Trademark Law Updates | New Proposed Legislation
July 28, 2008
Senate Passes Bill Transferring Power to Appoint Admin IP Judges from the USPTO to the Commerce Secretary
To amend Title 35, United States Code, and the Trademark Act of 1946
H.R.6362, S.3295, 7/22/2008
The U.S. Senate has unanimously passed on Tuesday, July 22, 2008 a bill that transfers the power to appoint administrative trademark judges and administrative patent judges from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) to the Secretary of Commerce.
The proposed legislation however did not totally clip the power of the Director of the USPTO because such appointments will have to be made upon prior consultation with the Director.
The bill further states: ‘‘(d) DEFENSE TO CHALLENGE OF APPOINTMENT.— It shall be a defense to a challenge to the appointment of an administrative patent judge on the basis of the judge’s having been originally appointed by the Director that the administrative patent (or trademark) judge so appointed was acting as a de facto officer.’’
Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (VT) introduced the bill on July 21, 2008. On July 22, 2008, the Senate unanimously approved the bill without any amendment. The House of Representatives referred its own version of the bill on June 25, 2008 to the House Committee on the Judiciary. Rep. Howard L. Berman (CA-28) introduced the House version on the floor on June 25, 2008.
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