Trials and Appeals
Once disciplinary charges are filed, the matter is assigned to a judge. In general, the case is handled like any other litigation process, with pleadings, motions practice, discovery, and an evidentiary hearing.
USPTO disciplinary trials are handled by administrative law judges from different federal agencies outside of the Patent Office. The pre-filing phase of a USPTO disciplinary trial ordinarily proceeds at a rapid pace, with a target for trial usually set at 4 (four) months after the disciplinary complaint is filedand a recommended decision issued 9 (nine) months from filing the complaint.
The ALJ’s recommended decision will automatically become a final agency decision unless an appeal to the USPTO Director is filed within 30 (thirty) days. The USPTO Director may reverse, affirm, vacate or remand the recommended decision. Once the USPTO issues a final agency decision, an aggrieved attorney or agent may seek judicial review by filing a petition pursuant to the Administrative Procedures Act in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. From there, a further appeal of right may be taken to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.
Michael McCabe is an experienced federal litigator. He will work tirelessly to help his clients when they are involved in a disciplinary trial or appeal.