czar” (or perhaps simply “the Czar” to the Czar’s subordinates when they’re talking about her ourside of her hearing).

This is a great job. You get to work in the Executive Office of the President, (the “EOP” as its known to those “beltway insiders”), and maybe even work in the White House itself, or at least the Executive Office Building. This is a “with-the-advice-and-consent-of-the-Senate” job, so your friends and family may get to see you interrogated by the Judiciary Committee on C-SPAN.

And, should you be confirmed (assuming you are not “Borked” or subject to a “Hi Tech Lynching” or anything along those lines), here’s a “general” description of your job, as described in the statute:

(1) IN GENERAL- The [IP Czar] shall–

(A) chair the interagency intellectual property enforcement advisory committee established under subsection (b)(3)(A);

(B) coordinate the development of the Joint Strategic Plan against counterfeiting and infringement by the advisory committee under section 303;

(C) assist, at the request of the departments and agencies listed in subsection (b)(3)(A), in the implementation of the Joint Strategic Plan;

(D) facilitate the issuance of policy guidance to departments and agencies on basic issues of policy and interpretation, to the extent necessary to assure the coordination of intellectual property enforcement policy and consistency with other law;

(E) report to the President and report to Congress, to the extent consistent with law, regarding domestic and international intellectual property enforcement programs; and

(G) carry out such other functions as the President may direct.

Well, I’ve got to run now and revise my resume, I mean delete some of the anti-government stuff I said on Facebook, errrrr… get some of those copyright law articles I’ve written updated and on the web, I mean ah, yes, call back a client, that’s it!

(p.s. – needless to say, this law contains a lot that’s worth serious discussion, and I’ll return to it in more detail later. You betcha.)