[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 202 (Thursday, October 18, 2012)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 64189-64215]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-25355]



[[Page 64189]]

Vol. 77

Thursday,

No. 202

October 18, 2012

Part II





Department of Commerce





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Patent and Trademark Office





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37 CFR Part 1, 2, 7, 10, et al.





Changes to Representation of Others Before the United States Patent and 
Trademark Office; Proposed Rule

Federal Register / Vol. 77 , No. 202 / Thursday, October 18, 2012 / 
Proposed Rules

[[Page 64190]]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

United States Patent and Trademark Office

37 CFR Parts 1, 2, 7, 10, 11 and 41

[Docket No. PTO-C-2012-0034]
RIN 0651-AC81


Changes to Representation of Others Before the United States 
Patent and Trademark Office

AGENCY: United States Patent and Trademark Office, Commerce.

ACTION: Notice of proposed rulemaking.

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SUMMARY: The United States Patent and Trademark Office (Office or 
USPTO) proposes to align the USPTO's professional responsibility rules 
with those of most other U.S. jurisdictions by replacing the current 
Patent and Trademark Office Code of Professional Responsibility, 
adopted in 1985, based on the 1980 version of the Model Code of 
Professional Responsibility of the American Bar Association (``ABA''), 
with new USPTO Rules of Professional Conduct, which are based on the 
Model Rules of Professional Conduct of the ABA, which were published in 
1983, substantially revised in 2003 and updated through 2011. Changes 
approved by the ABA House of Delegates in August 2012 have not been 
incorporated in these proposed rules. The Office also proposes to 
revise the existing procedural rules governing disciplinary 
investigations and proceedings.

DATES: To be ensured of consideration, written comments must be 
received on or before December 17, 2012.

ADDRESSES: Comments should be sent by electronic mail message over the 
Internet addressed to: ethicsrules.comments@uspto.gov. Comments may 
also be submitted by mail addressed to: Mail Stop OED-Ethics Rules, 
United States Patent and Trademark Office, P.O. Box 1450, Alexandria, 
Virginia 22313-1450, marked to the attention of William R. Covey, 
Deputy General Counsel for Enrollment and Discipline and Director of 
the Office of Enrollment and Discipline.
    Comments may also be sent by electronic mail message over the 
Internet via the Federal eRulemaking Portal. See the Federal 
eRulemaking Portal Web site (http://www.regulations.gov) for additional 
instructions on providing comments via the Federal eRulemaking Portal.
    Although comments may be submitted by postal mail, the Office 
prefers to receive comments by electronic mail message over the 
Internet because sharing comments with the public is more easily 
accomplished. Electronic comments are preferred to be submitted in 
plain text, but also may be submitted in ADOBE[supreg] portable 
document format or MICROSOFT WORD[supreg] format. Comments not 
submitted electronically should be submitted on paper in a format that 
facilitates convenient digital scanning into ADOBE[supreg] portable 
document format.
    Comments will be made available for public inspection at the Office 
of Enrollment and Discipline, located on the 8th Floor of the Madison 
West Building, 600 Dulany Street, Alexandria, Virginia. Comments also 
will be available for viewing via the Office's Internet Web site 
(http://www.uspto.gov). Because comments will be made available for 
public inspection, information that the submitter does not desire to 
make public, such as an address or phone number, should not be included 
in the comments.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: William R. Covey, Deputy General 
Counsel for Enrollment and Discipline and Director of the Office of 
Enrollment and Discipline, by telephone at 571-272-4097.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Executive Summary

    Pursuant to 35 U.S.C. 2(b)(2)(D), the Office governs ``the 
recognition and conduct of agents, attorneys, or other persons 
representing applicants or other parties before the Office.'' The 
Office also has the authority to suspend or exclude from practice 
before the Office any practitioner who ``is shown to be incompetent or 
disreputable, or guilty of gross misconduct, or who does not comply 
with the regulations established under section 2(b)(2)(D) of this 
title.'' 35 U.S.C. 32. Pursuant to the authority provided in sections 
2(b)(2)(D) and 32 of Title 35, practitioners representing parties in 
patent, trademark and other non-patent matters presently are required 
to conform to the Patent and Trademark Office Code of Professional 
Responsibility set forth in 37 CFR 10.20 through 10.112. These rules 
have been in place since 1985 and are based on the ABA Model Code of 
Professional Responsibility. See 50 FR 5158 (February 6, 1985). Since 
that time, the vast majority of State bars in the United States have 
adopted substantive disciplinary rules based on the newer ABA Model 
Rules of Professional Conduct. As noted below, the Office believes 
individuals representing others before the Office will benefit from 
modernization of the regulations governing professional conduct before 
the Office and harmonization of these regulations with corresponding 
rules adopted by bars in the States and the District of Columbia.
    The bars of 50 U.S. jurisdictions including the District of 
Columbia have adopted the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct or a 
modification thereof. This notice of proposed rulemaking sets out 
proposed USPTO Rules of Professional Conduct. The changes from the 
existing USPTO Code of Professional Responsibility are intended to 
bring standards of ethical practice before the Office into closer 
conformity with the Rules of Professional Conduct adopted by nearly all 
States and the District of Columbia, while addressing circumstances 
particular to practice before the Office. By adopting professional 
conduct rules consistent with the ABA Model Rules and the professional 
responsibility rules of 50 U.S. jurisdictions, the USPTO both would 
provide attorneys with consistent professional conduct standards, and 
would provide practitioners with large bodies of both case law and 
opinions written by disciplinary authorities that have adopted the ABA 
Model Rules of Professional Conduct. At this time, nearly 42,000 
individuals are registered practitioners, of whom at least 75% are 
attorneys. The registered patent attorneys have offices located in all 
fifty States, the District of Columbia, and more than forty foreign 
countries. In addition to registered patent attorneys, any attorney who 
is a member in good standing of the bar of the highest court of a 
State, territory or possession of the United States is eligible to 
practice before the Office in trademark and other non-patent matters, 
without becoming a registered practitioner. 5 U.S.C. 500(b); 37 CFR 
11.14. The attorneys who appear before the Office are subject to these 
rules as well. 37 CFR 11.19.
    A body of precedent specific to practice before the USPTO will 
develop as disciplinary matters brought under the USPTO Rules of 
Professional Conduct progress through the USPTO and the Federal Courts. 
In the absence of binding USPTO-specific precedent, practitioners may 
refer to various sources for guidance. For example, it is expected that 
precedent based on the current Patent and Trademark Office Code of 
Professional Responsibility will assist interpretation of professional 
conduct standards under the proposed USPTO Rules of Professional 
Conduct. A practitioner also may refer to the Comments and Annotations 
to the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct for

[[Page 64191]]

guidance as to how to interpret the equivalent USPTO Rules of 
Professional Conduct. Additionally, relevant guidance may be provided 
by opinions issued by State bars and disciplinary decisions based on 
similar professional conduct rules in the States. Such guidance is not 
binding precedent relative to USPTO Rules of Professional Conduct, but 
it may provide a useful tool in interpreting the rules while a larger 
body of USPTO-specific precedent is established.
    This rulemaking benefits and reduces costs for most practitioners 
by clarifying and streamlining their professional responsibility 
obligations. With this rulemaking, the USPTO would be adopting 
professional conduct rules consistent with the ABA Model Rules and the 
professional responsibility rules already followed by 50 U.S. 
jurisdictions, i.e., the District of Columbia and 49 States, excluding 
California. Further, any change is not a significant deviation from 
rules of professional conduct for practitioners that are already 
required by the Office.
    Table 1 shows the principal sources of the rules proposed for the 
USPTO Rules of Professional Conduct. In general, numbering of the USPTO 
Rules of Professional Conduct largely track numbering of the ABA Model 
Rules of Professional Conduct. For example, USPTO Rule of Professional 
Conduct 11.101 parallels ABA Model Rule of Professional Conduct 1.1; 
USPTO Rule of Professional Conduct 11.102 parallels ABA Model Rule of 
Professional Conduct 1.2; USPTO Rule of Professional Conduct 11.201 
parallels ABA Model Rule of Professional Conduct 2.1; et cetera. The 
discussion below highlights instances where the USPTO Rules of 
Professional Conduct diverge from the ABA Model Rules of Professional 
Conduct.
    The proposed USPTO Rules of Professional Conduct reserve or decline 
to implement certain provisions set forth in the ABA Model Rules of 
Professional Conduct. For example, the ABA Model Rules set forth 
specific provisions concerning domestic relations or criminal practice 
that do not appear in the proposed USPTO Rules of Professional 
Responsibility. See, e.g., sections 11.102, 11.105(d), 11.108(g), 
11.108(j), 11.301, 11.303(a)(3), 11.306, 11.308 and 11.704(c). Conduct 
that would violate an unadopted provision might nevertheless also 
violate an adopted provision (e.g., the conduct might also violate the 
broader obligations under section 11.804 of the proposed USPTO Rules of 
Professional Conduct). In addition, a licensed attorney is subject to 
the professional conduct rules of appropriate State licensing 
authorities, as well as of any courts before which the attorney 
practices. Failure to comply with those rules may lead to disciplinary 
action against the practitioner by the appropriate State bar or court 
and, in turn, possible reciprocal action against the practitioner by 
the USPTO. See 37 CFR 11.24 and 11.804(h).
    In August 2012, the ABA House of Delegates approved revisions to 
the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct recommended by the ABA 
Commission on Ethics 20/20. See http://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/administrative/ethics_2020/20120808_house_action_compilation_redline_105a-f.authcheckdam.pdf. These revisions have not been 
incorporated into these proposed rules since the states have not 
adopted those changes at this time. However, comments are solicited as 
to whether those changes should be incorporated into the USPTO Rules of 
Professional Conduct.
    The Office does not propose any change to the preamble to section 
11.1. This preamble provides in part: ``This part governs solely the 
practice of patent, trademark, and other law before the United States 
Patent and Trademark Office. Nothing in this part shall be construed to 
preempt the authority of each State to regulate the practice of law, 
except to the extent necessary for the United States Patent and 
Trademark Office to accomplish its Federal objectives.'' Attorneys who 
practice before the Office are subject to professional conduct rules 
established by the Office as well as the appropriate State bars.
    The Office adopted rules governing the conduct of disciplinary 
investigations in 2008. See 73 FR 47650 (August 14, 2008). Experience 
under these rules has demonstrated areas in which the rules could be 
clarified. Accordingly, the Office also proposes revisions to existing 
rules set forth at 37 CFR 11.19, 11.20, 11.22, 11.32, 11.34, 11.35 and 
11.54. Finally, the Office proposes incorporating the survey rule, 
currently set forth at 37 CFR 10.11, as section 11.11(a)(2).

