1702 Petitions to the Director Under 37 C.F.R. §2.146 - In General
37 C.F.R. §2.146 Petitions to the Director.
- (a) Petition may be taken to the Director: (1) From any repeated or final formal requirement of the examiner in the ex parte prosecution of an application if permitted by §2.63(a) and (b); (2) in any case for which the Act of 1946, or Title 35 of the United States Code, or this Part of Title 37 of the Code of Federal Regulations specifies that the matter is to be determined directly or reviewed by the Director; (3) to invoke the supervisory authority of the Director in appropriate circumstances; (4) in any case not specifically defined and provided for by this Part of Title 37 of the Code of Federal Regulations; (5) in an extraordinary situation, when justice requires and no other party is injured thereby, to request a suspension or waiver of any requirement of the rules not being a requirement of the Act of 1946.
- (b) Questions of substance arising during the ex parte prosecution of applications, including, but not limited to, questions arising under §§2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 23 of the Act of 1946, are not considered to be appropriate subject matter for petitions to the Director.
- (c) Every petition to the Director shall include a statement of the facts relevant to the petition, the points to be reviewed, the action or relief requested, and the fee required by § 2.6. Any brief in support of the petition shall be embodied in or accompany the petition. The petition must be signed by the petitioner, someone with legal authority to bind the petitioner (e.g., a corporate officer or general partner of a partnership), or a practitioner qualified to practice under § 11.14 of this chapter, in accordance with the requirements of § 2.193(e)(5). When facts are to be proved on petition, the petitioner must submit proof in the form of verified statements signed by someone with firsthand knowledge of the facts to be proved, and any exhibits.
- (d) A petition must be filed within two months of the date of issuance of the action from which relief is requested, unless a different deadline is specified elsewhere in this chapter, and no later than two months from the date when Office records are updated to show that the registration has been cancelled or has expired.
- (e)(1) A petition from the grant or denial of a request for an extension of time to file a notice of opposition must be filed within fifteen days from the date of issuance of the grant or denial of the request. A petition from the grant of a request must be served on the attorney or other authorized representative of the potential opposer, if any, or on the potential opposer. A petition from the denial of a request must be served on the attorney or other authorized representative of the applicant, if any, or on the applicant. Proof of service of the petition must be made as provided by §2.119. The potential opposer or the applicant, as the case may be, may file a response within fifteen days from the date of service of the petition and must serve a copy of the response on the petitioner, with proof of service as provided by §2.119. No further document relating to the petition may be filed.
- (2) A petition from an interlocutory order of the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board must be filed within thirty days after the date of issuance of the order from which relief is requested. Any brief in response to the petition must be filed, with any supporting exhibits, within fifteen days from the date of service of the petition. Petitions and responses to petitions, and any documents accompanying a petition or response under this subsection must be served on every adverse party pursuant to §2.119.
- (f) An oral hearing will not be held on a petition except when considered necessary by the Director.
- (g) The mere filing of a petition to the Director will not act as a stay in any appeal or inter partes proceeding that is pending before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board nor stay the period for replying to an Office action in an application except when a stay is specifically requested and is granted or when §§2.63(a) and (b) and 2.65(a) are applicable to an ex parte application.
- (h) Authority to act on petitions, or on any petition, may be delegated by the Director.
- (i) Where a petitioner seeks to reactivate an application or registration that was abandoned, cancelled or expired because documents were lost or mishandled, the Director may deny the petition if the petitioner was not diligent in checking the status of the application or registration. To be considered diligent, a petitioner must:
- (1) During the pendency of an application, check the status of the application every six months between the filing date of the application and issuance of a registration;
- (2) After registration, check the status of the registration every six months from the filing of an affidavit of use or excusable nonuse under section 8 or 71 of the Act, or a renewal application under section 9 of the Act, until the petitioner receives notice that the affidavit or renewal application has been accepted; and
- (3) If the status check reveals that the Office has not received a document filed by the petitioner, or that the Office has issued an action or notice that the petitioner has not received, the petitioner must promptly request corrective action.
- (j) If the Director denies a petition, the petitioner may request reconsideration, if the petitioner:
- (1) Files the request within two months of the date of issuance of the decision denying the petition; and
- (2) Pays a second petition fee under §2.6.
Applicants, registrants, and parties to inter partes proceedings before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board ("Board") who believe they have been injured by certain adverse actions of the USPTO, or who believe that they cannot comply with the requirements of the Trademark Rules of Practice (37 C.F.R. Parts 2, 3, 6, and 7) because of an extraordinary situation, may seek equitable relief by filing a petition under 37 C.F.R. §2.146.
Under 37 C.F.R. §2.146(a)(1), an applicant may file a petition to review an examining attorney’s formal requirement if permitted by 37 C.F.R. §§2.63(a) and (b). Under 37 C.F.R. §2.63(a)(2), a petition from a requirement that is repeated but not made final is permitted if a non-final action contains no substantive refusals and the subject matter of the requirement is appropriate for petition. Under 37 C.F.R. §2.63(b)(2), a petition from a final requirement is permitted if a final action contains no substantive refusals and the subject matter of the requirement is procedural, and therefore appropriate for petition. See TMEP §1704 regarding petitionable subject matter. If a petition under 37 C.F.R. §2.146(a)(1) is denied, the applicant has six months from the issuance date of the Office action that repeated the requirement or made it final, or thirty days from the date of the decision on the petition, whichever is later, to comply with the requirement. 37 C.F.R. §2.63(c).
Under 37 C.F.R. §2.146(a)(2), a petition may be filed in any case for which the Trademark Act, Trademark Rules of Practice, or Title 35 of the United States Code specifies that the matter is to be determined directly or reviewed by the Director. This includes petitions to review the actions of the Post Registration staff under 15 U.S.C. §§1057, 1058, 1059, and 1141k.
Under 37 C.F.R. §2.146(a)(5), a party may petition the Director to suspend or waive any requirement of the rules that is not a requirement of the statute, in an extraordinary situation, where justice requires and no other party is injured thereby. See TMEP §1708.