MPEP 402.01
Limited Recognition in Patent Matters

Ninth Edition of the MPEP, Revision 07.2022, Last Revised in February 2023

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402.01    Limited Recognition in Patent Matters [R-07.2022]

37 C.F.R. 11.9 Limited recognition in patent matters.

  • (a) Any individual not registered under §11.6 may, upon a showing of circumstances that 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 to individuals who have passed the examination or to those for whom the examination has been waived while such individual’s application for registration to practice before the Office in patent matters is pending.
  • (b) A nonimmigrant alien residing in the United States and fulfilling the provisions of paragraphs (d) and (e) of this section 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 83.1bis and 90.1.


37 C.F.R. 11.10  Restrictions on practice in patent matters; former and current Office employees; government employees.

  • (a) Only practitioners registered under § 11.6; individuals given limited recognition under § 11.9(a) or (b) or § 11.16; or individuals admitted pro hac vice as provided in § 41.5(a) or 42.10(c) of this chapter are permitted to represent others before the Office in patent matters.


Only registered practitioners and individuals granted limited recognition are permitted to prosecute patent applications of others before the Office or represent others in patent proceedings before the Office. See 37 CFR 11.10(a). Persons granted limited recognition are considered practitioners under 37 CFR 11.1 and thus permitted to perform the same patent prosecution functions of registered patent agents and registered patent attorneys when prosecuting a specified patent application or specified patent applications. See 37 CFR 11.5(b)(1). This includes the filing of (A) a power of attorney (37 CFR 1.32(b)(4) ), (B) a document granting access to an application (37 CFR 1.14(c) ), (C) a change of correspondence address (37 CFR 1.33(a) ), (D) a terminal disclaimer (37 CFR 1.321(b)(1) ), or (E) a request for an express abandonment (37 CFR 1.138(b) ). However, persons granted limited recognition are still subject to the restrictions expressed in their grant, including temporal, employer, and visa limitations.

If a request for limited recognition under 37 CFR 11.9 accompanies the application, the Office of Patent Application Processing will forward the file to the Director of the Office of Enrollment and Discipline.

See MPEP § 1807 for representation in international applications (PCT) and MPEP § 2911 for representation in international design applications.