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Title 37 Part 11 → Subpart B

Title 37 → Chapter I → Part 11 → Subpart B

Electronic Code of Federal Regulations e-CFR

Title 37 Part 11 → Subpart B

e-CFR data is current as of December 6, 2019

Title 37Chapter IPart 11 → Subpart B


Title 37: Patents, Trademarks, and Copyrights
PART 11—REPRESENTATION OF OTHERS BEFORE THE UNITED STATES PATENT AND TRADEMARK OFFICE


§11.4   [Reserved]

§11.5   Register of attorneys and agents in patent matters; practice before the Office.

(a) A register of attorneys and agents is kept in the Office on which are entered the names of all individuals recognized as entitled to represent applicants having prospective or immediate business before the Office in the preparation and prosecution of patent applications. Registration in the Office under the provisions of this part shall entitle the individuals so registered to practice before the Office only in patent matters.

(b) Practice before the Office. Practice before the Office includes, but is not limited to, law-related service that comprehends any matter connected with the presentation to the Office or any of its officers or employees relating to a client's rights, privileges, duties, or responsibilities under the laws or regulations administered by the Office for the grant of a patent or registration of a trademark, or for enrollment or disciplinary matters. Such presentations include preparing necessary documents in contemplation of filing the documents with the Office, corresponding and communicating with the Office, and representing a client through documents or at interviews, hearings, and meetings, as well as communicating with and advising a client concerning matters pending or contemplated to be presented before the Office. Nothing in this section proscribes a practitioner from employing or retaining non-practitioner assistants under the supervision of the practitioner to assist the practitioner in matters pending or contemplated to be presented before the Office.

(1) Practice before the Office in patent matters. Practice before the Office in patent matters includes, but is not limited to, preparing and prosecuting any patent application, consulting with or giving advice to a client in contemplation of filing a patent application or other document with the Office, drafting the specification or claims of a patent application; drafting an amendment or reply to a communication from the Office that may require written argument to establish the patentability of a claimed invention; drafting a reply to a communication from the Office regarding a patent application; and drafting a communication for a public use, interference, reexamination proceeding, petition, appeal to or any other proceeding before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, or other proceeding. Registration to practice before the Office in patent cases sanctions the performance of those services which are reasonably necessary and incident to the preparation and prosecution of patent applications or other proceeding before the Office involving a patent application or patent in which the practitioner is authorized to participate. The services include:

(i) Considering the advisability of relying upon alternative forms of protection which may be available under state law, and

(ii) Drafting an assignment or causing an assignment to be executed for the patent owner in contemplation of filing or prosecution of a patent application for the patent owner, where the practitioner represents the patent owner after a patent issues in a proceeding before the Office, and when drafting the assignment the practitioner does no more than replicate the terms of a previously existing oral or written obligation of assignment from one person or party to another person or party.

(2) Practice before the Office in trademark matters. Practice before the Office in trademark matters includes, but is not limited to, consulting with or giving advice to a client in contemplation of filing a trademark application or other document with the Office; preparing and prosecuting an application for trademark registration; preparing an amendment which may require written argument to establish the registrability of the mark; and conducting an opposition, cancellation, or concurrent use proceeding; or conducting an appeal to the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.

[73 FR 47688, Aug. 14, 2008, as amended at 77 FR 46629, Aug. 6, 2012]

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§11.6   Registration of attorneys and agents.

(a) Attorneys. Any citizen of the United States who is an attorney and who fulfills the requirements of this part may be registered as a patent attorney to practice before the Office. When appropriate, any alien who is an attorney, who lawfully resides in the United States, and who fulfills the requirements of this part may be registered as a patent attorney to practice before the Office, provided that such registration is not inconsistent with the terms upon which the alien was admitted to, and resides in, the United States and further provided that the alien may remain registered only:

(1) If the alien continues to lawfully reside in the United States and registration does not become inconsistent with the terms upon which the alien continues to lawfully reside in the United States, or

(2) If the alien ceases to reside in the United States, the alien is qualified to be registered under paragraph (c) of this section. See also §11.9(b).

(b) Agents. Any citizen of the United States who is not an attorney, and who fulfills the requirements of this part may be registered as a patent agent to practice before the Office. When appropriate, any alien who is not an attorney, who lawfully resides in the United States, and who fulfills the requirements of this part may be registered as a patent agent to practice before the Office, provided that such registration is not inconsistent with the terms upon which the alien was admitted to, and resides in, the United States, and further provided that the alien may remain registered only:

(1) If the alien continues to lawfully reside in the United States and registration does not become inconsistent with the terms upon which the alien continues to lawfully reside in the United States or

(2) If the alien ceases to reside in the United States, the alien is qualified to be registered under paragraph (c) of this section. See also §11.9(b).

(c) Foreigners. Any foreigner not a resident of the United States who shall file proof to the satisfaction of the OED Director that he or she is registered and in good standing before the patent office of the country in which he or she resides and practices, and who is possessed of the qualifications stated in §11.7, may be registered as a patent agent to practice before the Office for the limited purpose of presenting and prosecuting patent applications of applicants located in such country, provided that the patent office of such country allows substantially reciprocal privileges to those admitted to practice before the Office. Registration as a patent agent under this paragraph shall continue only during the period that the conditions specified in this paragraph obtain. Upon notice by the patent office of such country that a patent agent registered under this section is no longer registered or no longer in good standing before the patent office of such country, and absent a showing of cause why his or her name should not be removed from the register, the OED Director shall promptly remove the name of the patent agent from the register and publish the fact of removal. Upon ceasing to reside in such country, the patent agent registered under this section is no longer qualified to be registered under this section, and the OED Director shall promptly remove the name of the patent agent from the register and publish the fact of removal.

(d) Patent Trial and Appeal Board matters. For action by a person who is not registered in a proceeding before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board, see §41.5(a) or §42.10(c) of this title.

[69 FR 35452, June 24, 2004, as amended at 69 FR 50003, Aug. 12, 2004; 77 FR 46629, Aug. 6, 2012]

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§11.7   Requirements for registration.

(a) No individual will be registered to practice before the Office unless he or she has:

(1) Applied to the USPTO Director in writing by completing an application for registration form supplied by the OED Director and furnishing all requested information and material; and

(2) Established to the satisfaction of the OED Director that he or she:

(i) Possesses good moral character and reputation;

(ii) Possesses the legal, scientific, and technical qualifications necessary for him or her to render applicants valuable service; and

(iii) Is competent to advise and assist patent applicants in the presentation and prosecution of their applications before the Office.

(b)(1) To enable the OED Director to determine whether an individual has the qualifications specified in paragraph (a)(2) of this section, the individual shall:

(i) File a complete application for registration each time admission to the registration examination is requested. A complete application for registration includes:

(A) An application for registration form supplied by the OED Director wherein all requested information and supporting documents are furnished,

(B) Payment of the fees required by §1.21(a)(1) of this subchapter,

(C) Satisfactory proof of scientific and technical qualifications, and

(D) For aliens, provide proof that recognition is not inconsistent with the terms of their visa or entry into the United States;

(ii) Pass the registration examination, unless the taking and passing of the examination is waived as provided in paragraph (d) of this section. Unless examination is waived pursuant to paragraph (d) of this section, each individual seeking registration must take and pass the registration examination to enable the OED Director to determine whether the individual possesses the legal and competence qualifications specified in paragraphs (a)(2)(ii) and (a)(2)(iii) of this section. An individual failing the examination may, upon receipt of notice of failure from OED, reapply for admission to the examination. An individual failing the examination must wait thirty days after the date the individual last took the examination before retaking the examination. An individual reapplying shall:

(A) File a completed application for registration form wherein all requested information and supporting documents are furnished,

(B) Pay the fees required by §1.21(a)(1) of this subchapter, and

(C) For aliens, provide proof that recognition is not inconsistent with the terms of their visa or entry into the United States; and

(iii) Provide satisfactory proof of possession of good moral character and reputation.

