Hirshfeld's Arthrex Clearance Empowers Interim Leaders

By Dani Kass (May 27, 2022, 12:38 PM EDT) -- The Federal Circuit on Friday held that Patent Commissioner Drew Hirshfeld had the authority to conduct U.S. Patent and Trademark Office director reviews mandated by the U.S. Supreme Court in Arthrex, adding clarity to the powers of interim agency directors.

The Supreme Court ruled in June 2021's U.S. v. Arthrex that a Senate-approved officer must be able to overturn Patent Trial and Appeal Board decisions that the USPTO disagrees with, since the PTAB judges themselves are not Senate-confirmed.

Hirshfeld — who is not Senate-confirmed but was leading the agency as a temporary director between former Director Andrei Iancu's January 2021 resignation...

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