Trump signs Executive Order to eliminate job killing, outdated, unnecessary, ineffective regulations

By Gene Quinn
February 28, 2017

@POTUS Twitter Picture and Tweet: "This afternoon I signed an executive order to establish task forces that will help scrap job-killing regulations on American businesses." (February 24, 2017)

@POTUS Twitter Picture and Tweet: “This afternoon I signed an executive order to establish task forces that will help scrap job-killing regulations on American businesses.” (February 24, 2017)

By Executive Order dated February 24, 2017, President Donald J. Trump proclaimed: “It is the policy of the United States to alleviate unnecessary regulatory burdens placed on the American people.” After signing the Executive Order the President tweeted @POTUS: “This afternoon I signed an executive order to establish task forces that will help scrap job-killing regulations on American businesses.” And so the President’s regulatory reform agenda continues to take shape.

In this Executive Order, President Trump orders the heads of each agency* to designate a Regulatory Reform Officer (RRO) within 60 days. The RRO will oversee the implementation of the regulatory reform initiatives and policies, including what will become a significant streamlining of the regulatory estate in America.

In addition to the designation of a Regulatory Reform Officer, the Patent Office (along with many other agencies) will be required to create a Regulatory Reform Task Force, which will be made up of the RRO, the agency Regulatory Policy Officer, a representative from the USPTO’s central policy office, and at least three other senior level USPTO officials as determined by the Director of the USPTO.*

The Regulatory Reform Task Force is ordered to evaluate existing regulations and make recommendations to the Director of the USPTO regarding their repeal, replacement, or modification, consistent with applicable law.  The Executive Order directs the Regulatory Reform Task Force to seek input from entities significantly affected by Federal regulations, including specifically small businesses, consumers and trade associations.

At a minimum, the Executive Order requires each Regulatory Reform Task Force to attempt to identify regulations that:

  1. eliminate jobs, or inhibit job creation;
  2. are outdated, unnecessary, or ineffective;
  3. impose costs that exceed benefits;
  4. create a serious inconsistency or otherwise interfere with regulatory reform initiatives and policies;
  5. are inconsistent with the requirements of section 515 of the Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act, 2001 (44 U.S.C. 3516 note), or the guidance issued pursuant to that provision, in particular those regulations that rely in whole or in part on data, information, or methods that are not publicly available or that are insufficiently transparent to meet the standard for reproducibility; or
  6. derive from or implement Executive Orders or other Presidential directives that have been subsequently rescinded or substantially modified.

When considering the recommendations of the Regulatory Reform Task Force, the agency head has been told to prioritize those regulations identified as being outdated, unnecessary, or ineffective.

The Regulatory Task Force has very little time to show progress, with the first progress report scheduled for 90 days from the date of the Executive Order, which would be on or before May 25, 2017.

In the coming weeks I will create a list of regulations that the Regulatory Reform Task Force should identify for repeal. So stay tuned. In the meantime, let the discussion begin. Given the marching orders in the Executive Order, and the instructions to prioritize those regulations that outdated, unnecessary, or ineffective, which regulations come to mind as appropriate for repeal?

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* Exactly who will appoint the Regulatory Reform Officer for the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), or the other three members of the Regulatory Reform Task Force, remains unclear at this moment. The USPTO and the Department of Commerce continue to refuse to comment on who is Director, or if there is a Director or Acting Director of the USPTO. Presumably Michelle Lee has been held over to serve as Director of the USPTO, but without a public announcement it is impossible to say. While it has been untenable for the Office to operate in this way, it is becoming more untenable by the day. For more on the strange saga of Michelle Lee see our Michelle Lee archives.

The Author

Gene Quinn

Gene Quinn is a Patent Attorney and Editor and President & CEO ofIPWatchdog, Inc.. Gene founded IPWatchdog.com in 1999. Gene is also a principal lecturer in the PLI Patent Bar Review Course and Of Counsel to the law firm of Berenato & White, LLC. Gene’s specialty is in the area of strategic patent consulting, patent application drafting and patent prosecution. He consults with attorneys facing peculiar procedural issues at the Patent Office, advises investors and executives on patent law changes and pending litigation matters, and works with start-up businesses throughout the United States and around the world, primarily dealing with software and computer related innovations. is admitted to practice law in New Hampshire, is a Registered Patent Attorney and is also admitted to practice before the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. CLICK HERE to send Gene a message.

Warning & Disclaimer: The pages, articles and comments on IPWatchdog.com do not constitute legal advice, nor do they create any attorney-client relationship. The articles published express the personal opinion and views of the author and should not be attributed to the author’s employer, clients or the sponsors of IPWatchdog.com. Read more.

Discuss this

There are currently 5 Comments comments.

  1. EG February 28, 2017 11:19 am

    Hey Gene,

    Trump’s Executive Order here is a much needed directive to prune, and in some instances, completely axe this “forest of regulations” that burdens small businesses in particular. It also halts the growth and hopefully diminishes the size of this myriad of bloated agencies whose administrators dictate policies and rules that harm for more than they help, and often without effective recourse except through expensive litigation,

  2. B February 28, 2017 9:00 pm

    FYI, Trump was my third-to-last choice for POTUS. That said, this is a good step in the right direction.

  3. step back March 1, 2017 10:50 am

    Yeah. Like totally smarty pants brilliant.

    For every regulation added, two should be deleted.

    Example
    Old set of rules:
    R1
    R2
    R3

    New set of rules:
    R3
    R4 (new) composed of parts (a), (b) and (c):
    R4(a)= same as R1
    R4(b)= same as R2 and
    R4(c)= newly added burden

    Righ ….ett

  4. Simon Elliott March 1, 2017 1:57 pm

    I think that this is good theater, but a simplistic approach to the problems of over-regulation.
    -Most over-regulation that affects our daily lives is state and local, and so a Presidential executive order will do nothing.
    – The growth of the administrative state is a result of Congress ceding rule making to the administrative agencies. We can argue whether that is good or bad, but reforming it will require Congress or the Courts to do more.
    – Many agencies perform administrative rather than rulemaking functions. The PTO is there to examine and issue patents and trademarks, and most regulations deal with procedure, rather than the standards to be applied. Counting the number of regulations is not going to substantively change the result. In fact, removing regulation may make the experience worse, if you just leave more to the regulator’s judgment.
    – A lot of the “bad” experiences with Federal regulatory agencies is less about the rules and more about the implementation. Taking 4+ years to hear an appeal is not a matter of regulations, but resources.

  5. jbavis March 1, 2017 5:28 pm

    “alleviate unnecessary regulatory burdens placed on the American people”

    Can anyone think of a bigger unnecessary regulatory burden placed on American people than the AIA?

    Go thru the checklist one by one:

    1. eliminate jobs, or inhibit job creation;

    Check: AIA has wiped out inventors.

    2. are outdated, unnecessary, or ineffective;

    Check: AIA purpose was to get rid of “patent trolls” yet is completely ineffective (at whatever a troll is)

    3. impose costs that exceed benefits;

    Check: Small inventors are running away from patents

    4. create a serious inconsistency or otherwise interfere with regulatory reform initiatives and policies;

    Check: shouldn’t going opposite to hundreds of years of what worked be considered “serious inconsistency”?

    However don’t get your hopes up:

    “President Trump orders the heads of each agency* to designate a Regulatory Reform Officer (RRO) within 60 days”

    Great, so Lee gets to appoint this RROfficer?!