Discussion of Specific Rules

    Section 1.4(d)(4) would be corrected by deleting the reference to 
section 11.804(b)(9), which does not exist.
    Sections 1.21(a)(7) and (a)(8) would be deleted since the annual 
practitioner maintenance fee is proposed to be removed by this rule 
package. The Office has published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 
Setting and Adjusting Patent Fees, 77 FR 55028, 55082, proposing to 
adjust the practitioner maintenance fee to $120, and noting elsewhere 
in the rulemaking materials that the Office has suspended collection of 
those fees, making total collections $0. The Office now proposes to 
remove this practitioner maintenance fee which is set forth in 11.8(d).
    Section 2.2(c) would be revised to delete the reference to part 10 
of this chapter, which would be removed and reserved.
    Section 7.25(a) would be revised to delete the reference to part 10 
of this chapter, which would be removed and reserved.
    Section 11.1 would set out definitions of terms used in the USPTO 
Rules of Professional Conduct. The definitions of mandatory 
disciplinary rule and matter have been deleted; the definitions of 
fraud or fraudulent and practitioner have been revised; and the terms 
confirmed in writing, firm or law firm, informed consent, law-related 
services, partner, person, reasonable belief or reasonably believes, 
reasonably should know, screened, tribunal, and writing or written 
would be newly defined. The definition of practitioner would be updated 
to refer to section 11.14 rather than section 10.14, and to refer to 
sections 11.14(a), (b) and (c) rather than sections 11.14(b), (c) and 
(e). The new definitions generally comport to definitions set forth in 
the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct. However, the definition of 
fraud or fraudulent used in the ABA Model Rules has not been adopted. 
Instead, the Office believes a uniform definition based on common law 
should apply to all individuals subject to the USPTO Rules of 
Professional Conduct. Accordingly, the definition of common law fraud 
is based on the definition discussed by the United States Court of 
Appeals for the Federal Circuit. See Unitherm Food Systems, Inc. v. 
Swift-Ekrich, Inc., 375 F.3d 1341, 1358 (Fed. Cir. 2004); In re 
Spalding Sports Worldwide, Inc., 203 F.3d 800, 807 (Fed. Cir. 2000). 
Further, in the definition of tribunal, the reference to ``the Office'' 
includes those persons or entities acting in an adjudicative capacity.
    Section 11.2(c) would be revised to delete redundant language.
    Section 11.2(d) would be revised to clarify that a party 
dissatisfied with a final decision of the OED Director regarding 
enrollment or recognition must exhaust administrative remedies before 
seeking relief under the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. 551 et 
seq.
    Section 11.2(e) would be revised to clarify that a party 
dissatisfied with an action or notice of the OED Director

[[Page 64192]]

during or at the conclusion of a disciplinary investigation must 
exhaust administrative remedies before seeking relief under the 
Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. 551 et seq.
    Section 11.8(d) would be reserved. The USPTO is deleting reference 
to an annual practitioner maintenance fee.
    Section 11.11 would be revised to change the language ``registered 
attorney or agent'' to ``registered practitioner'' and add the term 
``registered'' as appropriate.
    Section 11.11(a) and (b) would be revised to substantially 
incorporate the provisions currently set forth in 37 CFR 10.11. 
Specifically, the current provisions of section 11.11(a) would appear 
as section 11.11(a)(1) and the current provisions of section 10.11 
would appear as section 11.11(a)(2). Additionally, section 11.11(b) 
would be revised to provide that a practitioner failing to comply with 
section 11.11(a)(2) would be placed on administrative suspension, 
rather than removed from the register as set forth in section 10.11. 
Additionally, section 11.11(b)(1) would be revised to delete reference 
to section 11.8(d). Also, section 11.11(b)(4) would be deleted and 
reserved since an annual practitioner maintenance fee would be deleted 
by this rules package.
    Section 11.11(c) would be revised to change the reference to the 
``Mandatory Disciplinary Rules'' to the ``USPTO Rules of Professional 
Conduct.'' Section 11.11(c) would also be revised to delete reference 
to an annual practitioner maintenance fee.
    Section 11.11(d) would be revised by updating the previous 
reference to section 10.40 to refer to section 11.116, which, with this 
rulemaking, would include provisions related to withdrawal from 
representation. Section 11.11(d) would also be revised to delete 
reference to an annual practitioner maintenance fee. Sections 
11.11(d)(2) and (d)(4) are deleted and reserved since they are directed 
to an annual practitioner maintenance fee.
    Section 11.11(e) would be revised to update the reference to the 
``Mandatory Disciplinary Rules'' to read ``USPTO Rules of Professional 
Conduct.''
    Section 11.11(f) would be revised to remove reference to sections 
1.21(a)(7)(i) and (a)(8)(i) which provide for annual practitioner 
maintenance fees.
    Section 11.19(a) would be revised to expressly provide jurisdiction 
over a person not registered or recognized to practice before the 
Office if the person provides or offers to provide any legal services 
before the Office. This change is consistent with the USPTO's statutory 
and inherent authority to regulate practice before the Office, and it 
is consistent with the second sentence of ABA Model Rule of 
Professional Conduct 8.5(a).
    Section 11.20(a)(4) would be revised to clarify that disciplinary 
sanctions that may be imposed upon revocation of probation are not 
necessarily limited to the remainder of the probation period.
    Section 11.20(b) would be revised to more clearly set forth 
conditions that may be imposed with discipline.
    Section 11.21 would be revised to update the reference to the 
``Mandatory Disciplinary Rules'' to read ``USPTO Rules of Professional 
Conduct.''
    Section 11.22 would be revised to change the title to 
``Disciplinary Investigations'' for clarification.
    Section 11.22(f)(2) would be revised to update the reference to the 
``Mandatory Disciplinary Rules'' to read ``USPTO Rules of Professional 
Conduct.''
    Section 11.22(i) would be revised to correct a technical error in 
the heading. Specifically, the reference to a warning letter in the 
heading could mistakenly be viewed as indicating that issuance of a 
warning means at least one of the conditions set forth in that section 
apply. Indeed, a warning may be issued in situations where, for 
example, there is sufficient evidence to conclude that there is 
probable cause to believe that grounds exist for discipline. However, 
in a situation where a potential violation of the disciplinary rules is 
minor in nature or was not willful, it often is in the interest of the 
Office, practitioners, and the public to resolve the matter with a 
warning rather than a formal disciplinary action.
    Section 11.24(e) would be revised to make a technical correction. 
Specifically, the previous reference to 37 CFR 10.23 would be updated 
to refer to new section 11.804.
    Section 11.25(a) would be revised to update the reference to the 
``Mandatory Disciplinary Rules'' to read ``USPTO Rules of Professional 
Conduct.''
    Section 11.32 would be revised to clarify that the Director of the 
Office of Enrollment and Discipline has the authority to exercise 
discretion in referring matters to the Committee on Discipline and in 
recommending settlement or issuing a warning in matters wherein the 
Committee on Discipline has made a probable cause determination. The 
section also would be revised to make a technical correction by 
deleting the reference to sections 11.19(b)(3) through (5), which do 
not exist.
    Section 11.34 would be revised to incorporate several technical 
corrections. Specifically, section 11.34(a) would be revised to 
eliminate an erroneous reference to section 11.25(b)(4). The 
requirements set forth in section 11.34 apply to complaints filed in 
disciplinary proceedings filed under sections 11.24, 11.25 and 11.32. 
The revision to section 11.34(a)(1) clarifies that an individual other 
than a ``practitioner'' may be a respondent. The revision to section 
11.34(b) updates the reference to the ``Mandatory Disciplinary Rules'' 
to read ``USPTO Rules of Professional Conduct.''
    Section 11.35(a)(2)(ii) and (a)(4)(ii) would be revised by changing 
the term ``a nonregistered practitioner'' to ``not registered.'' The 
section would now specify the service address for an individual subject 
to the Office's disciplinary jurisdiction who does not meet the 
definition of ``practitioner'' set forth in section 11.1.
    Section 11.54(a)(2) and (b) would be revised to clarify that an 
initial decision of the hearing officer may impose conditions deemed 
appropriate under the circumstances, and should explain the reason for 
probation and any conditions imposed with discipline.
    Section 11.58(b)(2) would be revised to update the reference to 
section 10.40 to refer to section 11.116.
    Section 11.58(f)(1)(ii) would be revised to update the reference to 
the ``Mandatory Disciplinary Rules'' to read ``USPTO Rules of 
Professional Conduct'' and to delete reference to section 10.20(b).
    Section 11.61 would be deleted and reserved. A savings clause would 
be added at the end of Part 11.

USPTO Rules of Professional Conduct

    Section 11.101 would address the requirement that practitioners 
provide competent representation to a client. Consistent with the 
provisions of 37 CFR 11.7, this rule acknowledges that competent 
representation in patent matters requires scientific and technical 
knowledge, skill, thoroughness and preparation as well as legal 
knowledge, skill, thoroughness and preparation, and otherwise 
corresponds to the ABA Model Rule of Professional Conduct 1.1.
    Section 11.102 would provide for the scope of representation of a 
client by a practitioner and the allocation of authority between the 
client and the practitioner. This section corresponds to the ABA Model 
Rule of Professional Conduct 1.2. However, the USPTO is declining to 
enact the substance of the last sentence of ABA Model Rule of 
Professional Conduct 1.2(a) as the USPTO does not regulate criminal law 
practice. Nonetheless, a patent attorney who engages in the practice of 
criminal law is subject to the disciplinary rules

[[Page 64193]]

