611.01(c) Signature of Documents Filed Electronically
37 C.F.R. §2.193 Trademark correspondence and signature requirements. (Extract)
- (c) Requirements for electronic signature. A person signing a document electronically must:
- (1) Personally enter any combination of letters, numbers, spaces and/or punctuation marks that he or she has adopted as a signature, placed between two forward slash (“/”) symbols in the signature block on the electronic submission; or
- (2) Sign the verified statement using some other form of electronic signature specified by the Director.
- (d) Signatory must be identified. The name of the person who signs a document in connection with a trademark application, registration, or proceeding before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board must be set forth in printed or typed form immediately below or adjacent to the signature, or identified elsewhere in the filing (e.g., in a cover letter or other document that accompanies the filing).
In a document filed in connection with a trademark application, registration, or proceeding before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board through TEAS or ESTTA, the party filing the document does not apply a conventional signature. Instead, the filer does one of the following:
- (1) The filer enters any combination of letters, numbers, spaces, and/or punctuation marks that the filer has adopted as a signature, placed between two forward slash (“/”) symbols. 37 C.F.R. §2.193(c). Examples of acceptable signatures include /john doe/, /drl/, and /544-4925/. The signatory’s name must be set forth beneath the signature. 37 C.F.R. §2.193(d);
- (2) The document is filled out online, printed in text form, and mailed or faxed to the signatory. The signatory signs the printed document in the traditional pen-and-ink manner. The signature portion, along with a declaration, if required, is scanned to create a.jpg or.pdf image file and attached to the document for electronic submission; or
- (3) The document is completed online, and e-mailed to the signatory for electronic signature from within TEAS. The signatory signs the document and it is automatically returned via TEAS to the party who requested the signature.
The USPTO will also accept a signature that meets the requirements of paragraph (1) above on documents that are filed on paper. 37 C.F.R. §2.193(a)(2).
All documents must be personally signed. 37 C.F.R. §§2.193(a)(1), (c)(1), 11.18(a). The person(s) identified as the signatory must manually enter the elements of the electronic signature. Another person (e.g., paralegal, legal assistant, or secretary) may not sign the name of a qualified practitioner or other authorized signatory. See In re Dermahose Inc., 82 USPQ2d 1793 (TTAB 2007); In re Cowan, 18 USPQ2d 1407 (Comm’r Pats. 1990). Just as signing the name of another person on paper does not serve as the signature of the person whose name is written, typing the electronic signature of another person is not a valid signature by that person.
The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board has held that an electronic signature on an electronic transmission through ESTTA pertains to all the attachments to the transmission. PPG Indus., Inc. v. Guardian Indus. Corp., 73 USPQ2d 1926 (TTAB 2005).
See TBMP §106.02 regarding signature of documents filed in Board proceedings, and TBMP §106.03 regarding the form of submissions in Board proceedings.