(2) An individual failing to file a complete application for registration will not be admitted to the examination and will be notified of the incompleteness. Applications for registration that are incomplete as originally submitted will be considered only when they have been completed and received by OED, provided that this occurs within sixty days of the mailing date of the notice of incompleteness. Thereafter, a new and complete application for registration must be filed. Only an individual approved as satisfying the requirements of paragraphs (b)(1)(i)(A), (b)(1)(i)(B), (b)(1)(i)(C) and (b)(1)(i)(D) of this section may be admitted to the examination.

(3) If an individual does not reapply until more than one year after the mailing date of a notice of failure, that individual must again comply with paragraph (b)(1)(i) of this section.

(c) Each individual seeking registration is responsible for updating all information and answers submitted in or with the application for registration based upon anything occurring between the date the application for registration is signed by the individual, and the date he or she is registered or recognized to practice before the Office in patent matters. The update shall be filed within thirty days after the date of the occasion that necessitates the update.

(d) Waiver of the Registration Examination for Former Office Employees—(1) Former patent examiners who by July 26, 2004, had not actively served four years in the patent examining corps, and were serving in the corps at the time of their separation. The OED Director may waive the taking of a registration examination in the case of any individual meeting the requirements of paragraph (b)(1)(i)(C) of this section who is a former patent examiner but by July 26, 2004, had not served four years in the patent examining corps, if the individual demonstrates that he or she:

(i) Actively served in the patent examining corps of the Office and was serving in the corps at the time of separation from the Office;

(ii) Received a certificate of legal competency and negotiation authority;

(iii) After receiving the certificate of legal competency and negotiation authority, was rated at least fully successful in each quality performance element of his or her performance plan for the last two complete fiscal years as a patent examiner; and

(iv) Was not under an oral or written warning regarding the quality performance elements at the time of separation from the patent examining corps.

(2) Former patent examiners who on July 26, 2004, had actively served four years in the patent examining corps, and were serving in the corps at the time of their separation. The OED Director may waive the taking of a registration examination in the case of any individual meeting the requirements of paragraph (b)(1)(i)(C) of this section who is a former patent examiner and by July 26, 2004, had served four years in the patent examining corps, if the individual demonstrates that he or she:

(i) Actively served for at least four years in the patent examining corps of the Office by July 26, 2004, and was serving in the corps at the time of separation from the Office;

(ii) Was rated at least fully successful in each quality performance element of his or her performance plan for the last two complete fiscal years as a patent examiner in the Office; and

(iii) Was not under an oral or written warning regarding the quality performance elements at the time of separation from the patent examining corps.

(3) Certain former Office employees who were not serving in the patent examining corps upon their separation from the Office. The OED Director may waive the taking of a registration examination in the case of a former Office employee meeting the requirements of paragraph (b)(1)(i)(C) of this section who by petition demonstrates possession of the necessary legal qualifications to render to patent applicants and others valuable service and assistance in the preparation and prosecution of their applications or other business before the Office by showing that he or she has:

(i) Exhibited comprehensive knowledge of patent law equivalent to that shown by passing the registration examination as a result of having been in a position of responsibility in the Office in which he or she:

(A) Provided substantial guidance on patent examination policy, including the development of rule or procedure changes, patent examination guidelines, changes to the Manual of Patent Examining Procedure, development of training or testing materials for the patent examining corps, or development of materials for the registration examination or continuing legal education; or

(B) Represented the Office in patent cases before Federal courts; and

(ii) Was rated at least fully successful in each quality performance element of his or her performance plan for said position for the last two complete rating periods in the Office, and was not under an oral or written warning regarding such performance elements at the time of separation from the Office.

(4) To be eligible for consideration for waiver, an individual formerly employed by the Office within the scope of one of paragraphs (d)(1), (d)(2) or (d)(3) of this section must file a complete application for registration and pay the fee required by §1.21(a)(1)(i) of this subchapter within two years of the individual's date of separation from the Office. All other individuals formerly employed by the Office, including former examiners, filing an application for registration or fee more than two years after separation from the Office, are required to take and pass the registration examination. The individual or former examiner must pay the examination fee required by §1.21(a)(1)(ii) of this subchapter within thirty days after notice of non-waiver.

(e) Examination results. Notification of the examination results is final. Within sixty days of the mailing date of a notice of failure, the individual is entitled to inspect, but not copy, the questions and answers he or she incorrectly answered. Review will be under supervision. No notes may be taken during such review. Substantive review of the answers or questions may not be pursued by petition for regrade. An individual who failed the examination has the right to retake the examination an unlimited number of times upon payment of the fees required by §1.21(a)(1)(i) and (ii) of this subchapter, and a fee charged by a commercial entity administering the examination.

(f) Application for reciprocal recognition. An individual seeking reciprocal recognition under §11.6(c), in addition to satisfying the provisions of paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section, and the provisions of §11.8(c), shall pay the application fee required by §1.21(a)(1)(i) of this subchapter upon filing an application for registration.

(g) Investigation of good moral character and reputation. (1) Every individual seeking recognition shall answer all questions in the application for registration and request(s) for comments issued by OED; disclose all relevant facts, dates and information; and provide verified copies of documents relevant to his or her good moral character and reputation. An individual who is an attorney shall submit a certified copy of each of his or her State bar applications and moral character determinations, if available.

(2)(i) If the OED Director receives information from any source that reflects adversely on the good moral character or reputation of an individual seeking registration or recognition, the OED Director shall conduct an investigation into the good moral character and reputation of that individual. The investigation will be conducted after the individual has passed the registration examination, or after the registration examination has been waived for the individual, as applicable. An individual failing to timely answer questions or respond to an inquiry by OED shall be deemed to have withdrawn his or her application, and shall be required to reapply, pass the examination, and otherwise satisfy all the requirements of this section. No individual shall be certified for registration or recognition by the OED Director until, to the satisfaction of the OED Director, the individual demonstrates his or her possession of good moral character and reputation.

(ii) The OED Director, in considering an application for registration by an attorney, may accept a State bar's character determination as meeting the requirements set forth in paragraph (g) of this section if, after review, the Office finds no substantial discrepancy between the information provided with his or her application for registration and the State bar application and moral character determination, provided that acceptance is not inconsistent with other rules and the requirements of 35 U.S.C. 2(b)(2)(D).

(h) Good moral character and reputation. Evidence showing lack of good moral character and reputation may include, but is not limited to, conviction of a felony or a misdemeanor identified in paragraph (h)(1) of this section, drug or alcohol abuse; lack of candor; suspension or disbarment on ethical grounds from a State bar; and resignation from a State bar while under investigation.