of the appropriate State and Court authorities. Failure to comply with 
those rules may lead to disciplinary action against the practitioner 
and, in turn, possible reciprocal action against the practitioner by 
the USPTO. See 37 CFR 11.24 and 11.804(h). Moreover, the lack of a 
specific disciplinary rule concerning particular conduct should not be 
viewed as suggesting that the conduct would not violate one of the 
USPTO Rules of Professional Conduct.
    Section 11.102(b) is reserved as the USPTO is declining to enact a 
specific rule regarding a practitioner's endorsement of a client's view 
or activities. However, the USPTO is not implying that a practitioner's 
representation of a client constitutes an endorsement of the client's 
political, economic, social, or moral views or activities.
    Section 11.103 would address a practitioner's duty to act with 
reasonable diligence and promptness in representing a client. This rule 
corresponds to the ABA Model Rule of Professional Conduct 1.3.
    Section 11.104 would address the practitioner's duty to communicate 
with the client. This rule corresponds to the ABA Model Rule of 
Professional Conduct 1.4. As in prior Sec.  10.23(c)(8), under this 
rule a practitioner should not fail to timely and adequately inform a 
client or former client of correspondence received from the Office in a 
proceeding before the Office or from the client's or former client's 
opponent in an inter partes proceeding before the Office when the 
correspondence (i) could have a significant effect on a matter pending 
before the Office; (ii) is received by the practitioner on behalf of a 
client or former client; and (iii) is correspondence of which a 
reasonable practitioner would believe under the circumstances the 
client or former client should be notified.
    Section 11.105 would address the practitioner's responsibilities 
regarding fees. This rule corresponds to the ABA Model Rule of 
Professional Conduct 1.5. Nothing in paragraph (c) should be construed 
to prohibit practitioners gaining proprietary interests in patents 
under section 11.108(i)(3).
    Section 11.105(d) is reserved as the USPTO is declining to enact a 
specific rule regarding contingent fee arrangements for domestic 
relations and criminal matters.
    Section 11.106 would address the practitioner's responsibilities 
regarding maintaining confidentiality of information. This section 
generally corresponds to the ABA Model Rule of Professional Conduct 
1.6, but it includes exceptions in the case of inequitable conduct 
before the Office in addition to crimes and fraud.
    Section 11.106(b)(3) would state that a practitioner may reveal 
information relating to the representation of a client to the extent 
the practitioner reasonably believes necessary to prevent, mitigate or 
rectify substantial injury to the financial interests or property of 
another that is reasonably certain to result or has resulted from 
inequitable conduct before the Office.
    Section 11.106(c) would additionally provide that regardless of the 
confidentiality requirements of Section 11.106(a), a practitioner is 
required to disclose to the Office all information necessary to comply 
with the duty of disclosure rules of this subchapter in practice before 
the Office.
    Section 11.107 would prohibit a practitioner from representing a 
client if the representation involves a concurrent conflict of 
interest. This rule corresponds to the ABA Model Rule of Professional 
Conduct 1.7. See also, 37 CFR 10.66.
    Section 11.108 would address conflicts of interest for current 
clients and specific rules, including rules regarding practitioners 
entering into business transactions with clients, the use of 
information by a practitioner relating to representation of a client, 
gifts between the practitioner and a client, literary rights based on 
information relating to representation of a client, a practitioner's 
provision of financial assistance to the client, compensation for 
services by a third party, aggregate settlement of claims where the 
practitioner represents two or more clients in a similar matter, 
agreements between the client and practitioner limiting liability of 
the practitioner, and the practitioner's acquiring a proprietary 
interest in the matter. This rule corresponds to the ABA Model Rule of 
Professional Conduct 1.8.
    Section 11.108(e) would provide that a practitioner shall not 
provide financial assistance to a client in connection with pending or 
contemplated litigation or proceeding before the Office, except that a 
practitioner may advance court or tribunal costs and expenses of either 
litigation or a proceeding before the Office and a practitioner 
representing an indigent client may pay court or tribunal costs and 
expenses of litigation or a proceeding before the Office.
    Section 11.108(g) differs from ABA Model Rule of Professional 
Conduct 1.8(g) in that the USPTO is declining to enact the portion of 
the rule relating to representation of clients in criminal matters and 
the corresponding regulation of multiple clients agreeing to an 
aggregated agreement as to guilty or nolo contendere pleas.
    Section 11.108(i) differs from ABA Model Rule of Professional 
Conduct 1.8(i) in that the USPTO would provide that a practitioner may, 
in a patent case, take an interest in the patent as part or all of his 
or her fee. See 37 CFR 10.64(a)(3).
    Section 11.108(j) is reserved. The USPTO is declining to enact a 
rule that would specifically address sexual relations between 
practitioners and clients. Because of the fiduciary duty to clients, 
combining a professional relationship with any intimate personal 
relationship may raise concerns about conflict of interest and 
impairment of the judgment of both practitioner and client. To the 
extent warranted, such conduct may be investigated under more general 
provisions (e.g., 37 CFR 11.804).
    Section 11.109 would address conflicts of interest and duties to 
former clients. This rule corresponds to the ABA Model Rule of 
Professional Conduct 1.9.
    Section 11.110 would address the imputation of conflicts of 
interest for practitioners in the same firm. This rule corresponds to 
the ABA Model Rule of Professional Conduct 1.10.
    Section 11.111 would address former or current Federal Government 
employees. This rule deals with practitioners who leave public office 
and enter other employment. It applies to judges and their law clerks 
as well as to practitioners who act in other capacities. The USPTO is 
declining to enact ABA Model Rule of Professional Conduct 1.11 and is 
instead enacting its own rule regarding successive government and 
private employment, namely, that a practitioner who is a former or 
current Federal Government employee shall not engage in any conduct 
which is contrary to applicable Federal ethics laws, including conflict 
of interest statutes and regulations of the department, agency or 
commission formerly or currently employing said practitioner. See, 
e.g., 18 U.S.C. 207.
    A practitioner representing a government agency, whether employed 
or specially retained by the government, is subject to the USPTO Rules 
of Professional Conduct, including the prohibition against representing 
adverse interests stated in section 11.107 and the protections afforded 
former clients in section 11.109. In addition, such a practitioner is 
subject to this section and to statutes and regulations, as well as 
government policies, concerning conflicts of interest and other Federal 
ethics requirements.

[[Page 64194]]

    Section 11.112 would provide specific rules regarding the 
imputation of conflicts of interest for practitioners who were former 
judges, arbitrators, mediators or third-party neutrals. This rule 
corresponds to the ABA Model Rule of Professional Conduct 1.12.
    Section 11.113 would provide specific rules regarding a 
practitioner's responsibilities when representing an organization as a 
client. This rule corresponds to the ABA Model Rule of Professional 
Conduct 1.13.
    Section 11.114 would provide specific rules regarding a 
practitioner's responsibilities when representing a client with 
diminished capacity. This rule corresponds to the ABA Model Rule of 
Professional Conduct 1.14.
    Section 11.115 would provide specific rules regarding a 
practitioner's responsibilities regarding safekeeping of client 
property and maintenance of financial records. This rule corresponds to 
the ABA Model Rule of Professional Conduct 1.15.
    Section 11.115(a) would require that funds be kept in a separate 
client or third person account maintained in the state where the 
practitioner's office is situated, or elsewhere with the consent of the 
client or third person. The USPTO bar includes practitioners who are 
located outside the United States. The USPTO rules would propose that 
where the practitioner's office is situated in a foreign country, funds 
shall be kept in a separate account maintained in that foreign country 
or elsewhere with the consent of the client or third person. See also, 
37 CFR 10.112.
    Sections 11.115(b)-(e) correspond to the ABA Model Rules of 
Professional Conduct 1.15(b)-(e).
    Section 11.115(f) would require that the type of records specified 
by section 11.115(a) would include those records consistent with (i) 
the ABA Model Rules for Client Trust Account Records; (ii) for lawyer 
practitioners, the types of records that are maintained meet the 
recordkeeping requirements of a state in which the lawyer is licensed 
and in good standing, the recordkeeping requirements of the state where 
the lawyer's principal place of business is located, or the 
recordkeeping requirements of this section; and/or (iii) for patent 
agents and persons granted limited recognition who are employed in the 
United States by a law firm, the types of records that are maintained 
meet the recordkeeping requirements of the state where at least one 
lawyer of the law firm is licensed and in good standing, the 
recordkeeping requirements of the state where the law firm's principal 
place of business is located, or the recordkeeping requirements of this 
section. According to the ABA Standing Committee on Client Protection, 
the ABA Model Rules for Client Trust Account Records responds to a 
number of changes in banking and business practices that may have left 
lawyers ``inadvertently running afoul of their jurisdiction's rules of 
professional conduct.'' The new rule addresses recordkeeping 
requirements after electronic transfers and clarifies who can authorize 
such transfers. The proposed rule also accounts for the Check Clearing 
for the 21st Century Act, which allows banks to substitute electronic 
images of checks for canceled checks. The rule also addresses the 
increasing prevalence of electronic banking and wire transfers or 
electronic transfers of funds, for which banks do not routinely provide 
specific confirmation. The proposed rule acknowledges those issues, 
addressing recordkeeping requirements after electronic transfers and 
clarifying who can authorize such transfers, record maintenance and 
safeguards required for electronic record storage systems. The rule 
also details minimum safeguards practitioners must implement when they 
allow non-practitioner employees to access client trust accounts; 
addresses partner responsibilities for storage of and access to client 
trust account records when partnerships are dissolved or when a 
practice is sold; and allows practitioners to maintain client trust 
account records in electronic, photographic, computer or other media or 
paper format, either at the practitioner's office or at an off-site 
storage facility, but it requires that records stored off-site be 
readily accessible to the practitioner and that the practitioner be 
able to produce and print them upon request.
    Section 11.115(f) would require a practitioner to keep the same 
records as the practitioner must currently maintain to comply with 37 
CFR 10.112(c)(3). Section 10.112(c)(3) requires a practitioner to 
``maintain complete records of all funds, securities and other 
properties of a client coming into the possession of the 
practitioner.'' Section 10.112(c)(3) is substantially the same as DR 9-
102(b)(3) of the Model Code of Professional Responsibility of the 
American Bar Association, which was adopted by numerous states. It has 
been long recognized that compliance with the Code's rule requires 
maintenance of, inter alia, a cash receipts journal, a cash 
disbursements journal, and a subsidiary ledger, as well as periodic 
trial balances, and insufficient fund check reporting. See Wright v. 
Virginia State Bar, 357 SE.2d 518, 519 (Va. 1987); In re Librizzi, 569 
A.2d 257, 258-259 (N.J. 1990); In re Heffernan, 351 NW.2d 13, 14 (Minn. 
1984); In re Austin, 333 NW.2d 633, 634 (Minn. 1983); and In re 
Kennedy, 442 A.2d 79, 84-85 (Del. 1982). Thus, Sec.  11.115(f) 
clarifies recordkeeping requirements that currently apply to all 
practitioners through section 10.112(c)(3).
    Section 11.116 would provide rules regarding a practitioner's 
responsibilities in declining or terminating representation of a 
client. This rule corresponds to the ABA Model Rule of Professional 
Conduct 1.16.
    Section 11.117 would provide rules regarding a practitioner's 
responsibilities when buying or selling a law practice or an area of 
law practice, including good will. This rule corresponds to the ABA 
Model Rule of Professional Conduct 1.17.
    Section 11.117(b) differs from ABA Model Rule of Professional 
Conduct 1.17(b) in that the USPTO is proposing that to the extent the 
practice or the area of practice to be sold involves patent proceedings 
before the Office, that practice or area of practice may be sold only 
to one or more registered practitioners or law firms that includes at 
least one registered practitioner.
    Section 11.118 would provide rules regarding a practitioner's 
responsibilities to prospective clients. This rule corresponds to the 
ABA Model Rule of Professional Conduct 1.18.
    Sections 11.119-11.200 are reserved.
    Section 11.201 would provide a rule addressing the practitioner's 
role in providing advice to a client and corresponds to the ABA Model 
Rule of Professional Conduct 2.1. However, the USPTO is declining to 
enact the substance of the last sentence of ABA Model Rule of 
Professional Conduct 2.1, which provides that in representing a client, 
a practitioner may refer to not only legal considerations, but also 
other factors. However, by not enacting the last sentence of Rule 2.1, 
the USPTO is not implying that a practitioner may not refer to other 
considerations such as moral, economic, social and political factors 
that may be relevant to the client's situation.
    Section 11.202 is reserved. ABA Model Rule of Professional Conduct 
2.2 was deleted in 2002 as the ABA no longer treats intermediation and 
the conflict-of-interest issues it raises separately from any other 
multi-representation conflicts. Issues relating to practitioners acting 
as intermediaries are dealt with under Sec.  11.107.
    Section 11.203 would articulate the ethical standards for 
circumstances where a practitioner provides an

