SUPREME COURT SKEPTICAL ABOUT PATENT JUDGE APPOINTMENTS
AppleMagazine|AppleMagazine #488
The Supreme Court seemed likely to find that the judges who oversee patent disputes are not properly appointed, a case important to patent holders and inventors including major technology companies.

The question for the justices has to do with more than 250 administrative patent judges who make up the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, which was created by Congress in 2011. The court’s decision could be disruptive to the functioning of the board, which issues hundreds of decisions a year. The justices’ decision could also potentially affect more than 100 other similarly-appointed officials.

The case involves the Constitution’s Appointments Clause which lays out how government officials can be appointed. As the size of government has increased, a growing conservative legal movement has objected to unelected officials wielding vast amounts of power. Appointments Clause challenges have been one way to check that power.

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