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As the Biden administration fills key Cabinet positions, its attention must turn to other critical areas of the U.S. government, like appointing a new director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). This agency is unusual in the federal government because it operates solely on fees collected by its users and not on taxpayer dollars.

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The office has been working under an acting director, Drew Hirshfeld, since the previous director, Andrei Iancu, officially resigned on Jan. 19, 2021. The USPTO director that President Biden selects will provide important signal of the administration’s patent priorities and can have a positive impact at a time when patents are being abused to support high drug prices.

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