Congratulations to Drew Hirshfeld, who is expected to serve as Acting Under Secretary of Commerce in charge of the Patent Office beginning January 20, 2017, for several months, up until President Elect Trump names (and has confirmed) a nominee for the permanent position.

His ascendancy to the Lee position is conditioned upon the expected resignations of incumbents Michelle Lee and her Deputy, Russell Slifer.

Hirshfeld Service until July 2020Mr. Hirshfeld returns to his position as Commissioner for Patents when either of the Lee or Slifer positions are filled.

There has been some speculation that Mr. Hirshfeld would not be able to continue as Commissioner for Patents in the Trump Administration. But, that view is not realistic as Hirshfeld is serving as part of a five year appointment under 35 USC §3(b)(2)(A).  Termination is possible onlyunder 35 USC §3(b)(2)(C) “for misconduct or nonsatisfactory performance under the performance agreement described in [35 USC §3(b)(2)(B).]”

Naples Roundtable January 14-17, 2017:  The expected leadership succession and potential policy changes in the new Administration are expected to be back corridor discussions at the Naples Patent Experts conference.  Registrations are now being accepted at