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Title 15 Subtitle A Part 15 Subpart A

Title 15 → Subtitle A → Part 15 → Subpart A

Electronic Code of Federal Regulations e-CFR

Title 15 Subtitle A Part 15 Subpart A

e-CFR data is current as of February 18, 2020

Title 15Subtitle APart 15 → Subpart A


Title 15: Commerce and Foreign Trade
PART 15—LEGAL PROCEEDINGS


Subpart A—Service of Process


Contents
§15.1   Scope and purpose.
§15.2   Definitions.
§15.3   Acceptance of service of process.

Source: 53 FR 41318, Oct. 21, 1988, unless otherwise noted. Redesignated at 62 FR 19669, Apr. 23, 1997.

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§15.1   Scope and purpose.

(a) This subpart sets forth the procedures to be followed when a summons or complaint is served on the Department, a component, or the Secretary or a Department employee in his or her official capacity.

(b) This subpart is intended to ensure the orderly execution of the affairs of the Department and not to impede any legal proceeding.

(c) This subpart does not apply to subpoenas. The procedures to be followed with respect to subpoenas are set out in subpart B.

(d) This subpart does not apply to service of process made on a Department employee personally on matters not related to official business of the Department or to the official responsibilities of the Department employee.

[53 FR 41318, Oct. 21, 1988. Redesignated and amended at 62 FR 19669, 19670, Apr. 23, 1997]

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§15.2   Definitions.

For the purpose of this subpart:

(a) General Counsel means the General Counsel of the United States Department of Commerce or other Department employee to whom the General Counsel has delegated authority to act under this subpart, or the chief legal officer (or designee) of the Department of Commerce component concerned.

(b) Component means Office of the Secretary or an operating unit of the Department as defined in Department Organization Order 1-1.

(c) Department means the Department of Commerce.

(d) Department employee means any officer or employee of the Department, including commissioned officers of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

(e) Legal proceeding means a proceeding before a tribunal constituted by law, including a court, an administrative body or commission, or an administrative law judge or hearing officer.

(f) Official business means the authorized business of the Department.

(g) Secretary means Secretary of Commerce.

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§15.3   Acceptance of service of process.

(a) Except as otherwise provided in this subpart, any summons or complaint to be served in person or by registered or certified mail or as otherwise authorized by law on the Department, a component or the Secretary or a Department employee in their official capacity, shall be served on the General Counsel of the United States Department of Commerce, Washington, DC 20230.

(b) Any summons or complaint to be served in person or by registered or certified mail or as otherwise authorized by law on the Patent and Trademark Office or the Commissioner of Patents and Trademarks or an employee of the Patent and Trademark Office in his or her official capacity, shall be served on the Solicitor for the Patent and Trademark Office or a Department employee designated by the Solicitor.

(c) Except as otherwise provided in this subpart, any component or Department employee served with a summons or complaint shall immediately notify and deliver the summons or complaint to the office of the General Counsel. Any employee of the Patent and Trademark Office served with a summons or complaint shall immediately notify and deliver the summons or complaint to the office of the Solicitor.

(d) Any Department employee receiving a summons or complaint shall note on the summons or complaint the date, hour, and place of service and whether service was by personal delivery or by mail.

(e) When a legal proceeding is brought to hold a Department employee personally liable in connection with an action taken in the conduct of official business, rather than liable in an official capacity, the Department employee by law is to be served personally with process. Service of process in this case is inadequate when made upon the General Counsel or the Solicitor or their designees. Except as otherwise provided in this subpart, a Department employee sued personally for an action taken in the conduct of official business shall immediately notify and deliver a copy of the summons or complaint to the office of the General Counsel. Any employee of the Patent and Trademark Office sued personally for an action taken in the conduct of official business shall immediately notify and deliver a copy of the summons or complaint to the Office of the Solicitor.

(f) A Department employee sued personally in connection with official business may be represented by the Department of Justice at its discretion. See 28 CFR 50.15 and 50.16 (1987).

(g) The General Counsel or Solicitor or Department employee designated by either, when accepting service of process for a Department employee in an official capacity, shall endorse on the Marshal's or server's return of service form or receipt for registered or certified mail the following statement: “Service accepted in official capacity only.” The statement may be placed on the form or receipt with a rubber stamp.

(h) Upon acceptance of service or receiving notification of service, as provided in this section, the General Counsel and Solicitor shall take appropriate steps to protect the rights of the Department, component, the Secretary or Department employee involved.

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