TMEP 1701: Statutory Authority of Director

This is the October 2015 Edition of the TMEP

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1701    Statutory Authority of Director

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) is led by the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“Director”). The Commissioner for Trademarks oversees the staff and operations of the USPTO with regard to trademark matters. 35 U.S.C. §3(b)(2). See TMEP §1709 regarding delegation of duties by the Director.

The Patent and Trademark Office Efficiency Act, Subtitle G of the American Inventors Protection Act of 1999, Pub. L. 106-113, 113 Stat. 1501A-572, amended Title 35 of the United States Code to reorganize the USPTO as a performance-based organization within the Department of Commerce. See Reestablishment of the Patent and Trademark Office as the United States Patent and Trademark Office, 1234 TMOG 41 (May 9, 2000). Section 4732(b)(1)(B) of the Patent and Trademark Office Efficiency Act, 113 Stat. 1501A-583, amended the Trademark Act of 1946, 15 U.S.C. 1051 et seq. (except for §17) to strike “Commissioner” in each place that it appears and substitute “Director.” Section 4741(b) of the Patent and Trademark Office Efficiency Act, 113 Stat. 1501A-586, provides that:

Any reference in any other Federal law, Executive order, rule, regulation, or delegation of authority, or any document of or pertaining to the Patent and Trademark Office-

  • (1) to the Commissioner of Patents and Trademarks is deemed to refer to the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office; [and]

* * *

  • (3) to the Assistant Commissioner for Trademarks is deemed to refer to the Commissioner for Trademarks.

Under 15 U.S.C. §1123 and 35 U.S.C. §2(b)(2), the Director may establish regulations for the conduct of proceedings in the USPTO.

Citation to decisions issued by the Director on petition on or after March 29, 2000 must include a parenthetical reference to “(Dir USPTO <specify year>).” Citation to decisions issued by the Commissioner for Patents and Trademarks prior to March 29, 2000 must reference “(Comm’r Pats. <specify year>).”

See TMEP §1709 regarding delegation of the Director’s authority.