37 CFR 11.116: Declining or terminating representation

Taken from the Ninth Edition of the MPEP, Revision 07.2015, Last Revised in November 2015

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11.116    Declining or terminating representation.

  • (a) Except as stated in paragraph (c) of this section, a practitioner shall not represent a client, or where representation has commenced, shall withdraw from the representation of a client if:
    • (1) The representation will result in violation of the USPTO Rules of Professional Conduct or other law;
    • (2) The practitioner’s physical or mental condition materially impairs the practitioner’s ability to represent the client; or
    • (3) The practitioner is discharged.
  • (b) Except as stated in paragraph (c) of this section, a practitioner may withdraw from representing a client if:
    • (1) Withdrawal can be accomplished without material adverse effect on the interests of the client;
    • (2) The client persists in a course of action involving the practitioner’s services that the practitioner reasonably believes is criminal or fraudulent;
    • (3) The client has used the practitioner’s services to perpetrate a crime or fraud;
    • (4) A client insists upon taking action that the practitioner considers repugnant or with which the practitioner has a fundamental disagreement;
    • (5) The client fails substantially to fulfill an obligation to the practitioner regarding the practitioner’s services and has been given reasonable warning that the practitioner will withdraw unless the obligation is fulfilled;
    • (6) The representation will result in an unreasonable financial burden on the practitioner or has been rendered unreasonably difficult by the client; or
    • (7) Other good cause for withdrawal exists.
  • (c) A practitioner must comply with applicable law requiring notice to or permission of a tribunal when terminating a representation. When ordered to do so by a tribunal, a practitioner shall continue representation notwithstanding good cause for terminating the representation.
  • (d) Upon termination of representation, a practitioner shall take steps to the extent reasonably practicable to protect a client’s interests, such as giving reasonable notice to the client, allowing time for employment of other counsel, surrendering papers and property to which the client is entitled and refunding any advance payment of fee or expense that has not been earned or incurred. The practitioner may retain papers relating to the client to the extent permitted by other law.
[Added 78 FR 20180, Apr. 3, 2013, effective May 3, 2013]