[[Page 64195]]

evaluation of a matter affecting a client for the use by a third party. 
This rule corresponds to the ABA Model Rule of Professional Conduct 
2.3. It should be noted that with respect to evaluation information 
under Sec.  11.203 a practitioner is required to disclose information 
in compliance with the duty of disclosures provisions of this 
subchapter subject to disclosure to the USPTO pursuant to Sec.  
11.106(c).
    Section 11.204 would provide a rule addressing the practitioner's 
role in serving as a third-party neutral, whether as an arbitrator, a 
mediator or in such other capacity, and corresponds to the ABA Model 
Rule of Professional Conduct 2.4.
    Sections 11.205-11.300 are reserved.
    Section 11.301 would require that a practitioner present well-
grounded positions. The advocate has a duty to use legal procedure for 
the fullest benefit of the client's cause. The advocate also has a duty 
not to abuse the legal procedure. This rule corresponds to the ABA 
Model Rule of Professional Conduct 3.1; however, the USPTO is declining 
to enact the ABA Model Rule requirement that a lawyer for the defendant 
in a criminal proceeding may defend the proceeding by requiring that 
every element of the case be established. The USPTO proposes deleting 
the specific reference because it is a professional conduct rule 
limited to the practice of criminal law.
    Section 11.302 would require that practitioners diligently pursue 
litigation and Office proceedings. This rule corresponds to the ABA 
Model Rule of Professional Conduct 3.2, adding that a practitioner 
shall make reasonable efforts to expedite proceedings before the Office 
as well as in litigated matters.
    Section 11.303 would continue the duty of candor to a tribunal 
while specifying its application under different situations, and 
corresponds to the ABA Model Rule of Professional Conduct 3.3. Section 
11.303(a)(2) sets forth the duty to disclose to the tribunal legal 
authority in the controlling jurisdiction known to the practitioner to 
be directly adverse to the position of the client and not disclosed by 
opposing counsel in an inter partes proceeding. It also sets forth this 
duty for an ex parte proceeding before the Office where the legal 
authority is not otherwise disclosed. All decisions made by the Office 
in patent and trademark matters affect the public interest. See Lear v. 
Adkins, 395 U.S. 653 (1969). Many of the decisions made by the Office 
are made ex parte. Accordingly, practitioners must cite to the Office 
known authority that is contrary, i.e., directly adverse, to the 
position being taken by the practitioner in good faith. Section 
11.303(a)(3) does not include a reference to testimony of a defendant 
in a criminal matter, as set forth in ABA Model Rule 3.3(a)(3).
    Section 11.303(e) would specify that in a proceeding before the 
Office, a practitioner must disclose information necessary to comply 
with the duty of disclosure provisions of this subchapter in practice 
before the Office. The practitioner's responsibility to present the 
client's case with persuasive force is qualified by the practitioner's 
duty of candor to the tribunal. See Lipman v. Dickinson, 174 F.3d 1363, 
50 USPQ2d 1490 (Fed. Cir. 1999).
    Section 11.304 would contemplate that evidence be marshaled fairly 
in a case before a tribunal, including in ex parte and inter partes 
proceedings before the Office. This rule corresponds to the ABA Model 
Rule of Professional Conduct 3.4, but it clarifies that the duties of 
the practitioner are not limited to trial matters but also to any 
proceeding before a tribunal.
    Section 11.305 would contemplate that practitioners act with 
impartiality and decorum in ex parte and inter partes proceedings. This 
rule corresponds to the ABA Model Rule of Professional Conduct 3.5, but 
it clarifies that it is improper to seek to improperly influence a 
hearing officer, administrative law judge, administrative patent judge, 
administrative trademark judge, employee or officer of the Office.
    Section 11.305(c) is reserved as the USPTO is declining to enact a 
specific rule regarding a practitioner's communication with a juror or 
prospective juror. Nonetheless, a practitioner who engages in the 
practice of improper communication with a juror or prospective juror is 
subject to criminal laws and the disciplinary rules of the appropriate 
State and Court authorities. Failure to comply with those laws and 
rules may lead to disciplinary action against the practitioner and, in 
turn, possible reciprocal action against the practitioner by the USPTO. 
See 37 CFR 11.24 and 11.804(h). Moreover, the lack of a specific 
disciplinary rule concerning particular conduct should not be viewed as 
suggesting that the conduct would not violate one or more of the USPTO 
Rules of Professional Conduct (e.g., Sec.  11.804).
    Section 11.306 is reserved as the USPTO is declining to enact a 
specific rule regarding trial publicity. Nonetheless, a practitioner 
who engages in improper conduct relating to trial publicity is subject 
to the disciplinary rules of the appropriate State and Court 
authorities. Failure to comply with those rules may lead to 
disciplinary action against the practitioner and, in turn, possible 
reciprocal action against the practitioner by the USPTO. See 37 CFR 
11.24 and 11.804(h). Moreover, the lack of a specific disciplinary rule 
concerning particular conduct should not be viewed as suggesting that 
the conduct would not violate one or more of the USPTO Rules of 
Professional Conduct (e.g., Sec.  11.804).
    Section 11.307 would generally proscribe a practitioner from acting 
as an advocate in a proceeding before the Office in which the 
practitioner is likely to be a necessary witness. Combining the roles 
of advocate and witness can prejudice the opposing party and can 
involve a conflict of interest between the practitioner and client. 
This rule corresponds to the ABA Model Rule of Professional Conduct 
3.7.
    Section 11.308 is reserved. ABA Model Rule of Professional Conduct 
3.8 addresses the ``Special Responsibilities of a Prosecutor'' in the 
context of criminal proceedings. Because practice before the Office 
does not involve criminal proceedings, the content of ABA Model Rule of 
Professional Conduct 3.8 is not being proposed. Nevertheless, an 
attorney who is both a practitioner before the Office and a criminal 
prosecutor may be subject to both the Office and other professional 
conduct rules. Discipline by a duly constituted authority of a State, 
the United States, or the country in which a practitioner resides may 
lead to reciprocal disciplinary action by the Office. See 37 CFR 11.24. 
Moreover, the lack of a specific disciplinary rule concerning 
particular conduct should not be viewed as suggesting that the conduct 
would not violate one or more of the USPTO Rules of Professional 
Conduct (e.g., Sec.  11.804).
    Section 11.309 would regulate a practitioner's conduct when he or 
she is representing a client in a non-adjudicative proceeding before an 
administrative agency, such as the Office. This rule corresponds to the 
ABA Model Rule of Professional Conduct 3.9.
    Sections 11.310-11.400 are reserved.
    Section 11.401 would require a practitioner to be truthful when 
dealing with others on a client's behalf. This rule corresponds to the 
ABA Model Rule of Professional Conduct 4.1.
    Section 11.402 would provide a standard for communicating with a 
represented party. Section 11.402(a) corresponds to the ABA Model Rule 
of Professional Conduct 4.2. Section 11.402(a) differs from ABA Model 
Rule of Professional Conduct 4.2 in that the proposed rule adds that in 
addition to

[[Page 64196]]

a practitioner being authorized to communicate with a represented party 
when the practitioner is authorized by law or a court order, a 
practitioner may communicate with a represented party when the 
practitioner is authorized by rule to do so.
    Section 11.402(b) is based on District of Columbia Rule of 
Professional Conduct 4.2(b) and would recognize that special 
considerations come into play when the Federal Government, including 
the Office, is involved in a lawsuit. It would permit communications 
with those in Government having the authority to redress such 
grievances (but not with other Government personnel) without the prior 
consent of the practitioner representing the Government in such cases. 
However, a practitioner making such a communication without the prior 
consent of the practitioner representing the Government must make the 
kinds of disclosures that are required by Sec.  11.402(b) in the case 
of communications with non-party employees.
    Section 11.402(b) does not permit a practitioner to bypass counsel 
representing the government on every issue that may arise in the course 
of disputes with the government. It is intended to provide 
practitioners access to decision makers in government with respect to 
genuine grievances, such as to present the view that the government's 
basic policy position with respect to a dispute is faulty, or that 
government personnel are conducting themselves improperly with respect 
to aspects of the dispute. It is not intended to provide direct access 
on routine disputes such as ordinary discovery disputes, extensions of 
time or other scheduling matters, or similar routine aspects of the 
resolution of disputes.
    Section 11.403 would provide a standard for communicating with an 
unrepresented person, particularly one not experienced in dealing with 
legal matters. This rule corresponds to the ABA Model Rule of 
Professional Conduct 4.3.
    Section 11.404 would require a practitioner to respect the rights 
of third parties. Responsibility to a client requires a practitioner to 
subordinate the interests of others to those of the client, but that 
responsibility does not imply that a practitioner may disregard the 
rights of third persons. The rule also provides guidance to 
practitioners regarding the receipt of inadvertently sent documents. 
This rule corresponds to the ABA Model Rule of Professional Conduct 
4.4.
    Sections 11.405-11.500 are reserved.
    Section 11.501 would set forth the responsibilities of a partner or 
supervisory practitioner. This rule corresponds to the ABA Model Rule 
of Professional Conduct 5.1.
    Section 11.502 would set forth the ethical and professional conduct 
responsibilities of a subordinate practitioner. This rule corresponds 
to the ABA Model Rule of Professional Conduct 5.2.
    Section 11.503 would set forth a practitioner's responsibilities 
regarding non-practitioner assistants. Practitioners generally employ 
assistants in their practice, including secretaries, technical 
advisors, student associates, draftspersons, investigators, law student 
interns, and paraprofessionals. This rule specifies the practitioner's 
responsibilities in supervising non-practitioner assistants and 
corresponds to the ABA Model Rule of Professional Conduct 5.3.
    Section 11.504 would protect the professional independence of a 
practitioner by providing traditional limitations on sharing fees with 
non-practitioners. This rule corresponds to the ABA Model Rule of 
Professional Conduct 5.4. (See also, 37 CFR 10.48, 10.49, 10.68)
    Section 11.504(a)(4) would differ from the ABA Model Rule in favor 
of District of Columbia Rule of Professional Conduct 5.4(a)(5). Section 
11.504(a)(4) permits a practitioner to share legal fees with a 
nonprofit organization that employed, retained, or recommended 
employment of the practitioner in the matter. A practitioner may decide 
to contribute all or part of legal fees recovered from the opposing 
party to the nonprofit organization. Such a contribution may or may not 
involve fee-splitting, but when it does, the prospect that the 
organization will obtain all or part of the practitioner's fees does 
not inherently compromise the practitioner's professional independence, 
whether the practitioner is employed by the organization or was only 
retained or recommended by it. A practitioner who has agreed to share 
legal fees with such an organization remains obligated to exercise 
professional judgment solely in the client's best interests. Moreover, 
fee-splitting in these circumstances may promote the financial 
viability of such nonprofit organizations and facilitate their public 
interest mission. Unlike the corresponding provision of the ABA Model 
Rules, this provision is not limited to sharing of fees awarded by a 
court because that restriction would significantly interfere with 
settlement of cases outside of court, without significantly advancing 
the purpose of the exception. To prevent abuse, it applies only if the 
nonprofit organization has been recognized by the Internal Revenue 
Service as an organization described in Section 501(c)(3) of the 
Internal Revenue Code.
    Section 11.505 would proscribe practitioners from engaging in or 
aiding the unauthorized practice of law. This rule corresponds to the 
ABA Model Rule of Professional Conduct 5.5(a). The USPTO is declining 
to adopt the ABA Model Rules regarding multijurisdictional practice of 
law.
    Limiting the practice of patent law before the Office to those 
recognized to practice protects the public against rendition of legal 
services by unqualified persons or organizations. A patent application 
is recognized as being a legal document and registration to practice 
before the USPTO sanctions ``the performance of those services which 
are reasonably necessary and incident to the preparation and 
prosecution of patent applications.'' Sperry v. Florida, 373 U.S. 379, 
386, 137 USPQ 578, 581 (1963). Thus, a registered practitioner may 
practice in patent matters before the Office regardless of where they 
reside within the United States.
    It is noted that the USPTO registers individuals, not law firms or 
corporations, to practice in patent matters before the Office. Thus, a 
corporation is not authorized to practice law and render legal 
services. Instead, upon request and for a fee, the corporation could 
cause a patent application to be prepared by a registered practitioner. 
See Lefkowitz v. Napatco, 415 NE.2d 916, 212 USPQ 617 (NY 1980). There 
are numerous cases and ethics opinions wherein attorneys have been 
found to have aided lay organizations in the unauthorized practice of 
law by agreeing to accept referrals from a non-lawyer engaged in 
unauthorized practice of law. For example, an attorney was found to 
have aided the unauthorized practice of law by permitting a non-
attorney operating as a business to gather data from estate planning 
clients for preparation of legal documents and forward the data to the 
attorney who thereafter prepared the documents (including a will, 
living trust, living will, and powers of attorney). The attorney, 
without having personally met or corresponded with the client, 
forwarded the documents to the non-attorney for the client to execute. 
See Wayne County Bar Ass'n. v. Naumoff, 660 NE.2d 1177 (Ohio 1996). See 
Comm. on Professional Ethics & Conduct v. Baker, 492 NW.2d 695,597 
(Iowa 1992); see also People v. Laden, 893 P.2d 771 (Colo. 1995);

