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Witnesses Tell House IP Subcommittee, “It’s Up to You” to Fix Arthrex

“It’s up to you to do the right thing and fix this,” said Professor Arti Rai of The Center for Innovation Policy at Duke University School of Law near the end of a hearing on what Congress should do in the wake of the Arthrex decision yesterday. Rai was one of four IP scholars who testified during the hearing of the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet; all witnesses seemed to agree that the courts will not fix the problem soon enough to ensure the requisite certainty for U.S. patent owners and businesses, so Congress must act. In Arthrex, the Federal Circuit found that the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s (PTAB’s) Administrative Patent Judges (APJs) were unconstitutionally appointed and removed the civil service protections they previously were deemed to enjoy—although, as Professor John Duffy of the University of Virginia School of Law pointed out, if the Federal Circuit ruled that the APJs can’t have tenure, that arguably means they never did. “If you go back to Marbury v. Madison, courts don’t actually strike down statutes; they simply say what the law is,” Duffy said.

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