(1) Conviction of felony or misdemeanor. An individual who has been convicted of a felony or a misdemeanor involving moral turpitude, breach of trust, interference with the administration of justice, false swearing, misrepresentation, fraud, deceit, bribery, extortion, misappropriation, theft, or conspiracy to commit any felony or misdemeanor, is presumed not to be of good moral character and reputation in the absence of a pardon or a satisfactory showing of reform and rehabilitation, and shall file with his or her application for registration the fees required by §1.21(a)(1)(ii) and (a)(10) of this subchapter. The OED Director shall determine whether individuals convicted of said felony or misdemeanor provided satisfactory proof of reform and rehabilitation.

(i) An individual who has been convicted of a felony or a misdemeanor identified in paragraph (h)(1) of this section shall not be eligible to apply for registration during the time of any sentence (including confinement or commitment to imprisonment), deferred adjudication, and period of probation or parole as a result of the conviction, and for a period of two years after the date of completion of the sentence, deferred adjudication, and period of probation or parole, whichever is later.

(ii) The following presumptions apply to the determination of good moral character and reputation of an individual convicted of said felony or misdemeanor:

(A) The court record or docket entry of conviction is conclusive evidence of guilt in the absence of a pardon or a satisfactory showing of reform or rehabilitation; and

(B) An individual convicted of a felony or any misdemeanor identified in paragraph (h)(1) of this section is conclusively deemed not to have good moral character and reputation, and shall not be eligible to apply for registration for a period of two years after completion of the sentence, deferred adjudication, and period of probation or parole, whichever is later.

(iii) The individual, upon applying for registration, shall provide satisfactory evidence that he or she is of good moral character and reputation.

(iv) Upon proof that a conviction has been set aside or reversed, the individual shall be eligible to file a complete application for registration and the fee required by §1.21(a)(1)(ii) of this subchapter and, upon passing the registration examination, have the OED Director determine, in accordance with paragraph (h)(1) of this section, whether, absent the conviction, the individual possesses good moral character and reputation.

(2) Good moral character and reputation involving drug or alcohol abuse. An individual's record is reviewed as a whole to see if there is a drug or alcohol abuse issue. An individual appearing to abuse drugs or alcohol may be asked to undergo an evaluation, at the individual's expense, by a qualified professional approved by the OED Director. In instances where, before an investigation commences, there is evidence of a present abuse or an individual has not established a record of recovery, the OED Director may request the individual to withdraw his or her application, and require the individual to satisfactorily demonstrate that he or she is complying with treatment and undergoing recovery.

(3) Moral character and reputation involving lack of candor. An individual's lack of candor in disclosing facts bearing on or relevant to issues concerning good moral character and reputation when completing the application or any time thereafter may be found to be cause to deny registration on moral character and reputation grounds.

(4) Moral character and reputation involving suspension, disbarment, or resignation from a profession. (i) An individual who has been disbarred or suspended from practice of law or other profession, or has resigned in lieu of a disciplinary proceeding (excluded or disbarred on consent) shall be ineligible to apply for registration as follows:

(A) An individual who has been disbarred from practice of law or other profession, or has resigned in lieu of a disciplinary proceeding (excluded or disbarred on consent) shall be ineligible to apply for registration for a period of five years from the date of disbarment or resignation.

(B) An individual who has been suspended on ethical grounds from the practice of law or other profession shall be ineligible to apply for registration until expiration of the period of suspension.

(C) An individual who was not only disbarred, suspended or resigned in lieu of a disciplinary proceeding, but also convicted in a court of a felony, or of a crime involving moral turpitude or breach of trust, shall be ineligible to apply for registration until the conditions in paragraphs (h)(1) and (h)(4) of this section are fully satisfied.

(ii) An individual who has been disbarred or suspended, or who resigned in lieu of a disciplinary proceeding shall file an application for registration and the fees required by §1.21(a)(1)(ii) and (a)(10) of this subchapter; provide a full and complete copy of the proceedings that led to the disbarment, suspension, or resignation; and provide satisfactory proof that he or she possesses good moral character and reputation. The following presumptions shall govern the determination of good moral character and reputation of an individual who has been licensed to practice law or other profession in any jurisdiction and has been disbarred, suspended on ethical grounds, or allowed to resign in lieu of discipline, in that jurisdiction:

(A) A copy of the record resulting in disbarment, suspension or resignation is prima facie evidence of the matters contained in the record, and the imposition of disbarment or suspension, or the acceptance of the resignation of the individual shall be deemed conclusive that the individual has committed professional misconduct.

(B) The individual is ineligible for registration and is deemed not to have good moral character and reputation during the period of the imposed discipline.

(iii) The only defenses available with regard to an underlying disciplinary matter resulting in disbarment, suspension on ethical grounds, or resignation in lieu of a disciplinary proceeding are set out below, and must be shown to the satisfaction of the OED Director:

(A) The procedure in the disciplinary court was so lacking in notice or opportunity to be heard as to constitute a deprivation of due process;

(B) There was such infirmity of proof establishing the misconduct as to give rise to the clear conviction that the Office could not, consistently with its duty, accept as final the conclusion on that subject; or

(C) The finding of lack of good moral character and reputation by the Office would result in grave injustice.

(i) Factors that may be taken into consideration when evaluating rehabilitation of an individual seeking a moral character and reputation determination. The factors enumerated below are guidelines to assist the OED Director in determining whether an individual has demonstrated rehabilitation from an act of misconduct or moral turpitude. The factors include:

(1) The nature of the act of misconduct, including whether it involved moral turpitude, whether there were aggravating or mitigating circumstances, and whether the activity was an isolated event or part of a pattern;

(2) The age and education of the individual at the time of the misconduct and the age and education of the individual at the present time;

(3) The length of time that has passed between the misconduct and the present, absent any involvement in any further acts of moral turpitude, the amount of time and the extent of rehabilitation being dependent upon the nature and seriousness of the act of misconduct under consideration;

(4) Restitution by the individual to any person who suffered monetary losses through acts or omissions of the individual;

(5) Expungement of a conviction;

(6) Successful completion or early discharge from probation or parole;

(7) Abstinence from the use of controlled substances or alcohol for not less than two years if the specific misconduct was attributable in part to the use of a controlled substance or alcohol, where abstinence may be demonstrated by, but is not necessarily limited to, enrolling in and complying with a self-help or professional treatment program;

(8) If the specific misconduct was attributable in part to a medically recognized mental disease, disorder or illness, proof that the individual sought professional assistance, and complied with the treatment program prescribed by the professional, and submitted letters from the treating psychiatrist/psychologist verifying that the medically recognized mental disease, disorder or illness will not impede the individual's ability to competently practice before the Office;

(9) Payment of the fine imposed in connection with any criminal conviction;

(10) Correction of behavior responsible in some degree for the misconduct;

(11) Significant and conscientious involvement in programs designed to provide social benefits or to ameliorate social problems; and

(12) Change in attitude from that which existed at the time of the act of misconduct in question as evidenced by any or all of the following:

(i) Statements of the individual;

(ii) Statements from persons familiar with the individual's previous misconduct and with subsequent attitudes and behavioral patterns;

(iii) Statements from probation or parole officers or law enforcement officials as to the individual's social adjustments; and

(iv) Statements from persons competent to testify with regard to neuropsychiatry or emotional disturbances.

