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In a case that may be more about agency politics than patent law, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) faced off against the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit at the Supreme Court on March 24. Dickinson v. Zurko, No. 98?377.

The high court was asked to determine how much deference the appeals court should give to the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences and whether the board’s determinations should be reviewed under the “clear error” standard that the Federal Circuit uses or under the “abuse of discretion” standard mandated by the Administrative Procedures Act (APA).

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