[[Page 64197]]

People v. Macy, 789 P.2d 188 (Colo. 1990); People v. Boyles, 591 P.2d 
1315 (Colo. 1979); In re Discipio, 645 NE.2d 906 (Ill. 1994); In re 
Komar, 532 NE.2d 801 (Ill.1988); Formal Opinion 705, Committee on 
Professional Ethics of the Illinois State Bar Association (1982); 
Formal Opinion 1977-148, Standing Committee on Professional 
Responsibility and Conduct; Formal Opinion 87, Ethics Committee of the 
Colorado State Bar (1991).
    Section 11.505(b) would specifically proscribe practice before the 
Office in patent, trademark, or other non-patent law if a practitioner 
is suspended, excluded, or excluded on consent before the Office. The 
rule would also proscribe practice before the Office in patent, 
trademark, or other non-patent law if a practitioner has been 
transferred to disability inactive status before the Office, has been 
administratively suspended before the Office, or is administratively 
inactive before the Office.
    Section 11.505(c) would clarify that a practitioner is prohibited 
from assisting a person who is not a member of the bar of a 
jurisdiction in the performance of an activity that constitutes the 
unauthorized practice of law, and from assisting a person who is not 
registered to practice before the Office in patent matters in the 
unauthorized practice of law before the Office.
    Sections 11.505(d), like current Sec.  10.47(b), would clarify that 
a practitioner is prohibited from aiding a suspended or excluded 
practitioner in the practice of law before the Office.
    Sections 11.505(e) would provide that a practitioner is prohibited 
from aiding a suspended or excluded practitioner in the practice of law 
in any other jurisdiction.
    Section 11.505(f), consistent with Sec.  11.14(b), would recognize 
that individuals who are not attorneys but who were recognized to 
practice before the Office in trademark matters prior to January 1, 
1957, will continue to be recognized as agents to continue practice 
before the Office in trademark matters and such practice by those 
individuals is not the unauthorized practice of trademark law before 
the Office.
    Section 11.506 would prohibit agreements restricting rights to 
practice. This rule corresponds to the ABA Model Rule of Professional 
Conduct 5.6.
    Section 11.507 would provide for a practitioner being subject to 
the USPTO Rules of Professional Conduct if the practitioner provides 
law-related services. This rule corresponds to the ABA Model Rule of 
Professional Conduct 5.7. The definition of ``law-related service'' is 
set forth in Sec.  11.1.
    Sections 11.508-11.600 are reserved.
    Section 11.601-11.700 are reserved. The USPTO is declining to adopt 
the ABA Model Rules regarding public service. The USPTO recognizes that 
every practitioner, regardless of professional prominence or 
professional workload, has a responsibility to provide legal services 
to those unable to pay and that every practitioner should support all 
proper efforts to meet this need for legal services. However, attorney 
practitioners' individual state ethical rules should provide guidance 
and regulations regarding their respective duties to provide voluntary 
pro bono service, accept court appointed representation, and serve as 
members of legal service and legal reform organizations. The USPTO is 
declining to add an increased regulatory requirement on attorney 
practitioners.
    Section 11.701 would govern all communications about a 
practitioner's services, including advertising, and corresponds to the 
ABA Model Rule of Professional Conduct 7.1.
    Section 11.702 would provide for advertising by practitioners. This 
section corresponds to the ABA Model Rule of Professional Conduct 7.2. 
However, the USPTO is declining to enact the substance of ABA Model 
Rule of Professional Conduct 7.2(b)(2) as the USPTO does not currently 
regulate and does not anticipate regulating lawyer referral services.
    Section 11.703 would address the direct contact by a practitioner 
with a prospective client known to need legal services. This section 
corresponds to the ABA Model Rule of Professional Conduct 7.3.
    Section 11.704 would permit a practitioner to indicate areas of 
practice in communications about the practitioner's services. Section 
11.704(a) corresponds to the ABA Model Rule of Professional Conduct 
7.4(a).
    Section 11.704(b), as with current Sec.  10.34, would continue the 
long-established policy of the USPTO for the designation of 
practitioners practicing before the Office.
    Section 11.704(c) is reserved as the USPTO is declining to regulate 
the communication of specialization in Admiralty practice.
    Section 11.704(d) corresponds to the ABA Model Rule of Professional 
Conduct 7.4(d).
    Section 11.704(e) would provide guidance to, and permit, an 
individual granted limited recognition under Sec.  11.9 to use the 
designation ``Limited Recognition'' to indicate in communications about 
the individual's services that the individual, while not a ``registered 
practitioner,'' is authorized to practice before the USPTO in patent 
matters subject to the limitations in the individual's grant of limited 
recognition under Sec.  11.9.
    Section 11.705 would regulate firm names and letterheads. This 
section corresponds to the ABA Model Rule of Professional Conduct 7.5.
    Section 11.705(b) is reserved as the USPTO is declining to enact a 
specific rule regarding law firms with offices in more than one 
jurisdiction since the USPTO encompasses one Federal jurisdiction. 
However, the USPTO is not implying that a law firm with offices in more 
than one jurisdiction may violate a State authority regulating this 
conduct. Nonetheless, a practitioner who engages in the improper use of 
firm names and letterhead is subject to the disciplinary rules of the 
appropriate State and Court authorities. Failure to comply with those 
rules may lead to disciplinary action against the practitioner and, in 
turn, possible reciprocal action against the practitioner by the USPTO. 
See 37 CFR 11.24 and 11.804(h). Moreover, the lack of a specific 
disciplinary rule concerning particular conduct should not be viewed as 
suggesting that the conduct would not violate one or more of the USPTO 
Rules of Professional Conduct (e.g., Sec.  11.804).
    Section 11.705(d) is reserved. The USPTO declines to adopt ABA 
Model Rule of Professional Conduct 7.5(d) providing that practitioners 
may state or imply that they practice in a partnership or other 
organization only when that is the fact. However, the USPTO is not 
implying that practitioners may state or imply that they practice in a 
partnership or other organization if that is not the fact. Nonetheless, 
a practitioner who engages in the improper use of firm names and 
letterhead is subject to the disciplinary rules of the appropriate 
State and Court authorities. Failure to comply with those rules may 
lead to disciplinary action against the practitioner and, in turn, 
possible reciprocal action against the practitioner by the USPTO. See 
37 CFR 11.24 and 11.804(h). Moreover, the lack of a specific 
disciplinary rule concerning particular conduct should not be viewed as 
suggesting that the conduct would not violate one or more of the USPTO 
Rules of Professional Conduct (e.g., Sec.  11.804).
    Section 11.706 is reserved as the USPTO is declining to enact a 
specific rule regarding political contributions to obtain legal 
engagements or appointments by judges. However, the USPTO is not 
implying that a

[[Page 64198]]

