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:
- eliminate jobs, or inhibit job creation;
- are outdated, unnecessary, or ineffective;
- impose costs that exceed benefits;
- create a serious inconsistency or otherwise interfere with regulatory reform initiatives and policies;
- 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
- derive from or implement Executive Orders or other Presidential directives that have been subsequently rescinded or substantially modified.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?
* 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.