One of the topics to be discussed at tomorrow’s PPAC meeting is USPTO operations following the Supreme Court’s 2021 Arthrex decision. In Arthrex, the Supreme Court created an additional layer of review by the PTO Director in Inter Partes Review (IPR) proceedings following a PTAB final written decision. PTO Acting Director Drew Hirshfeld has considered the first two request for Director Review, and denied both requests. (IPR2020-00081 and IPR2020-00320). It appears that the Director personally considered both cases rather than delegating the decision back to the PTAB or another Official. Neither decision reach the merits but rather perfunctorily state:
It is ORDERED that the request for Director review is denied; and FURTHER ORDERED that the Patent Trial and Appeal Board’s Final Written Decision in this case is the final decision of the agency.
I expect that this approach will be the standard for almost all cases going forward.