TMEP 602.01: Attorneys Licensed to Practice in the United States

October 2017 Edition of the TMEP

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602.01    Attorneys Licensed to Practice in the United States

An attorney who is a member in good standing of the bar of the highest court of a state in the United States (which includes the District of Columbia and any Commonwealth or territory of the United States) may practice before the USPTO in trademark matters. 37 C.F.R. §§2.17(a),11.1 (definitions of Attorney and State), 11.14(a).  No application for recognition to practice before the USPTO is necessary.  The USPTO does not give an examination for eligibility or maintain a register of United States attorneys entitled to practice in trademark cases.  An attorney meeting the requirements of 37 C.F.R. §11.14 who files a power of attorney pursuant to 37 C.F.R. §2.17(c),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(b). A qualified practitioner may also be recognized as the applicant’s representative if the practitioner is identified as the attorney of record in the application, even when the application is signed by the applicant. A telephone call from an attorney does not satisfy the "appearance" requirements of 37 C.F.R. §2.17(b).

Only individuals, not law firms, are entitled to be recognized to represent an applicant or registrant.  Generally, attorneys who have not specifically been mentioned in a power of attorney may discuss but not conclude business with the USPTO over the telephone.  However, if an attorney from the same United States firm as the attorney of record claims to be authorized by the attorney of record to conduct business and approve amendments with respect to a specific application or registration, the USPTO will permit the attorney to conclude business, and will note this fact in any resulting examiner’s amendment, priority action, or Office action. See 37 C.F.R. §2.18(a)(7).