Irell & Manella’s Andrei Iancu will be taking a multimillion-dollar pay cut if he’s confirmed as President Donald Trump’s nominee to head the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
According to a financial disclosure form made public last week, Iancu was pulling in roughly $4 million a year from his partnership during 2016-17. That places him just above Irell’s average profits per partner of about $2.985 million in 2016, as reported by The American Lawyer. Irell is one of the most profitable law firms in the country.
Iancu holds a diversified portfolio of investments, many of which he has pledged to divest within 90 days of confirmation. One stands out as having a direct tie to Iancu’s legal work—a stake of $250,000 to $500,000 in Juno Therapeutics. Iancu helped defend Juno from an attack at the Patent Trial and Appeal Board on one of its cancer treatment patents. Iancu also has represented Juno in its suits against Kite Pharma Inc. in district court, though his name is absent from a new complaint filed earlier this month.
Iancu listed 16 clients from which he received $5,000 or more in the last two years: 10X Genomics Inc., Ariosa Diagnostics Inc., B/E Aerospace Inc., eBay Inc., Juno, Memorial Sloan Kettering, PayPal Inc., Skyworks Solutions Inc., St. Jude Medical, Synaptics Inc., TiVo Corp., ZOLL Medical Corp., Sienna Labs Inc., Thomson Licensing, Rigel Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Continuance LLC.
As part of the ethics disclosure, he has promised not to take part in any PTO matters involving an Irell client for one year after confirmation and withdrawal from the Irell partnership.
Iancu’s Executive Branch Personnel Form 278e also sheds some light on Irell’s investments as a firm. Through Irell, Iancu holds small stakes in a few “moonshot” investments: Patrick Soon-Shiong‘s NantKwest immunotherapy company, Elon Musk’s SpaceX technologies, social media startup PEQ Media and obscure film financier Loton SPA.
The NantKwest investment is awkward: Irell and the company are currently tangling with the PTO before the en banc Federal Circuit over whether the company has to pay the PTO’s attorneys fees for appealing a disallowed patent to district court.
Iancu has pledged to withdraw from the partnership upon confirmation and to divest his interest in those stocks within 90 days, along with any share of contingency fees he might be entitled to and his holdings in Irell’s cash balance pension plan
The Executive Branch Personnel Form 278e requires filers to list their income for the previous calendar year through the date of filing the form. Iancu signed his on May 16—a few weeks before his predecessor, Michelle Lee, resigned from the post. Iancu lists $4,733,748 in income, plus another $500,000 to $100,000 still owed. That works out to about $4 million on a 12-month basis.
He also holds between $500,000 and $1 million in Irell’s capital account, which also would be refunded to him upon withdrawal from the partnership. Iancu also lists a holding of $250,000-500,000 in Irell’s cash balance pension plan.
Aside from income, the form calls for a range of value on other assets, rather than precise figures. It indicates that Iancu and his wife, who is a partner in the Southern California Permanente Medical Group, have a net worth between roughly $10 million and $40 million.
The couple holds six-figure stakes in mainstream stock and bond mutual funds, some through retirement accounts, some real estate and some individual bonds. They also have a long list of small investments, mostly under $15,000, mostly in S&P 500 companies. A few, like eBay, have been Irell clients, but most have no obvious connection to the firm. In some cases, such as with Apple Inc. and Google, Irell has actually sued them for patent infringement in recent years.
Many of the assets are held in a revocable trust of which Iancu is trustee. In an ethical disclosure statement required by 18 U.S.C. Section 208(a), Iancu promises to divest his interests in the individual stocks within 90 days of his confirmation.