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Apr. 5, 2022

IPWatchdog: IP Stakeholders Cheer as Senate Finally Confirms Vidal to Head USPTO by Eileen McDermott

The U.S. Senate confirmed Kathi Vidal as the next U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Director Tuesday night in a voice vote. Vidal’s confirmation comes after more than one year with no Senate-confirmed Director or Acting Director at the agency. Drew Hirshfeld has been operating under the title of “Performing the Duties and Functions of the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO” since January 2021.

When IPWatchdog first heard today from sources at the LeadershIP 2022 Conference in Washington, DC that Vidal might be confirmed, the overwhelming sentiment was, “It’s about time.” Hirshfeld’s “Performing” title has resulted in questions and court challenges about his statutory ability to legitimately lead the Office with that designation, including a current challenge by Arthrex, Inc., which could now be moot.