practitioner or law firm may accept a government legal engagement or an 
appointment by a judge if the practitioner or law firm makes a 
political contribution or solicits political contributions for the 
purpose of obtaining or being considered for that type of legal 
engagement or appointment. Nonetheless, a practitioner who engages in 
this type of practice is subject to the disciplinary rules of the 
appropriate State and Court authorities. Failure to comply with those 
rules may lead to disciplinary action against the practitioner and, in 
turn, possible reciprocal action against the practitioner by the USPTO. 
See 37 CFR 11.24 and 11.804(h). Moreover, the lack of a specific 
disciplinary rule concerning particular conduct should not be viewed as 
suggesting that the conduct would not violate one or more of the USPTO 
Rules of Professional Conduct.
    Sections 11.707-11.800 are reserved.
    Section 11.801 would impose the same duty to persons seeking 
admission to a bar as well as to practitioners seeking registration or 
limited recognition. This section corresponds to the ABA Model Rule of 
Professional Conduct 8.1. This section would clarify that the section 
pertains to applicants for registration or an applicant for recognition 
to practice before the Office and would conform to current USPTO 
practice in Sec. Sec.  11.6, 11.7, 11.9, 11.14 and 11.58.
    If a person makes a material false statement in connection with an 
application for registration or recognition, it may be the basis for 
subsequent disciplinary action if the person is admitted, and in any 
event it may be relevant in a subsequent application. The duty imposed 
by Sec.  11.801 applies to a practitioner's own admission or discipline 
as well as that of others. Thus, it is a separate professional offense 
for a practitioner to knowingly make a misrepresentation or omission in 
connection with a disciplinary investigation of the practitioner's own 
conduct. Section 11.801 also requires affirmative clarification of any 
misunderstanding on the part of the admissions or disciplinary 
authority of which the person involved becomes aware. Moreover, Section 
11.801(d) requires practitioners to cooperate with the Office of 
Enrollment and Discipline in an investigation of any matter before it 
and would continue the practice set forth under former Sec.  10.131(b).
    Section 11.802 would require that a practitioner not make a 
statement that the practitioner knows to be false or with reckless 
disregard as to its truth or falsity concerning the qualifications or 
integrity of a judge, adjudicatory officer or public legal officer, or 
of a candidate for election or appointment to judicial or legal office. 
This section corresponds to the ABA Model Rule of Professional Conduct 
8.2. Government employees and officers such as administrative patent 
judges, administrative trademark judges, patent examiners, trademark 
examining attorneys, and petitions examiners, perform judicial and 
quasi-judicial functions. See, e.g., United States v. Morgan, 313 U.S. 
409 (1941); Western Electric Co. v. Piezo Technology, Inc., 860 F.2d 
428 (Fed. Cir. 1988) (``Patent examiners are quasi-judicial 
officials.''); see also, Butterworth v. United States ex rel. Hoe, 112 
U.S. 50, 67 (1884) (``That it was intended that the Commissioner of 
Patents, in issuing or withholding patents * * * should exercise quasi-
judicial functions, is apparent from the nature of the examinations and 
decision he is required to make.''); Chamberlin v. Isen, 779 F.2d 522, 
524 (9th Cir. 1985) (``[I]t has long been recognized that PTO employees 
perform a `quasi-judicial' function in examining patent 
applications.'') Such employees and officers are considered 
adjudicatory officers.
    Section 11.803 would require reporting a violation of the Rules of 
Professional Conduct. This section corresponds to the ABA Model Rule of 
Professional Conduct 8.3.
    Self-regulation of the legal profession requires that members of 
the profession seek a disciplinary investigation when they know of a 
violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct. Consistent with the 
current rule, Sec.  10.24(a), a report about misconduct may not be 
required where it would involve violation of Sec.  11.106(a). However, 
a practitioner should encourage a client to consent to disclosure where 
prosecution would not substantially prejudice the client's interests. 
Section 11.803(c) does not require disclosure of information otherwise 
protected by Sec.  11.106, or information gained while participating in 
an approved lawyers assistance program. It should be noted that the 
USPTO does not sanction any lawyer's assistance programs and the 
reference thereto in Sec.  11.803 is a reference to lawyer's assistance 
programs approved by a relevant state authority.
    Section 11.804 would address the practice of providing for 
discipline involving a variety of acts constituting misconduct. 
Sections 11.804(a)-(f) correspond to the ABA Model Rules of 
Professional Conduct 8.4(a)-(f), respectively. It is noted that Sec.  
10.23(c) of the current Patent and Trademark Office Code of 
Professional Responsibility sets forth specific examples of misconduct 
that constitute a violation of the rules. Because it is not possible to 
provide an exhaustive list of actions that constitute misconduct, 
Section 11.804 does not carry forward these specific examples into the 
USPTO Rules of Professional Conduct. The decision not to set forth 
specific examples of misconduct in the rule, however, should not be 
construed as an indication that the examples set forth in Sec.  
10.23(c) represent acceptable conduct under the USPTO Rules of 
Professional Conduct.
    Section 11.804(g) would specifically address knowing assistance to 
an officer or employee of the Office in conduct that is a violation of 
applicable rules of conduct or other law.
    Section 11.804(h) would clearly set forth that it is misconduct for 
a practitioner to be publicly disciplined on ethical grounds by any 
duly constituted authority of (1) a State, (2) the United States, or 
(3) the country in which the practitioner resides. See 37 CFR 11.24.
    Section 11.804(i) would clearly set forth that it continues to be 
misconduct for a practitioner to engage in conduct that adversely 
reflects on the practitioner's fitness to practice before the Office.
    Section 11.805 is reserved. The USPTO is declining to adopt the ABA 
Model Rule regarding disciplinary authority and choice of law. The 
disciplinary jurisdiction of the Office is set forth in section 11.19. 
The USPTO Director has statutory, 35 U.S.C. 2(b)(2)(D) and 32, and 
inherent authority to adopt rules regulating the practice of attorneys 
and other persons before the USPTO in patent, trademark, and non-patent 
law. The USPTO, like other Government agencies, has inherent authority 
to regulate who may practice before it as practitioners, including the 
authority to discipline practitioners. See Goldsmith v. U.S. Board of 
Tax Appeals, 270 U.S. 117 (1926); Herman v. Dulles, 205 F.2d 715 (D.C. 
Cir. 1953); and Koden v. U.S. Department of Justice, 564 F.2d 228 (7th 
Cir. 1977). Courts have affirmed that Congress, through the 
Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. 500, did not limit the inherent 
power of agencies to discipline professionals who appear or practice 
before them. See Polydoroff v. ICC, 773 F.2d 372 (D.C. Cir. 1985); 
Touche Ross & Co. v. SEC, 609 F.2d 570 (2d Cir. 1979).
    Sections 11.806-11.900 are reserved.
    Section 11.901 would contain the following savings clauses: (a) A 
disciplinary proceeding based on conduct engaged in prior to the 
effective

[[Page 64199]]

date of these regulations may be instituted subsequent to such 
effective date, if such conduct would continue to justify disciplinary 
sanctions under the provisions of this part; (b) No practitioner shall 
be subject to a disciplinary proceeding under this part based on 
conduct engaged in before the effective date hereof if such conduct 
would not have been subject to disciplinary action before such 
effective date.
    Section 41.5 would be revised to make a technical correction. 
Specifically, the previous reference to section 10.40 has been updated 
to refer to section 11.116.

       Table 1--Principal Source of Sections 11.101 Through 11.804
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                Section                         Principal source
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Sec.   11.101.........................  MRPC 1.1
Sec.   11.102.........................  MRPC 1.2
Sec.   11.103.........................  MRPC 1.3
Sec.   11.104.........................  MRPC 1.4
Sec.   11.105.........................  MRPC 1.5
Sec.   11.106(a)-(b)..................  MRPC 1.6(a)-(b)
Sec.   11.106(c)......................  USPTO
Sec.   11.107.........................  MRPC 1.7
Sec.   11.108.........................  MRPC 1.8
Sec.   11.109.........................  MRPC 1.9
Sec.   11.110.........................  MRPC 1.10
Sec.   11.111.........................  USPTO
Sec.   11.112.........................  MRPC 1.12
Sec.   11.113.........................  MRPC 1.13
Sec.   11.114.........................  MRPC 1.14
Sec.   11.115(a)-(e)..................  MRPC 1.15(a)-(e)
Sec.   11.115(f)(1)...................  MRCTAR Rule 1
Sec.   11.115(f)(2)...................  MRCTAR Rule 2
Sec.   11.115(f)(3)...................  MRCTAR Rule 3
Sec.   11.115(f)(4)-(5)...............  USPTO
Sec.   11.116.........................  MRPC 1.16
Sec.   11.117.........................  MRPC 1.17, USPTO
Sec.   11.118.........................  MRPC 1.18
Sec.   11.201.........................  MRPC 2.1
Sec.   11.203.........................  MRPC 2.3
Sec.   11.204.........................  MRPC 2.4
Sec.   11.301.........................  MRPC 3.1
Sec.   11.302.........................  MRPC 3.2
Sec.   11.303.........................  MRPC 3.3, USPTO
Sec.   11.304.........................  MRPC 3.4
Sec.   11.305.........................  MRPC 3.5
Sec.   11.307.........................  MRPC 3.7
Sec.   11.309.........................  MRPC 3.9
Sec.   11.401.........................  MRPC 4.1
Sec.   11.402(a)......................  MRPC 4.2(a)
Sec.   11.402(b)......................  DCRPR 4.2(b)
Sec.   11.403.........................  MRPC 4.3
Sec.   11.404.........................  MRPC 4.4
Sec.   11.501.........................  MRPC 5.1
Sec.   11.502.........................  MRPC 5.2
Sec.   11.503.........................  MRPC 5.3
Sec.   11.504.........................  MRPC 5.4; DCRPR 5.4(a)(5)
Sec.   11.505(a)......................  MRPC 5.5(a)
Sec.   11.505(b)......................  USPTO
Sec.   11.505(c)......................  USPTO
Sec.   11.505(d)......................  USPTO
Sec.   11.505(e)......................  USPTO
Sec.   11.505(f)......................  USPTO
Sec.   11.506.........................  MRPC 5.6
Sec.   11.507.........................  MRPC 5.7
Sec.   11.701.........................  MRPC 7.1
Sec.   11.702.........................  MRPC 7.2
Sec.   11.703.........................  MRPC 7.3
Sec.   11.704(a)......................  MRPC 7.4(a)
Sec.   11.704(b)......................  37 CFR 10.34
Sec.   11.704(d)......................  MRPC 7.4(d)
Sec.   11.704(e)......................  USPTO
Sec.   11.705.........................  MRPC 7.5
Sec.   11.801(a)-(c)..................  MRPC 8.1(a)-(b)
Sec.   11.801(d)......................  USPTO
Sec.   11.802.........................  MRPC 8.2
Sec.   11.803.........................  MRPC 8.3
Sec.   11.804(a)-(f)..................  MRPC 8.4(a)-(f)
Sec.   11.804(g)......................  37 CFR 10.23(c)(19),
                                         10.23(c)(20), 11.10(d)
Sec.   11.804(h)......................  37 CFR 10.23(c)(5), 11.24
Sec.   11.901.........................  USPTO
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Abbreviations:
DCRPR means the District of Columbia Court of Appeals Rules of
  Professional Conduct (2007).
MRPC means the Model Rules of Professional Conduct of the American Bar
  Association (2011).
MRCTAR means the Model Rules for Client Trust Account Records of the
  American Bar Association (2010).

