T.M.E.P. § 602.01
Powers of Attorney
This document contains one section of the Trademark Manual of Examining Procedure (the "TMEP"), Fourth Edition (April 2005). This page was last updated in June 2007. You may return to one either the section index, or to the key word index. If you wish to search the TMEP, simply use the search box that appears on the bottom of every page of BitLaw--be sure to restrict your search to the TMEP in the pop-up list.
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602.01 Powers of Attorney
37 C.F.R. 2.17(c). To be recognized as a representative, an attorney as defined in §10.1(c) of this chapter may file a power of attorney, appear in person, or sign a document on behalf of an applicant or registrant that is filed with the Office in a trademark case.
37 C.F.R. 2.17(d) A party may file a power of attorney that relates to more than one trademark application or registration, or to all existing and future applications and registrations of that party. A party relying on such a power of attorney must:
(1) Include a copy of the previously filed power of attorney; or
(2) Refer to the power of attorney, specifying the filing date of the previously filed power of attorney; the application serial number (if known), registration number, or inter partes proceeding number for which the original power of attorney was filed; and the name of the party who signed the power of attorney; or, if the application serial number is not known, submit a copy of the application or a copy of the mark, and specify the filing date.
Generally, it is not necessary for an attorney at law to file a power of attorney or any other special authorization in a trademark case. An attorney at law who appears in person or signs a document on behalf of an applicant or registrant will be accepted as the representative of the applicant or registrant. 37 C.F.R. §§2.17(a) and (c).
If an attorney files a proper power of attorney from the party he or she represents, the USPTO will accept the power. To be acceptable as a power of attorney, the power must identify an individual attorney(s) by name, not merely specify the name of a law firm. If a power specifies only the name of a law firm, the USPTO will treat it as a correspondence address rather than an authorization to conduct business. See TMEP §§603 et seq. regarding the correspondence address.
To expedite processing, the USPTO recommends that powers of attorney be filed through Trademark Electronic Application System ("TEAS"), at http://www.uspto.gov/teas/index.html. When powers of attorney are filed electronically, the data is automatically entered into the USPTO's Trademark Reporting and Monitoring ("TRAM") System.
An attorney cannot sign an original power of attorney on behalf of his or her client. An original power of attorney, other than one associating an additional attorney with an already authorized attorney (see TMEP §602.01(b)) , must be signed by the individual applicant, or by someone with legal authority to bind a juristic applicant (e.g., a corporate officer or partner of a partnership). See TMEP §804.05 regarding signature of documents transmitted electronically.
If a power of attorney is signed by an improper person (e.g., the applicant's attorney), the examining attorney generally does not have to require a properly signed power, because the filing of a power of attorney is not mandatory in a trademark case. See 37 C.F.R. 2.17(c). (However, if an applicant is already represented by an attorney, and a new attorney takes over, the applicant must file either a new power of attorney or a written request to change the correspondence address, signed by the applicant, before the USPTO will correspond with the new attorney. See TMEP §603.02(a). See also TMEP §602.03 regarding papers filed by unauthorized parties.)
If no power of attorney is filed, the USPTO will presume that an attorney is the attorney of record in an application if: (1) the original application is accompanied by a cover letter or transmittal letter that is signed by an attorney and identifies the name and address of that attorney; (2) the application is filed electronically using TEAS (see TMEP §301) , and the attorney information section is completed; or (3) the application is filed by a pro se applicant (i.e., an applicant who does not have an attorney), and correspondence is subsequently filed that is signed by an attorney and identifies the name and address of that attorney, either on the correspondence itself or on the transmittal letter that accompanies the correspondence. The USPTO presumes that documents filed by practitioners are authorized to be filed.
The USPTO considers a power of attorney to end with respect to a particular application when the mark is registered, when ownership changes, or when the application is abandoned. See TMEP §602.01(c) regarding the processing of powers of attorney filed after registration.
If an attorney is suspended or excluded by the Director of the USPTO, a power of attorney should be regarded as void as of the date of suspension or exclusion, and no oral or written communication should be made with the attorney on or after that date. Any correspondence filed by a suspended or excluded attorney should be treated as correspondence filed by an unauthorized person, pursuant to TMEP §602.03.
602.01(a) Power of Attorney Relating to More Than One Application or Registration
Using TEAS, at www.uspto.gov/teas/index.html, an owner may appoint an attorney for up to 20 applications or registrations that have the identical owner and attorney. A power of attorney relating to future applications cannot be filed through TEAS.
An applicant or registrant may file a power of attorney on paper that relates to more than one trademark application or registration, or to all existing and future applications and registrations. Someone relying on such a power of attorney must: (1) include a copy of the previously filed power of attorney; or (2) refer to the previously filed power of attorney, specifying: the filing date of the power; the application serial number (if known), registration number, or inter partes proceeding number for which the original power of attorney was filed; and the name of the party who signed the power of attorney; or, if the application serial number is not known, submit a copy of the application or a copy of the mark, and specify the filing date. 37 C.F.R. 2.17(d). If the applicant or registrant meets these requirements, the examining attorney should accept the power of attorney.
602.01(b) Associate Powers of Attorney
Once the applicant has designated an attorney, the attorney may sign an associate power of attorney appointing another attorney as an additional person authorized to prosecute the application. If the applicant revokes the original power of attorney, this revocation also discharges any associate power signed by the attorney whose power has been revoked. See TMEP §602.04 regarding revocation of a power of attorney.
602.01(c) Powers of Attorney Filed After Registration
To expedite processing, the USPTO recommends that powers of attorney be filed through TEAS, at http://www.uspto.gov/teas/index.html. When a power of attorney is filed through TEAS, the data is automatically entered into the USPTO's TRAM database.
The USPTO considers a power of attorney to end with registration.
When a new power of attorney is filed on paper after registration, the USPTO scans an image of the document into the record, but does not change the attorney of record in the TRAM database unless the owner of the registration concurrently files an affidavit of continued use under 15 U.S.C. 1058 ("§8 affidavit"), affidavit of incontestability under 15 U.S.C. 15 ("§15 affidavit"), renewal application under 15 U.S.C. 1059, or request to amend or correct the registration under 15 U.S.C. 1057(e). Likewise, when the owner of a registration files a paper request to revoke a power of attorney, or an attorney files a request to withdraw as attorney of record, the USPTO scans an image of the document into the record but does not change the attorney of record in TRAM. See TMEP §602.04 regarding revocation of powers of attorney and TMEP §602.05 regarding withdrawal.
When the owner of a registration files an affidavit, renewal application, or request to amend or correct a registration through an attorney, the USPTO will update TRAM to indicate the name of the attorney who filed the affidavit, renewal application, or amendment.See also TMEP §1612.