Worley v. U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, No. Civ.A. 99-1469 (RCL).

CourtU.S. District Court — District of Columbia
Writing for the CourtLamberth
Citation121 F.Supp.2d 107
PartiesRobert S. WORLEY, Plaintiff, v. UNITED STATES PATENT AND TRADEMARK OFFICE, et al., Defendants.
Docket NumberNo. Civ.A. 99-1469 (RCL).
Decision Date08 November 2000

Page 107

121 F.Supp.2d 107
Robert S. WORLEY, Plaintiff,
v.
UNITED STATES PATENT AND TRADEMARK OFFICE, et al., Defendants.
No. Civ.A. 99-1469 (RCL).
United States District Court, District of Columbia.
November 8, 2000.

Robert S. Worley, Irvine, CA, for plaintiff.

Wilma A. Lewis, Mark E. Nagle, Paul S. Padda, United States Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia, Washington, DC, for defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

LAMBERTH, District Judge.


This matter comes before the Court on defendants' Motion to Dismiss, or, in the Alternative, for Summary Judgment. Upon consideration of that motion and supporting documents, plaintiff's opposition thereto, defendants' reply, the entire record herein, and the relevant law, the Court grants defendants' motion.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Robert Worley brings this action against the Commissioner of the United States Patent and Trademark Office ("USPTO"). Worley alleges that the Commissioner of the USPTO has "denied in an arbitrary and capricious manner, without color of law and without justification, Plaintiff's admission to practice before the USPTO" by giving him a failing grade on his Patent Bar examination. Plaintiff's Complaint at ¶ 21 (hereinafter "Compl. ¶").

The facts in this case are undisputed. Mr. Worley has sat for the Patent Bar examination three times. On his first attempt in May 1995, he failed the entire examination. On his second attempt in August 1996, he passed the afternoon section and failed the morning section. On his third attempt in August 1997, he once again failed the morning section, receiving a grade of 66 when a grade of 70 was required to pass. Compl. ¶¶ 5-11. In April 1998, Mr. Worley submitted a formal request to the USPTO for regrading of three of his answers, which, if granted, would have given him a passing grade on the morning section. In his request, he argued that his interpretations of the questions

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and subsequent answers were reasonable, and that his answers should therefore be graded as correct. The USPTO denied his request because the USPTO relies upon its Model Answers both when grading and regrading questions, and Mr. Worley's answers differed from the Model Answers. Compl. ¶¶ 13-14. In September 1998, Mr. Worley then filed a petition for review of the decision to deny his request for a regrade. The USPTO denied his petition. Compl. ¶¶ 15-16.

On June 8, 1998, Mr. Worley filed this complaint alleging (a) that the USPTO erroneously graded his examination answers as incorrect and that in so doing, the USPTO breached a duty to people taking the patent examination to correctly analyze and apply the relevant law; and (b) that the USPTO, in this...

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