Rulemaking Considerations

    Regulatory Flexibility Act: The Deputy General Counsel, United 
States Patent and Trademark Office, has certified to the Chief Counsel 
for Advocacy, Small Business Administration, that the changes in this 
notice of proposed rulemaking will not have a significant economic 
impact on a substantial number of small entities (Regulatory 
Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 605(b)).
    The primary effect of this rulemaking is not economic, but rather 
is to govern the conduct of practitioners in their interactions with 
their clients and with the Office.
    The provisions of this rulemaking that may have a slight economic 
effect, such as record-keeping requirements, requirements to segregate 
client funds, and rules governing representation of multiple entities, 
are consistent with the USPTO's current rules, with which practitioners 
currently must comply. The existing USPTO Code applies to the 
approximately 41,000 registered patent practitioners currently 
appearing before the Office, as well as licensed attorneys practicing 
in trademark and other non-patent matters before the Office.
    These proposed conduct rules continue the fundamental requirements 
of the Office's existing conduct rules. The existing rules have many 
broad canons and obligations that the proposed rules fundamentally 
continue, though with greater specificity and clarity, and with some 
reorganization. The proposed rules also have greater specificity and 
clarity as to allowed conduct. The proposed rules, like the existing 
rules, codify many obligations that already apply to the practice of 
law under professional and fiduciary duties owed to clients. Because 
the provisions most likely to have an economic effect are already in 
place, these provisions do not contribute to the economic impact of 
this rulemaking.
    Furthermore, for most practitioners, this rulemaking will reduce 
the economic impact of complying with the Office's professional 
responsibility requirements. Approximately 75 percent of registered 
practitioners are attorneys. The state bars of 50 U.S. jurisdictions 
have adopted rules based on the same ABA Model Rules on which these 
proposed rules are based. Therefore, for most current and prospective 
practitioners, the proposed rules would provide practitioners greater 
uniformity and familiarity with their professional conduct obligations 
before the Office and would harmonize the requirements to practice law 
before the Office and other jurisdictions. Moreover, for some 
provisions of this rulemaking, such as the record-keeping requirements 
in Sec.  11.115(f)(4) and (f)(5), the rules explicitly state that an 
attorney or agent (employed in the U.S. by a law firm) that complies 
with the state in which he or she practices will be deemed in 
compliance with the Office's requirements, as well. Accordingly, this 
rulemaking streamlines many practitioners' obligations and thus reduces 
the administrative burden of compliance.
    Accordingly, this rulemaking does not have a significant economic 
effect on a substantial number of small entities.
    Executive Order 12866: This notice of proposed rulemaking has been 
determined to be not significant for purposes of Executive Order 12866 
(September 30, 1993).
    Executive Order 13563 (Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review): 
The Office has complied with Executive Order 13563. Specifically, the 
Office has, to the extent feasible and applicable: (1) Made a reasoned 
determination that the benefits justify the costs of the rule; (2) 
tailored the rule to impose the least burden on society consistent with 
obtaining the regulatory objectives; (3) selected a regulatory approach 
that maximizes net benefits; (4) specified performance objectives; (5) 
identified and assessed available alternatives; (6) involved the public 
in an open exchange of information and perspectives among experts in 
relevant disciplines, affected stakeholders in the

[[Page 64200]]

private sector and the public as a whole, and provided on-line access 
to the rulemaking docket; (7) attempted to promote coordination, 
simplification and harmonization across government agencies and 
identified goals designed to promote innovation; (8) considered 
approaches that reduce burdens and maintain flexibility and freedom of 
choice for the public; and (9) ensured the objectivity of scientific 
and technological information and processes.
    Executive Order 13132: This notice of proposed rulemaking does not 
contain policies with federalism implications sufficient to warrant 
preparation of a Federalism Assessment under Executive Order 13132 
(August 4, 1999).
    Executive Order 13175 (Tribal Consultation): This rulemaking will 
not: (1) Have substantial direct effects on one or more Indian tribes; 
(2) impose substantial direct compliance costs on Indian tribal 
governments; or (3) preempt tribal law. Therefore, a tribal summary 
impact statement is not required under Executive Order 13175 (Nov. 6, 
2000).
    Executive Order 13211 (Energy Effects): This rulemaking is not a 
significant energy action under Executive Order 13211 because this 
rulemaking is not likely to have a significant adverse effect on the 
supply, distribution, or use of energy. Therefore, a Statement of 
Energy Effects is not required under Executive Order 13211 (May 18, 
2001).
    Executive Order 12988 (Civil Justice Reform): This rulemaking meets 
applicable standards to minimize litigation, eliminate ambiguity, and 
reduce burden as set forth in sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) of Executive 
Order 12988 (Feb. 5, 1996).
    Executive Order 13045 (Protection of Children): This rulemaking 
does not concern an environmental risk to health or safety that may 
disproportionately affect children under Executive Order 13045 (Apr. 
21, 1997).
    Executive Order 12630 (Taking of Private Property): This rulemaking 
will not effect a taking of private property or otherwise have taking 
implications under Executive Order 12630 (Mar. 15, 1988).
    Congressional Review Act: Under the Congressional Review Act 
provisions of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 
1996 (5 U.S.C. 801 et seq.), prior to issuing any final rule, the 
United States Patent and Trademark Office will submit a report 
containing the final rule and other required information to the U.S. 
Senate, the U.S. House of Representatives and the Comptroller General 
of the Government Accountability Office. The changes in this notice are 
not expected to result in an annual effect on the economy of 100 
million dollars or more, a major increase in costs or prices, or 
significant adverse effects on competition, employment, investment, 
productivity, innovation, or the ability of United States-based 
enterprises to compete with foreign-based enterprises in domestic and 
export markets. Therefore, this notice is not expected to result in a 
``major rule'' as defined in 5 U.S.C. 804(2).
    Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995: The changes in this notice do 
not involve a Federal intergovernmental mandate that will result in the 
expenditure by State, local, and tribal governments, in the aggregate, 
of 100 million dollars (as adjusted) or more in any one year, or a 
Federal private sector mandate that will result in the expenditure by 
the private sector of 100 million dollars (as adjusted) or more in any 
one year, and will not significantly or uniquely affect small 
governments. Therefore, no actions are necessary under the provisions 
of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995. See 2 U.S.C. 1501 et seq.
    National Environmental Policy Act: This rulemaking will not have 
any effect on the quality of environment and is thus categorically 
excluded from review under the National Environmental Policy Act of 
1969. See 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.
    National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act: The requirements 
of section 12(d) of the National Technology Transfer and Advancement 
Act of 1995 (15 U.S.C. 272 note) are not applicable because this 
rulemaking does not contain provisions which involve the use of 
technical standards.
    Paperwork Reduction Act: This notice of proposed rulemaking 
involves information collection requirements which are subject to 
review by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) under the Paperwork 
Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA) (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.). Collection of 
information activities involved in this notice of proposed rulemaking 
have been reviewed and previously approved by OMB under OMB control 
number 0651-0017.
    The title, description, and respondent description of the currently 
approved information collection 0651-0017 are shown below with an 
estimate of the annual reporting burdens. Included in this estimate is 
the time for gathering and maintaining the data needed, and completing 
and reviewing the collection of information. The principal impact of 
the changes in this notice of proposed rulemaking is to registered 
practitioners and attorneys practicing before the Office in trademark 
and other non-patent matters.
    OMB Number: 0651-0017.
    Title: Practitioner Records Maintenance and Disclosure Before the 
Patent and Trademark Office.
    Form Numbers: None.
    Affected Public: Individuals or households, businesses or other 
for-profit, not-for-profit institutions, Federal Government, and state, 
local, or tribal governments.
    Estimated Number of Likely Respondents: 10,726.
    Estimated Total Annual Burden Hours: 11,126 hours.
    Needs and Uses: The information in this collection is necessary for 
the United States Patent and Trademark Office to implement Federal 
statutes and regulations. See 35 U.S.C. 2(b)(2)(D) and 35 U.S.C. 32. 
These rules will require that registered practitioners and attorneys 
who appear before the Office maintain complete records of clients, 
including all funds, securities and other properties of clients coming 
into his/her possession, and render appropriate accounts to the client 
regarding such records, as well as report violations of the rules to 
the Office. Practitioners are mandated by the rules to maintain proper 
documentation so that they can fully cooperate with an investigation in 
the event of a report of an alleged violation and that violations are 
prosecuted as appropriate. The Office has determined that the record 
keeping and maintenance of such records are excluded from any 
associated PRA burden as these activities are usual and customary for 
practitioners representing clients. 5 CFR 1320.3(b)(2). Additionally, 
in the case of most attorney practitioners, any requirements for 
collection of information are not presumed to impose a Federal burden 
as these requirements are also required by a unit of State or local 
government, namely State bar(s), and would be required even in the 
absence of any Federal requirement.
    5 CFR 1320.3(b)(3). These rules also require, in certain instances, 
that written consents or certifications be provided. Such consents or 
certifications have been determined not to constitute information under 
5 CFR 1320.3(h)(1).
    First, the Office estimates that it will take an individual or 
organization approximately three hours, on average, to gather, prepare 
and submit an initial grievance alleging and supporting a violation of 
professional conduct. The Office estimates that approximately 200 
grievances will be received annually

[[Page 64201]]

from such respondents. The requirements of 5 CFR Part 1320 do not apply 
to collections of information by the Office during the conduct of an 
investigation involving a potential violation of Office professional 
conduct rules. 5 CFR 1320.4(a)(2). Second, the Office estimates that 
non-attorney practitioners may, on average, incur a total of thirty 
minutes of annual burden to notify senders of documents relating to the 
representation of a client that were inadvertently sent. Proposed 37 
CFR 11.404(b). Third, the Office estimates that non-attorney 
practitioners, may, on average, incur a total of thirty minutes of 
annual burden to comply with the proposed Sec.  11.703(c) disclosure 
requirements relating to soliciting professional employment. Of the 
approximately 41,000 registered practitioners, 10,526 are non-attorneys 
and therefore considered likely respondents under the PRA for purposes 
of this information collection.
    Comments are invited on: (1) Whether the collection of information 
is necessary for proper performance of the functions of the agency; (2) 
the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden; (3) ways to 
enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be 
collected; and (4) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of 
information to respondents.
    Interested persons are requested to send comments regarding these 
information collections, including suggestions for reducing this 
burden, to William R. Covey, Deputy General Counsel for Enrollment and 
Discipline and Director of the Office of Enrollment and Discipline, 
United States Patent and Trademark Office, P.O. Box 1450, Alexandria, 
Virginia 22313-1450, or to the Office of Information and Regulatory 
Affairs of OMB, New Executive Office Building, 725 17th Street, NW., 
Room 10235, Washington, DC 20503, Attention: Desk Officer for the 
United States Patent and Trademark Office.
    Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no person is required 
to respond to nor shall a person be subject to a penalty for failure to 
comply with a collection of information subject to the requirements of 
the Paperwork Reduction Act unless that collection of information 
displays a currently valid OMB control number.

List of Subjects

37 CFR Part 1

    Administrative practice and procedure, Courts, Freedom of 
information, Inventions and patents, Reporting and recordkeeping 
requirements, Small businesses.

37 CFR Parts 2 and 7

    Administrative practice and procedure, Trademarks.

37 CFR Part 10

    Administrative practice and procedure, Inventions and patents, 
Lawyers, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

37 CFR Part 11

    Administrative practice and procedure, Inventions and patents, 
Lawyers, Reporting and recordkeeping requirements.

    For the reasons set forth in the preamble, under the authority of 
35 U.S.C. 2(b)(2)(A) and (D), 35 U.S.C. 32, the United States Patent 
and Trademark Office proposes to amend 37 CFR Parts 1, 2, 7, 10, 11, 
and 41 as follows:

PART 1--RULES OF PRACTICE IN PATENT CASES

    1. The authority citation for 37 CFR Part 1 continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority:  35 U.S.C. 2(b)(2), unless otherwise noted.

    2. Section 1.4 is amended to revise paragraph (d)(4)(i) to read as 
follows:


Sec.  1.4  Nature of correspondence and signature requirements.