(j) Notice to Show Cause. The OED Director shall inquire into the good moral character and reputation of an individual seeking registration, providing the individual with the opportunity to create a record on which a decision is made. If, following inquiry and consideration of the record, the OED Director is of the opinion that the individual seeking registration has not satisfactorily established that he or she possesses good moral character and reputation, the OED Director shall issue to the individual a notice to show cause why the individual's application for registration should not be denied.

(1) The individual shall be given no less than ten days from the date of the notice to reply. The notice shall be given by certified mail at the address appearing on the application if the address is in the United States, and by any other reasonable means if the address is outside the United States.

(2) Following receipt of the individual's response, or in the absence of a response, the OED Director shall consider the individual's response, if any, and the record, and determine whether, in the OED Director's opinion, the individual has sustained his or her burden of satisfactorily demonstrating that he or she possesses good moral character and reputation.

(k) Reapplication for registration. An individual who has been refused registration for lack of good moral character or reputation may reapply for registration two years after the date of the decision, unless a shorter period is otherwise ordered by the USPTO Director. An individual, who has been notified that he or she is under investigation for good moral character and reputation may elect to withdraw his or her application for registration, and may reapply for registration two years after the date of withdrawal. Upon reapplication for registration, the individual shall pay the fees required by §1.21(a)(1)(ii) and (a)(10) of this subchapter, and has the burden of showing to the satisfaction of the OED Director his or her possession of good moral character and reputation as prescribed in paragraph (b) of this section. Upon reapplication for registration, the individual also shall complete successfully the examination prescribed in paragraph (b) of this section, even though the individual has previously passed a registration examination.

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§11.8   Oath and registration fee.

(a) After an individual passes the examination, or the examination is waived, the OED Director shall promptly publish a solicitation for information concerning the individual's good moral character and reputation. The solicitation shall include the individual's name, and business or communication postal address.

(b) An individual shall not be registered as an attorney under §11.6(a), registered as an agent under §11.6(b) or (c), or granted limited recognition under §11.9(b) unless within two years of the mailing date of a notice of passing registration examination or of waiver of the examination the individual files with the OED Director a completed Data Sheet, an oath or declaration prescribed by the USPTO Director, and the registration fee set forth in §1.21(a)(2) of this subchapter. An individual seeking registration as an attorney under §11.6(a) must provide a certificate of good standing of the bar of the highest court of a State that is no more than six months old.

(c) An individual who does not comply with the requirements of paragraph (b) of this section within the two-year period will be required to retake the registration examination.

(d) [Reserved]

[69 FR 35452, June 24, 2004, as amended at 73 FR 67757, Nov. 17, 2008; 78 FR 20198, Apr. 3, 2013]

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§11.9   Limited recognition in patent matters.

(a) Any individual not registered under §11.6 may, upon a showing of circumstances which render it necessary or justifiable, and that the individual is of good moral character and reputation, be given limited recognition by the OED Director to prosecute as attorney or agent a specified patent application or specified patent applications. Limited recognition under this paragraph shall not extend further than the application or applications specified. Limited recognition shall not be granted while individuals who have passed the examination or for whom the examination has been waived are awaiting registration to practice before the Office in patent matters.

(b) A nonimmigrant alien residing in the United States and fulfilling the provisions of §11.7(a) and (b) may be granted limited recognition if the nonimmigrant alien is authorized by the United States Government to be employed or trained in the United States in the capacity of representing a patent applicant by presenting or prosecuting a patent application. Limited recognition shall be granted for a period consistent with the terms of authorized employment or training. Limited recognition shall not be granted or extended to a non-United States citizen residing abroad. If granted, limited recognition shall automatically expire upon the nonimmigrant alien's departure from the United States.

(c) An individual not registered under §11.6 may, if appointed by an applicant, prosecute an international patent application only before the United States International Searching Authority and the United States International Preliminary Examining Authority, provided that the individual has the right to practice before the national office with which the international application is filed as provided in PCT Art. 49, Rule 90 and §1.455 of this subchapter, or before the International Bureau when the USPTO is acting as Receiving Office pursuant to PCT Rules 83.1 bis and 90.1.

[69 FR 35452, June 24, 2004, as amended at 78 FR 20198, Apr. 3, 2013]

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§11.10   Restrictions on practice in patent matters.

(a) Only practitioners who are registered under §11.6 or individuals given limited recognition under §11.9(a) or (b) are permitted to prosecute patent applications of others before the Office; or represent others in any proceedings before the Office.

(b) Post employment agreement of former Office employee. No individual who has served in the patent examining corps or elsewhere in the Office may practice before the Office after termination of his or her service, unless he or she signs a written undertaking agreeing:

(1) To not knowingly act as agent or attorney for, or otherwise represent, or assist in any manner the representation of, any other person:

(i) Before the Office,

(ii) In connection with any particular patent or patent application,

(iii) In which said employee participated personally and substantially as an employee of the Office; and

(2) To not knowingly act within two years after terminating employment by the Office as agent or attorney for, or otherwise represent, or assist in any manner the representation of any other person:

(i) Before the Office,

(ii) In connection with any particular patent or patent application,

(iii) If such patent or patent application was pending under the employee's official responsibility as an officer or employee within a period of one year prior to the termination of such responsibility.

(3) The words and phrases in paragraphs (b)(1) and (b)(2) of this section are construed as follows:

(i) Represent and representation mean acting as patent attorney or patent agent or other representative in any appearance before the Office, or communicating with an employee of the Office with intent to influence.

(ii) Assist in any manner means aid or help another person on a particular patent or patent application involving representation.

(iii) Particular patent or patent application means any patent or patent application, including, but not limited to, a provisional, substitute, international, international design, continuation, divisional, continuation-in-part, or reissue patent application, as well as any protest, reexamination, petition, appeal, interference, or trial proceeding based on the patent or patent application.

(iv) Participate personally and substantially. (A) Basic requirements. The restrictions of §11.10(a)(1) apply only to those patents and patent applications in which a former Office employee had “personal and substantial participation,” exercised “through decision, approval, disapproval, recommendation, the rendering of advice, investigation or otherwise.” To participate personally means directly, and includes the participation of a subordinate when actually directed by the former Office employee in the patent or patent application. Substantially means that the employee's involvement must be of significance to the matter, or form a basis for a reasonable appearance of such significance. It requires more than official responsibility, knowledge, perfunctory involvement, or involvement on an administrative or peripheral issue. A finding of substantiality should be based not only on the effort devoted to a patent or patent application, but also on the importance of the effort. While a series of peripheral involvements may be insubstantial, the single act of approving or participation in a critical step may be substantial. It is essential that the participation be related to a “particular patent or patent application.” (See paragraph (b)(3)(iii) of this section.)

(B) Participation on ancillary matters. An Office employee's participation on subjects not directly involving the substantive merits of a patent or patent application may not be “substantial,” even if it is time-consuming. An employee whose official responsibility is the review of a patent or patent application solely for compliance with administrative control or budgetary considerations and who reviews a particular patent or patent application for such a purpose should not be regarded as having participated substantially in the patent or patent application, except when such considerations also are the subject of the employee's proposed representation.

