On June 21, 2021, the US Supreme Court issued its eagerly awaited decision in Arthrex, Inc. v. Smith & Nephew, Inc., No. 19-1434. Two questions were before the Court. First, are Administrative Patent Judges (APJs) “principal officers” who must be appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate under the Appointments Clause of the US Constitution? Second, if APJs are principal officers, what remedy should be adopted?
The Supreme Court held that APJs are principal officers. But the Supreme Court disagreed with the remedy adopted by the Federal Circuit, which had severed restrictions on removing APJs from their positions. Instead, the Supreme Court struck down restrictions on the Director’s authority to unilaterally review final decisions of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB).
In this WilmerHale webinar, Partners David Cavanaugh, Nora Passamaneck and Tom Saunders analyzed the Supreme Court decision in Arthrex and discussed key implications. The webinar discussed:
- the Supreme Court’s reasoning;
- questions left open by the decision;
- next steps for petitioners and patent owners at all stages of proceedings;
- the implications of the forfeiture analysis in Carr v. Saul, another Appointments Clause case decided this term;
- potential congressional action; and
- the long-term implications for the PTAB.
*CLE credit is not available for those who watch webinar recordings.