37 CFR 11.54 - Initial decision of hearing officer.

§ 11.54 Initial decision of hearing officer.

(a) The hearing officer shall make an initial decision in the case. The decision will include:

(1) A statement of findings of fact and conclusions of law, as well as the reasons or bases for those findings and conclusions with appropriate references to the record, upon all the material issues of fact, law, or discretion presented on the record, and

(2) An order of default judgment, of suspension or exclusion from practice, of reprimand, of probation or an order dismissing the complaint. The order also may impose any conditions deemed appropriate under the circumstances. The hearing officer shall transmit a copy of the decision to the OED Director and to the respondent. After issuing the decision, the hearing officer shall transmit the entire record to the OED Director. In the absence of an appeal to the USPTO Director, the decision of the hearing officer, including a default judgment, will, without further proceedings, become the decision of the USPTO Director thirty days from the date of the decision of the hearing officer.

(b) The initial decision of the hearing officer shall explain the reason for any default judgment, reprimand, suspension, exclusion, or probation, and shall explain any conditions imposed with discipline. In determining any sanction, the following four factors must be considered if they are applicable:

(1) Whether the practitioner has violated a duty owed to a client, to the public, to the legal system, or to the profession;

(2) Whether the practitioner acted intentionally, knowingly, or negligently;

(3) The amount of the actual or potential injury caused by the practitioner's misconduct; and

(4) The existence of any aggravating or mitigating factors.

[ 73 FR 47689, Aug. 14, 2008, as amended at 78 FR 20201, Apr. 3, 2013]

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