(C) Role of official responsibility in determining substantial participation. Official responsibility is defined in paragraph (b)(3)(v) of this section. “Personal and substantial participation” is different from “official responsibility.” One's responsibility may, however, play a role in determining the “substantiality” of an Office employee's participation.

(v) Official responsibility means the direct administrative or operating authority, whether intermediate or final, and either exercisable alone or with others, and either personally or through subordinates, to approve, disapprove, or otherwise direct Government actions.

(A) Determining official responsibility. Ordinarily, those areas assigned by statute, regulation, Executive Order, job description, or delegation of authority determine the scope of an employee's “official responsibility”. All particular matters under consideration in the Office are under the “official responsibility” of the Director of the Office, and each is under that of any intermediate supervisor having responsibility for an employee who actually participates in the patent or patent application within the scope of his or her duties. A patent examiner would have “official responsibility” for the patent applications assigned to him or her.

(B) Ancillary matters and official responsibility. Administrative authority as used in paragraph (v) of this section means authority for planning, organizing and controlling a patent or patent application rather than authority to review or make decisions on ancillary aspects of a patent or patent application such as the regularity of budgeting procedures, public or community relations aspects, or equal employment opportunity considerations. Responsibility for such an ancillary consideration does not constitute official responsibility for the particular patent or patent application, except when such a consideration is also the subject of the employee's proposed representation.

(C) Duty to inquire. In order for a former employee, e.g., former patent examiner, to be barred from representing or assisting in representing another as to a particular patent or patent application, he or she need not have known, while employed by the Office, that the patent or patent application was pending under his or her official responsibility. The former employee has a reasonable duty of inquiry to learn whether the patent or patent application had been under his or her official responsibility. Ordinarily, a former employee who is asked to represent another on a patent or patent application will become aware of facts sufficient to suggest the relationship of the prior matter to his or her former office, e.g., technology center, group or art unit. If so, he or she is under a duty to make further inquiry. It would be prudent for an employee to maintain a record of only patent application numbers of the applications actually acted upon by decision or recommendation, as well as those applications under the employee's official responsibility which he or she has not acted upon.

(D) Self-disqualification. A former employee, e.g., former patent examiner, cannot avoid the restrictions of this section through self-disqualification with respect to a patent or patent application for which he or she otherwise had official responsibility. However, an employee who through self-disqualification does not participate personally and substantially in a particular patent or patent application is not subject to the lifetime restriction of paragraph (b)(1) of this section.

(vi) Pending means that the matter was in fact referred to or under consideration by persons within the employee's area of official responsibility.

(4) Measurement of the two-year restriction period. The two-year period under paragraph (b)(2) of this section is measured from the date when the employee's official responsibility in a particular area ends, not from the termination of service in the Office, unless the two occur simultaneously. The prohibition applies to all particular patents or patent applications subject to such official responsibility in the one-year period before termination of such responsibility.

(c) Former employees of the Office. This section imposes restrictions generally parallel to those imposed in 18 U.S.C. 207(a) and (b)(1). This section, however, does not interpret these statutory provisions or any other post-employment restrictions that may apply to former Office employees, and such former employees should not assume that conduct not prohibited by this section is otherwise permissible. Former employees of the Office, whether or not they are practitioners, are encouraged to contact the Department of Commerce for information concerning applicable post-employment restrictions.

(d) An employee of the Office may not prosecute or aid in any manner in the prosecution of any patent application before the Office.

(e) Practice before the Office by Government employees is subject to any applicable conflict of interest laws, regulations or codes of professional responsibility.

[69 FR 35452, June 24, 2004, as amended at 77 FR 46630, Aug. 6, 2012; 80 FR 17971, Apr. 2, 2015]

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§11.11   Administrative suspension, inactivation, resignation, and readmission.

(a) Contact information. (1) A registered practitioner must notify the OED Director of his or her postal address for his or her office, up to three email addresses where he or she receives email, and a business telephone number, as well as every change to any of said addresses or telephone number within thirty days of the date of the change. A registered practitioner shall, in addition to any notice of change of address and telephone number filed in individual patent applications, separately file written notice of the change of address or telephone number to the OED Director. A registered practitioner who is an attorney in good standing with the bar of the highest court of one or more States shall provide the OED Director with the State bar identification number associated with each membership. The OED Director shall publish from the roster a list containing the name, postal business addresses, business telephone number, registration number, and registration status as an attorney or agent of each registered practitioner recognized to practice before the Office in patent cases.

(2) A letter may be addressed to any registered practitioner, at the address of which separate notice was last received by the OED Director, for the purpose of ascertaining whether such practitioner desires to remain on the register. Any registered practitioner failing to reply and give any information requested by the OED Director within a time limit specified will be subject to administrative suspension under paragraph (b) of this section.

(b) Administrative suspension. (1) Whenever it appears that a registered practitioner or a person granted limited recognition under §11.9(b) has failed to comply with §11.8(d) or paragraph (a)(2) of this section, the OED Director shall publish and send a notice to the registered practitioner or person granted limited recognition advising of the noncompliance, the consequence of being administratively suspended under paragraph (b)(5) of this section if noncompliance is not timely remedied, and the requirements for reinstatement under paragraph (f) of this section. The notice shall be published and sent to the registered practitioner or person granted limited recognition by mail to the last postal address furnished under paragraph (a) of this section or by email addressed to the last email addresses furnished under paragraph (a) of this section. The notice shall demand compliance and payment of a delinquency fee set forth in §1.21(a)(9)(i) of this subchapter within sixty days after the date of such notice.

(2) In the event a registered practitioner or person granted limited recognition fails to comply with the notice of paragraph (b)(1) of this section within the time allowed, the OED Director shall publish and send in the manner provided for in paragraph (b)(1) of this section to the registered practitioner or person granted limited recognition a Rule to Show Cause why his or her registration or recognition should not be administratively suspended, and he or she no longer be permitted to practice before the Office in patent matters or in any way hold himself or herself out as being registered or authorized to practice before the Office in patent matters. The OED Director shall file a copy of the Rule to Show Cause with the USPTO Director.

(3) Within 30 days of the OED Director's sending the Rule to Show Cause identified in paragraph (b)(2) of this section, the registered practitioner or person granted limited recognition may file a response to the Rule to Show Cause with the USPTO Director. The response must set forth the factual and legal bases why the person should not be administratively suspended. The registered practitioner or person granted limited recognition shall serve the OED Director with a copy of the response at the time it is filed with the USPTO Director. Within ten days of receiving a copy of the response, the OED Director may file a reply with the USPTO Director that includes documents demonstrating that the notice identified in paragraph (b)(1) of this section was published and sent to the practitioner in accordance with paragraph (b)(1) of this section. A copy of the reply by the OED Director shall be served on the registered practitioner or person granted limited recognition. When acting on the Rule to Show Cause, if the USPTO Director determines that there are no genuine issues of material fact regarding the Office's compliance with the notice requirements under this section or the failure of the person to pay the requisite fees, the USPTO Director shall enter an order administratively suspending the registered practitioner or person granted limited recognition. Otherwise, the USPTO Director shall enter an appropriate order dismissing the Rule to Show Cause. Nothing herein shall permit an administratively suspended registered practitioner or person granted limited recognition to seek a stay of the administrative suspension during the pendency of any review of the USPTO Director's final decision.

