Supreme Court Will Decide If PTAB Violates Appointments Clause
Written October 13, 2020
On October 13, 2020, the Supreme Court agreed to decide whether the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, as created by the AIA, violates the Appointments Clause in Article II of the Constitution. The Court granted certiorari in three consolidated cases (United States v. Arthrex, Inc., et al. 19-1434; Smith & Nephew, Inc., et al. v. Arthrex, Inc., et al., 19-1452; and Arthrex, Inc., v. Smith & Nephew, Inc., et al., 19-1458), but limited its review to two specific questions presented by the filing of the government
- Whether, for purposes of the Appointments Clause, U.S. Const. Art. II, § 2, Cl. 2, administrative patent judges of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office are principal officers who must be appointed by the President with the Senate’s advice and consent, or “inferior Officers” whose appointment Congress has permissibly vested in a department head.
- Whether, if administrative patent judges are principal officers, the court of appeals properly cured any Appointments Clause defect in the current statutory scheme prospectively by severing the application of 5 U.S.C. 7513(a) to those judges