Inaugural White House IP chief resigns

Victoria Espinel promoted anti-piracy and anti-counterfeiting efforts during her four years at the White House

The White House’s first intellectual property enforcement officer has stepped down after four years in the position.

President Obama appointed Victoria Espinel to the role in September 2009, after the 2008 Pro-IP Act established the position.  While at the White House, Espinel was responsible for developing and implementing the government’s IP enforcement strategy. She promoted private-sector efforts to develop best practices for preventing online piracy and counterfeiting, and pushed Congress to make illegal online streaming a felony in certain cases.

Espinel is a front-runner to act as CEO of BSA, a software industry trade group, according to The Hill. Meanwhile, the vacant IP chief position will be filled on an interim basis by Howard Shelanski, the current administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs at the Office of Management and Budget.

Before her tenure in the Obama administration, Espinel taught intellectual property and international trade law as a professor at the George Mason University School of Law. She has also held various public sector roles in the past, having served as senior counsel for intellectual property issues at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and an intellectual property adviser to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Senate Finance Committee, House Judiciary Committee and House Committee on Ways and Means.

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