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 specific 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.

(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 shall be considered if they are applicable:

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

(c) The hearing officer shall transmit a copy of the initial decision to the OED Director and to the respondent and shall transmit the record of the proceeding to the OED Director within 14 days, or as soon as practicable if thereafter, of the date of the initial decision.

(d) In the absence of an appeal to the USPTO Director, the decision of the hearing officer will, without further proceedings, become the final decision of the USPTO Director 30 days from the date of the decision of the hearing officer.

[86 FR 28463, May 26, 2021]

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