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Online Symposium: Arthrex and the Politics of Patents

Guest Post by Tejas N. Narechania*

The Supreme Court’s decision in Arthrex is the latest in a growing set of decisions regarding administrative patent law. A close look at this entire series suggests that Arthrex is a culmination of a subtle shift in the Court’s approach to such cases. Where the Court once lauded the Patent Office’s expertise, the Court’s more recent decisions have emphasized flexibility and political accountability in patent decision-making. This development is both significant and salutary. For one, it marks the ongoing maturation of administrative patent law as one branch of administrative law, subject to the influences of the myriad administrative law values beyond expertise. This shift, moreover, is constructive, subjecting innovation- and access-governing principles to more democratic constraints.

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