Update: White House’s IP chief takes industry position

Victoria EspinelThe head of the Obama Administration’s intellectual property taskforce, Victoria Espinel, has stepped down after almost four years in the post.

She is making the switch from government to industry and will join the Software Alliance (formerly the Business Software Alliance or BSA) as president and chief executive.

Espinel was named as the first Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator (IPEC) by the White House in December 2009, and is credited with formulating a robust framework for the defence of the USA’s creative and research-based industries.

Her departure comes as something of a disappointment as the IPEC role has helped focus attention on IP issues. Cary Sherman, chief executive of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) called for the position to be filled “quickly” and by a “prominent and credible successor.”

Espinel officially stepped down on August 9, and will be replaced in the interim by Howard Shelanski, who was recently named administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA).

During her stint at the White House, Espinel drew up the latest Joint Strategic Plan on Intellectual Property Enforcement, implementing tougher penalties for counterfeiting, greater levels of information sharing between rights holders and customs and more power for the FDA to destroy falsified and adulterated medicines.

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