The Arthrex decision caused considerable confusion and excitement among the patent bar last week, partly because the issue decided by the Federal Circuit was a constitutional, and not a patent one. While we await next steps from the parties and the USPTO, IPWatchdog spoke to several constitutional law experts to get their take on the significance of the decision and the likelihood that the Supreme Court would be interested in the issue if appealed. All agreed that the Federal Circuit’s reasoning was correct, though one thought the Court’s approach to deciding that administrative patent judges (APJs) are inferior officers was slightly “unusual” in its focus strictly on the issue of “supervision” over other factors that the Supreme Court has found to be relevant to the distinction between inferior and principal officers. IPWatchdog posed three questions to the experts based on some of the issues that have been raised since Arthrex.

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