Congress has sent President Bush a bill to resolve the questionable constitutionality of the appointment of about 50 administrative patent and trademark appeals judges.

The legislation, approved recently by both houses, affects appointment of judges to the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences (BPAI) and the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. The key provision would transfer the power to appoint those judges from the director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) to the secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

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