According to folks at the Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO), current Commissioner for Patents Drew Hirshfeld is moving into the position of Acting Director of the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO). Hirshfeld is a long-time USPTO employee and is very familiar with both the patenting process and the details of running the multi-billion-dollar-agency. Congratulations Mr. Hirshfeld on the promotion!
There was some question about whether the position of Acting Director / Undersecretary of Commerce would go to the Patent Commissioner or instead to the current Acting Deputy Director Tony Scardino. According to the USPTO Succession Plan:
If the position of the Under Secretary is vacant, the Deputy Under Secretary shall serve as Acting Under Secretary. If both the Under Secretary and the Deputy Under Secretary positions are vacant, the Commissioner for Patents and the Commissioner for Trademarks, in that order, will perform the functions and duties of the Under Secretary.
Although Scardino has been the “Acting Deputy Under Secretary,” the position of “Deputy Under Secretary” itself is vacant — leading to Hirshfeld being next in line as Commissioner for Patents.