(4) [Reserved]

(5) An administratively suspended registered practitioner or person granted limited recognition is subject to investigation and discipline for his or her conduct prior to, during, or after the period he or she was administratively suspended.

(6) An administratively suspended registered practitioner or person granted limited recognition is prohibited from practicing before the Office in patent cases while administratively suspended. A registered practitioner or person granted limited recognition who knows he or she has been administratively suspended under this section will be subject to discipline for failing to comply with the provisions of this paragraph (b).

(c) Administrative inactivation. (1) Any registered practitioner who shall become employed by the Office shall comply with §11.116 for withdrawal from the applications, patents, and trademark matters wherein he or she represents an applicant or other person, and notify the OED Director in writing of said employment on the first day of said employment. The name of any registered practitioner employed by the Office shall be endorsed on the roster as administratively inactive. Upon separation from the Office, the administratively inactive practitioner may request reactivation by completing and filing an application, Data Sheet, signing a written undertaking required by §11.10, and paying the fee set forth in §1.21(a)(1)(i) of this subchapter. An administratively inactive practitioner remains subject to the provisions of the USPTO Rules of Professional Conduct and to proceedings and sanctions under §§11.19 through 11.58 for conduct that violates a provision of the USPTO Rules of Professional Conduct prior to or during employment at the Office. If, within 30 days after separation from the Office, the registered practitioner does not request active status or another status, the registered practitioner will be endorsed on the roster as voluntarily inactive and be subject to the provisions of paragraph (d) of this section.

(2) Any registered practitioner who is a judge of a court of record, full-time court commissioner, U.S. bankruptcy judge, U.S. magistrate judge, or a retired judge who is eligible for temporary judicial assignment and is not engaged in the practice of law may request, in writing, that his or her name be endorsed on the roster as administratively inactive. Upon acceptance of the request, the OED Director shall endorse the name of the practitioner as administratively inactive. Following separation from the bench, the practitioner may request restoration to active status by completing and filing an application, Data Sheet, and signing a written undertaking required by §11.10.

(d) Voluntary inactivation. (1) Except as provided in paragraph (d)(4) of this section, any registered practitioner may voluntarily enter inactive status by filing a request, in writing, that his or her name be endorsed on the roster as voluntarily inactive. Upon acceptance of the request, the OED Director shall endorse the name as voluntarily inactive.

(2) [Reserved]

(3) A registered practitioner who seeks or enters into voluntary inactive status is subject to investigation and discipline for his or her conduct prior to, during, or after the period of his or her inactivation.

(4) [Reserved]

(5) A registered practitioner in voluntary inactive status is prohibited from practicing before the Office in patent cases while in voluntary inactive status. A registered practitioner in voluntary inactive status will be subject to discipline for failing to comply with the provisions of this paragraph. Upon acceptance of the request for voluntary inactive status, the practitioner must comply with the provisions of §11.116.

(6) Any registered practitioner whose name has been endorsed as voluntarily inactive pursuant to paragraph (d)(1) of this section and is not under investigation and not subject to a disciplinary proceeding may be restored to active status on the register as may be appropriate provided that the practitioner files a written request for restoration, a completed application for registration on a form supplied by the OED Director furnishing all requested information and material, including information and material pertaining to the practitioner's moral character and reputation under §11.7(a)(2)(i) during the period of inactivation, a declaration or affidavit attesting to the fact that the practitioner has read the most recent revisions of the patent laws and the rules of practice before the Office, and pays the fees set forth in §1.21(a)(7)(iii) and (iv) of this subchapter.

(e) Resignation. A registered practitioner or a practitioner recognized under §11.14(c), who is not under investigation under §11.22 for a possible violation of the USPTO Rules of Professional Conduct, subject to discipline under §§11.24 or 11.25, or a practitioner against whom probable cause has been found by a panel of the Committee on Discipline under §11.23(b), may resign by notifying the OED Director in writing that he or she desires to resign. Upon acceptance in writing by the OED Director of such notice, that registered practitioner or practitioner under §11.14 shall no longer be eligible to practice before the Office in patent matters but shall continue to file a change of address for five years thereafter in order that he or she may be located in the event information regarding the practitioner's conduct comes to the attention of the OED Director or any grievance is made about his or her conduct while he or she engaged in practice before the Office. The name of any registered practitioner whose resignation is accepted shall be removed from the register, endorsed as resigned, and notice thereof published in the Official Gazette. Upon acceptance of the resignation by the OED Director, the registered practitioner must comply with the provisions of §11.116.

(f) Administrative reinstatement. (1) Any registered practitioner who has been administratively suspended pursuant to paragraph (b) of this section, or who has resigned pursuant to paragraph (e) of this section, may be reinstated on the register provided the practitioner has applied for reinstatement on an application form supplied by the OED Director, demonstrated compliance with the provisions of §11.7(a)(2)(i) and (iii), and paid the fees set forth in §1.21(a)(9)(i) and (a)(9)(ii) of this subchapter. Any person granted limited recognition who has been administratively suspended pursuant to paragraph (b) of this section may have their recognition reactivated provided the practitioner has applied for reinstatement on an application form supplied by the OED Director, demonstrated compliance with the provisions of §11.7(a)(2)(i) and (iii), and paid the fees set forth in §1.21(a)(9)(i) and (a)(9)(ii) of this subchapter. A practitioner who has resigned or was administratively suspended for two or more years before the date the Office receives a completed application from the person who resigned or was administratively suspended must also pass the registration examination under §11.7(b)(1)(ii). Any reinstated practitioner is subject to investigation and discipline for his or her conduct that occurred prior to, during, or after the period of his or her administrative suspension or resignation.

(2) Any registered practitioner whose registration has been administratively inactivated pursuant to paragraph (c) of this section may be reinstated to the register as may be appropriate provided within two years after his or her employment with the Office ceases or within two years after his or her employment in a judicial capacity ceases the following is filed with the OED Director: a request for reinstatement, a completed application for registration on a form supplied by the OED Director furnishing all requested information and material, and the fee set forth in §1.21(a)(9)(ii) of this subchapter. Any registered practitioner inactivated or reinstated is subject to investigation and discipline for his or her conduct before, during, or after the period of his or her inactivation.

[73 FR 67757, Nov. 17, 2008, as amended at 78 FR 20198, Apr. 3, 2013]

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§§11.12-11.13   [Reserved]

§11.14   Individuals who may practice before the Office in trademark and other non-patent matters.

(a) Attorneys. Any individual who is an attorney as defined in §11.1 may represent others before the Office in trademark and other non-patent matters. An attorney is not required to apply for registration or recognition to practice before the Office in trademark and other non-patent matters. Registration as a patent practitioner does not itself entitle an individual to practice before the Office in trademark matters.

(b) Non-lawyers. Individuals who are not attorneys are not recognized to practice before the Office in trademark and other non-patent matters, except that individuals not attorneys who were recognized to practice before the Office in trademark matters under this chapter prior to January 1, 1957, will be recognized as agents to continue practice before the Office in trademark matters. Except as provided in the preceding sentence, registration as a patent agent does not itself entitle an individual to practice before the Office in trademark matters.

(c) Foreigners. (1) Any foreign attorney or agent not a resident of the United States who shall file a written application for reciprocal recognition under paragraph (f) of this section and prove to the satisfaction of the OED Director that he or she is a registered and active member in good standing before the trademark office of the country in which he or she resides and practices and possesses good moral character and reputation, may be recognized for the limited purpose of representing parties located in such country before the Office in the presentation and prosecution of trademark matters, provided: The trademark office of such country and the USPTO have reached an official understanding to allow substantially reciprocal privileges to those permitted to practice in trademark matters before the Office. Recognition under this paragraph (c) shall continue only during the period that the conditions specified in this paragraph (c) obtain.

(2) In any trademark matter where a foreign attorney or agent authorized under paragraph (c)(1) of this section is representing an applicant, registrant, or party to a proceeding, an attorney, as defined in §11.1 and qualified to practice under paragraph (a) of this section, must also be appointed pursuant to §2.17(b) and (c) of this chapter as the representative who will file documents with the Office and with whom the Office will correspond.

(d) Recognition of any individual under this section shall not be construed as sanctioning or authorizing the performance of any act regarded in the jurisdiction where performed as the unauthorized practice of law.

(e) Appearance. No individual other than those specified in paragraphs (a), (b), and (c) of this section will be permitted to practice before the Office in trademark matters on behalf of a client. Except as specified in §2.11(a) of this chapter, an individual may appear in a trademark or other non-patent matter in his or her own behalf or on behalf of:

(1) A firm of which he or she is a member;

(2) A partnership of which he or she is a partner; or

(3) A corporation or association of which he or she is an officer and which he or she is authorized to represent.

(f) Application for reciprocal recognition. An individual seeking reciprocal recognition under paragraph (c) of this section, in addition to providing evidence satisfying the provisions of paragraph (c) of this section, shall apply in writing to the OED Director for reciprocal recognition, and shall pay the application fee required by §1.21(a)(1)(i) of this subchapter.

[73 FR 47688, Aug. 14, 2008, as amended at 84 FR 31511, July 2, 2019]

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§11.15   Refusal to recognize a practitioner.

Any practitioner authorized to appear before the Office may be suspended, excluded, or reprimanded in accordance with the provisions of this Part. Any practitioner who is suspended or excluded under this Part shall not be entitled to practice before the Office in patent, trademark, or other non-patent matters while suspended or excluded.

[73 FR 47688, Aug. 14, 2008]

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§11.16   Requirements for admission to the USPTO Law School Clinic Certification Program.

(a) The USPTO Law School Clinic Certification Program allows students enrolled in a participating law school's clinic to practice before the Office in patent or trademark matters by drafting, filing, and prosecuting patent or trademark applications on a pro bono basis for clients that qualify for assistance from the law school's clinic. All law schools accredited by the American Bar Association are eligible for participation in the program, and shall be examined for acceptance using identical criteria.

(b) Application for admission and renewal—(1) Application for admission. Non-participating law schools seeking admission to the USPTO Law School Clinic Certification Program, and participating law schools seeking to add a practice area, shall submit an application for admission for such practice area to OED in accordance with criteria and time periods set forth by the OED Director.

(2) Renewal application. Each participating law school desiring to continue in the USPTO Law School Clinic Certification Program shall, biennially from a date assigned to the law school by the OED Director, submit a renewal application to OED in accordance with criteria set forth by the OED Director.

(3) The OED Director may refuse admission or renewal of a law school to the USPTO Law School Clinic Certification Program if the OED Director determines that admission, or renewal, of the law school would fail to provide significant benefit to the public or the law students participating in the law school's clinic.

(c) Faculty Clinic Supervisor. Any law school seeking admission to or participating in the USPTO Law School Clinic Certification Program must have at least one Faculty Clinic Supervisor for the patent practice area, if the clinic includes patent practice; and at least one Faculty Clinic Supervisor for the trademark practice area, if the clinic includes trademark practice.

(1) Patent Faculty Clinic Supervisor. A Faculty Clinic Supervisor for a law school clinic's patent practice must:

(i) Be a registered patent practitioner in active status and good standing with OED;

(ii) Demonstrate at least 3 years experience in prosecuting patent applications before the Office within the 5 years immediately prior to the request for approval as a Faculty Clinic Supervisor;

(iii) Assume full responsibility for the instruction and guidance of law students participating in the law school clinic's patent practice;

(iv) Assume full responsibility for all patent applications and legal services, including filings with the Office, produced by the clinic; and

(v) Comply with all additional criteria established by the OED Director.

(2) Trademark Faculty Clinic Supervisor. A Faculty Clinic Supervisor for a law school clinic's trademark practice must:

(i) Be an attorney as defined in §11.1;

(ii) Demonstrate at least 3 years experience in prosecuting trademark applications before the Office within the 5 years immediately prior to the date of the request for approval as a Faculty Clinic Supervisor;

(iii) Assume full responsibility for the instruction, guidance, and supervision of law students participating in the law school clinic's trademark practice;

(iv) Assume full responsibility for all trademark applications and legal services, including filings with the Office, produced by the clinic; and

(v) Comply with all additional criteria established by the OED Director.

(3) A Faculty Clinic Supervisor under paragraph (c) of this section must submit a statement:

(i) Assuming responsibility for performing conflicts checks for each law student and client in the relevant clinic practice area;

(ii) Assuming responsibility for student instruction and work, including instructing, mentoring, overseeing, and supervising all participating law school students in the clinic's relevant practice area;

(iii) Assuming responsibility for content and timeliness of all applications and documents submitted to the Office through the relevant practice area of the clinic;

(iv) Assuming responsibility for all communications by clinic students to clinic clients in the relevant clinic practice area;

(v) Assuming responsibility for ensuring that there is no gap in representation of clinic clients in the relevant practice area during student turnover, school schedule variations, inter-semester transitions, or other disruptions;

(vi) Attesting to meeting the criteria of paragraph (c)(1) or (2) of this section based on relevant practice area of the clinic; and

(vii) Attesting to all other criteria as established by the OED Director.

(d) Limited recognition for law students participating in the USPTO Law School Clinic Certification Program. (1) The OED Director may grant limited recognition to practice before the Office in patent or trademark matters, or both, to law school students enrolled in a clinic of a law school that is participating in the USPTO Law School Clinic Certification Program upon submission and approval of an application by a law student to OED in accordance with criteria established by the OED Director.

(2) In order to be granted limited recognition to practice before the Office in patent matters under the USPTO Law School Clinic Certification Program, a law student must:

(i) Be enrolled in a law school that is an active participant in the USPTO Law School Clinic Certification Program;

(ii) Be enrolled in the patent practice area of a clinic of the participating law school;

(iii) Have successfully completed at least one year of law school or the equivalent;

(iv) Have read the USPTO Rules of Professional Conduct and the relevant rules of practice and procedure for patent matters;

(v) Be supervised by an approved Faculty Clinic Supervisor pursuant to paragraph (c)(1) of this section;

(vi) Be certified by the dean of the participating law school, or one authorized to act for the dean, as: Having completed the first year of law school or the equivalent, being in compliance with the law school's ethics code, and being of good moral character and reputation;

(vii) Neither ask for nor receive any fee or compensation of any kind for legal services from a clinic client on whose behalf service is rendered;

(viii) Have proved to the satisfaction of the OED Director that he or she possesses the scientific and technical qualifications necessary for him or her to render patent applicants valuable service; and

(ix) Comply with all additional criteria established by the OED Director.

(3) In order to be granted limited recognition to practice before the Office in trademark matters under the USPTO Law School Clinic Certification Program, a law student must:

(i) Be enrolled in a law school that is an active participant in the USPTO Law School Clinic Certification Program;

(ii) Be enrolled in the trademark practice area of a clinic of the participating law school;

(iii) Have successfully completed at least one year of law school or the equivalent;

(iv) Have read the USPTO Rules of Professional Conduct and the relevant USPTO rules of practice and procedure for trademark matters;

(v) Be supervised by an approved Faculty Clinic Supervisor pursuant to paragraph (c)(2) of this section;

(vi) Be certified by the dean of the participating law school, or one authorized to act for the dean, as: Having completed the first year of law school or the equivalent, being in compliance with the law school's ethics code, and being of good moral character and reputation;

(vii) Neither ask for nor receive any fee or compensation of any kind for legal services from a clinic client on whose behalf service is rendered; and

(viii) Comply with all additional criteria established by the OED Director.

(4) Students registered to practice before the Office in patent matters as a patent agent, or authorized to practice before the Office in trademark matters under §11.14, must complete and submit a student application pursuant to paragraph (d)(1) of this section and meet the criteria of paragraph (d)(2) or (3) of this section, as applicable, in order to participate in the program.

[81 FR 33596, May 27, 2016]

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§11.17   Requirements for participation in the USPTO Law School Clinic Certification Program.

(a) Each law school participating in the USPTO Law School Clinic Certification Program must provide its patent and/or trademark services on a pro bono basis.

(b) Each law school participating in the USPTO Law School Clinic Certification Program shall, on a semi-annual basis, provide OED with a report regarding its clinic activity during the reporting period, which shall include:

(1) The number of law students participating in each of the patent and trademark practice areas of the school's clinic;

(2) The number of faculty participating in each of the patent and trademark practice areas of the school's clinic;

(3) The number of persons to whom the school's clinic provided assistance in any given patent or trademark matter but with whom no practitioner-client relationship had formed;

(4) The number of client representations undertaken for each of the patent and trademark practice areas of the school's clinic;

(5) The identity and number of applications and responses filed in each of the patent and/or trademark practice areas of the school's clinic;

(6) The number of patents issued, or trademarks registered, to clients of the clinic; and

(7) All other information specified by the OED Director.

(c) Inactivation of law schools participating in the USPTO Law School Certification Program. (1) The OED Director may inactivate a patent and/or trademark practice area of a participating law school:

(i) If the participating law school does not have an approved Faculty Clinic Supervisor for the relevant practice area, as described in §11.16(c);

(ii) If the participating law school does not meet each of the requirements and criteria for participation in the USPTO Law School Clinic Certification Program as set forth in §11.16, this section, or as otherwise established by the OED Director; or

(iii) For other good cause as determined by the OED Director.

(2) In the event that a practice area of a participating school is inactivated, the participating law school students must:

(i) Immediately cease all student practice before the Office in the relevant practice area and notify each client of such; and

(ii) Disassociate themselves from all client matters relating to practice before the Office in the relevant practice area, including complying with Office and State rules for withdrawal from representation.

(3) A patent or trademark practice area of a law school clinic that has been inactivated may be restored to active status, upon application to and approval by the OED Director.

(d) Removal of law schools participating in the USPTO Law School Clinic Certification Program. (1) The OED Director may remove a patent and/or trademark practice area of the clinic of a law school participating in the USPTO Law School Clinic Certification Program:

(i) Upon request from the law school;

(ii) If the participating law school does not meet each of the requirements and criteria for participation in the USPTO Law School Clinic Certification Program as set forth in §11.16, this section, or as otherwise established by the OED Director; or

(iii) For other good cause as determined by the OED Director.

(2) In the event that a practice area of a participating school is removed by the OED Director, the participating law school students must:

(i) Immediately cease all student practice before the Office in the relevant practice area and notify each client of such; and

(ii) Disassociate themselves from all client matters relating to practice before the Office in the relevant practice area, including complying with Office and State rules for withdrawal from representation.

(3) A school that has been removed from participation in the USPTO Law School Clinic Certification Program under this section may reapply to the program in compliance with §11.16.

[81 FR 33597, May 27, 2016]

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§11.18   Signature and certificate for correspondence filed in the Office.

(a) For all documents filed in the Office in patent, trademark, and other non-patent matters, and all documents filed with a hearing officer in a disciplinary proceeding, except for correspondence that is required to be signed by the applicant or party, each piece of correspondence filed by a practitioner in the Office must bear a signature, personally signed or inserted by such practitioner, in compliance with §1.4(d) or §2.193(a) of this chapter.

(b) By presenting to the Office or hearing officer in a disciplinary proceeding (whether by signing, filing, submitting, or later advocating) any paper, the party presenting such paper, whether a practitioner or non-practitioner, is certifying that—

(1) All statements made therein of the party's own knowledge are true, all statements made therein on information and belief are believed to be true, and all statements made therein are made with the knowledge that whoever, in any matter within the jurisdiction of the Office, knowingly and willfully falsifies, conceals, or covers up by any trick, scheme, or device a material fact, or knowingly and willfully makes any false, fictitious, or fraudulent statements or representations, or knowingly and willfully makes or uses any false writing or document knowing the same to contain any false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or entry, shall be subject to the penalties set forth under 18 U.S.C. 1001 and any other applicable criminal statute, and violations of the provisions of this section may jeopardize the probative value of the paper; and

(2) To the best of the party's knowledge, information and belief, formed after an inquiry reasonable under the circumstances,

(i) The paper is not being presented for any improper purpose, such as to harass someone or to cause unnecessary delay or needless increase in the cost of any proceeding before the Office;

(ii) The other legal contentions therein are warranted by existing law or by a nonfrivolous argument for the extension, modification, or reversal of existing law or the establishment of new law;

(iii) The allegations and other factual contentions have evidentiary support or, if specifically so identified, are likely to have evidentiary support after a reasonable opportunity for further investigation or discovery; and

(iv) The denials of factual contentions are warranted on the evidence, or if specifically so identified, are reasonably based on a lack of information or belief.

(c) Violations of any of paragraphs (b)(2)(i) through (iv) of this section are, after notice and reasonable opportunity to respond, subject to such sanctions or actions as deemed appropriate by the USPTO Director, which may include, but are not limited to, any combination of—

(1) Striking the offending paper;

(2) Referring a practitioner's conduct to the Director of Enrollment and Discipline for appropriate action;

(3) Precluding a party or practitioner from submitting a paper, or presenting or contesting an issue;

(4) Affecting the weight given to the offending paper; or

(5) Terminating the proceedings in the Office.

(d) Any practitioner violating the provisions of this section may also be subject to disciplinary action.

[73 FR 47689, Aug. 14, 2008, as amended at 74 FR 54912, Oct. 26, 2009; 78 FR 62409, Oct. 21, 2013]

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