* * * * *
    (d) * * *
    (4) Certifications. (i) Section 11.18 certifications: The 
presentation to the Office (whether by signing, filing, submitting, or 
later advocating) of any paper by a party, whether a practitioner or 
non-practitioner, constitutes a certification under Sec.  11.18(b) of 
this subchapter. Violations of Sec.  11.18(b)(2) of this subchapter by 
a party, whether a practitioner or non-practitioner, may result in the 
imposition of sanctions under Sec.  11.18(c) of this subchapter. Any 
practitioner violating Sec.  11.18(b) of this subchapter may also be 
subject to disciplinary action. See Sec.  11.18(d) of this subchapter.
* * * * *
    3. Section 1.21 is amended to remove and reserve paragraphs (a)(7) 
and (a)(8) to read as follows:


Sec.  1.21  Miscellaneous fees and charges.

* * * * *
    (a) * * *
    (7)-(8) [Reserved]
* * * * *

PART 2--RULES OF PRACTICE IN TRADEMARK CASES

    4. The authority citation for 37 CFR Part 2 continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority:  15 U.S.C. 1123, 35 U.S.C. 2, unless otherwise noted.

    5. Section 2.2 is amended to revise paragraph (c) to read as 
follows:


Sec.  2.2  Definitions.

* * * * *
    (c) Director as used in this chapter, except for part 11, means the 
Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of 
the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
* * * * *

PART 7--RULES OF PRACTICE IN FILINGS PURSUANT TO THE PROTOCOL 
RELATING TO THE MADRID AGREEMENT CONCERNING THE INTERNATIONAL 
REGISTRATION OF MARKS

    6. The authority citation for 37 CFR Part 7 continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority:  15 U.S.C. 1123, 35 U.S.C. 2, unless otherwise noted.

    7. Section 7.25 is amended to revise paragraph (a) to read as 
follows:


Sec.  7.25  Sections of part 2 applicable to extension of protection.

    (a) Except for Sec. Sec.  2.22-2.23, 2.130-2.131, 2.160-2.166, 
2.168, 2.173, 2.175, 2.181-2.186 and 2.197, all sections in part 2 and 
all sections in part 11 of this chapter shall apply to an extension of 
protection of an international registration to the United States, 
including sections related to proceedings before the Trademark Trial 
and Appeal Board, unless otherwise stated.
* * * * *

PART 10 [Removed and reserved]

    8. Part 10 is removed and reserved.

PART 11--REPRESENTATION OF OTHERS BEFORE THE UNITED STATES PATENT 
AND TRADEMARK OFFICE

    9. The authority citation for 37 CFR Part 11 continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority:  5 U.S.C. 500, 15 U.S.C. 1123, 35 U.S.C. 2(b)(2), 32, 
41.

    10. Amend Sec.  11.1 to remove the definitions of ``mandatory 
disciplinary rule'' and ``matter;'' revise the definitions of ``fraud 
or fraudulent'' and ``practitioner;'' and add in alphabetical order the 
definitions of ``confirmed in writing,'' ``firm or law firm,'' 
``informed consent,'' ``law related services,'' ``partner,'' 
``person,'' ``reasonable belief or reasonably believes,'' ``reasonably 
should know,'' ``screened,'' ``tribunal'' and ``writing or written'' as 
follows:

[[Page 64202]]

Sec.  11.1  Definitions.

* * * * *
    Confirmed in writing, when used in reference to the informed 
consent of a person, means informed consent that is given in writing by 
the person or a writing that a practitioner promptly transmits to the 
person confirming an oral informed consent. If it is not feasible to 
obtain or transmit the writing at the time the person gives informed 
consent, then the practitioner must obtain or transmit it within a 
reasonable time thereafter.
* * * * *
    Firm or law firm means a practitioner or practitioners in a law 
partnership, professional corporation, sole proprietorship or other 
association authorized to practice law; or practitioners employed in a 
legal services organization or the legal department of a corporation or 
other organization.
* * * * *
    Fraud or fraudulent means conduct that involves a misrepresentation 
of material fact made with intent to deceive or a state of mind so 
reckless respecting consequences as to be the equivalent of intent, 
where there is justifiable reliance on the misrepresentation by the 
party deceived, inducing the party to act thereon, and where there is 
injury to the party deceived resulting from reliance on the 
misrepresentation. Fraud also may be established by a purposeful 
omission or failure to state a material fact, which omission or failure 
to state makes other statements misleading, and where the other 
elements of justifiable reliance and injury are established.
* * * * *
    Informed consent means the agreement by a person to a proposed 
course of conduct after the practitioner has communicated adequate 
information and explanation about the material risks of and reasonably 
available alternatives to the proposed course of conduct.
* * * * *
    Law-related services means services that might reasonably be 
performed in conjunction with and in substance are related to the 
provision of legal services, and that are not prohibited as 
unauthorized practice of law when provided by a non-lawyer.
* * * * *
    Partner means a member of a partnership, a shareholder in a law 
firm organized as a professional corporation, or a member of an 
association authorized to practice law.
    Person means an individual, a corporation, an association, a trust, 
a partnership, and any other organization or legal entity.
    Practitioner means:
    (1) An attorney or agent registered to practice before the Office 
in patent matters,
    (2) An individual authorized under 5 U.S.C. 500(b) or otherwise as 
provided by Sec.  11.14(a), (b), and (c) of this subchapter, to 
practice before the Office in trademark matters or other non-patent 
matters, or
    (3) An individual authorized to practice before the Office in a 
patent case or matters under Sec.  11.9(a) or (b).
* * * * *
    Reasonable belief or reasonably believes when used in reference to 
a practitioner means that the practitioner believes the matter in 
question and that the circumstances are such that the belief is 
reasonable.
    Reasonably should know when used in reference to a practitioner 
means that a practitioner of reasonable prudence and competence would 
ascertain the matter in question.
* * * * *
    Screened means the isolation of a practitioner from any 
participation in a matter through the timely imposition of procedures 
within a firm that are reasonably adequate under the circumstances to 
protect information that the isolated practitioner is obligated to 
protect under these USPTO Rules of Professional Conduct or other law.
* * * * *
    Tribunal means the Office, a court, an arbitrator in a binding 
arbitration proceeding or a legislative body, administrative agency or 
other body acting in an adjudicative capacity. A legislative body, 
administrative agency or other body acts in an adjudicative capacity 
when a neutral official, after the presentation of evidence or legal 
argument by a party or parties, will render a binding legal judgment 
directly affecting a party's interests in a particular matter.
* * * * *
    Writing or written means a tangible or electronic record of a 
communication or representation, including handwriting, typewriting, 
printing, photostating, photography, audio or video recording and 
email. A ``signed'' writing includes an electronic sound, symbol or 
process attached to or logically associated with a writing and executed 
or adopted by a person with the intent to sign the writing.
    11. Revise Sec.  11.2(c), (d) and (e) to read as follows:


Sec.  11.2  Director of the Office of Enrollment and Discipline.

* * * * *
    (c) Petition to OED Director regarding enrollment or recognition. 
Any petition from any action or requirement of the staff of OED 
reporting to the OED Director shall be taken to the OED Director 
accompanied by payment of the fee set forth in Sec.  1.21(a)(5)(i) of 
this chapter. Any such petition not filed within sixty days from the 
mailing date of the action or notice from which relief is requested 
will be dismissed as untimely. The filing of a petition will neither 
stay the period for taking other action which may be running, nor stay 
other proceedings. The petitioner may file a single request for 
reconsideration of a decision within thirty days of the date of the 
decision. Filing a request for reconsideration stays the period for 
seeking review of the OED Director's decision until a final decision on 
the request for reconsideration is issued.
    (d) Review of OED Director's decision regarding enrollment or 
recognition. A party dissatisfied with a final decision of the OED 
Director regarding enrollment or recognition shall seek review of the 
decision upon petition to the USPTO Director accompanied by payment of 
the fee set forth in Sec.  1.21(a)(5)(ii) of this chapter. By filing 
such petition to the USPTO Director, the party waives any right to seek 
reconsideration from the OED Director. Any petition not filed within 
thirty days after the final decision of the OED Director may be 
dismissed as untimely. Briefs or memoranda, if any, in support of the 
petition shall accompany the petition. The petition will be decided on 
the basis of the record made before the OED Director. The USPTO 
Director in deciding the petition will consider no new evidence. Copies 
of documents already of record before the OED Director shall not be 
submitted with the petition. An oral hearing will not be granted except 
when considered necessary by the USPTO Director. Any request for 
reconsideration of the decision of the USPTO Director may be dismissed 
as untimely if not filed within thirty days after the date of said 
decision. Only a decision of the USPTO Director regarding denial of a 
petition constitutes a final decision for the purpose of judicial 
review.
    (e) Petition to USPTO Director in disciplinary matters. A party 
dissatisfied with any action or notice of any employee of the Office of 
Enrollment and Discipline during or at the conclusion of a disciplinary 
investigation shall seek review of the action or notice upon petition 
to the OED Director. A petition from any action or notice of the staff 
reporting to the OED Director shall be taken to the OED Director. A 
party dissatisfied with

[[Page 64203]]

the OED Director's final decision shall seek review of the final 
decision upon petition to the USPTO Director to invoke the supervisory 
authority of the USPTO Director in appropriate circumstances in 
disciplinary matters. Any petition under this paragraph must contain a 
statement of the facts involved and the point or points to be reviewed 
and the action requested. Briefs or memoranda, if any, in support of 
the petition must accompany the petition. Where facts are to be proven, 
the proof in the form of affidavits or declarations (and exhibits, if 
any) must accompany the petition. The OED Director may be directed by 
the USPTO Director to file a reply to the petition to the USPTO 
Director, supplying a copy to the petitioner. An oral hearing on 
petition taken to the USPTO Director will not be granted except when 
considered necessary by the USPTO Director. The filing of a petition 
under this paragraph will not stay an investigation, disciplinary 
proceeding, or other proceedings. Any petition under this part not 
filed within thirty days of the mailing date of the action or notice 
from which relief is requested may be dismissed as untimely. Any 
request for reconsideration of the decision of the OED Director or the 
USPTO Director may be dismissed as untimely if not filed within thirty 
days after the date of said decision. Only a decision of the USPTO 
Director regarding denial of a petition constitutes a final decision 
for the purpose of judicial review.
    12. Remove and reserve Sec.  11.8(d) to read as follows:


Sec.  11.8  Oath and registration fee.

* * * * *
    (d) [Reserved]
    13. Revise Sec.  11.11(a), (b), and (c), remove and reserve 
paragraphs (d)(2) and (d)(4), and revise paragraphs (d)(5), (d)(6), and 
(e) to read as follows:


Sec.  11.11  Administrative suspension, inactivation, resignation, and 
readmission.

    (a) Contact information. (1) A registered practitioner must notify 
the OED Director of his or her postal address for his or her office, up 
to three email addresses where he or she receives email, and business 
telephone number, as well as every change to any of said addresses or 
telephone numbers within thirty days of the date of the change. A 
registered practitioner shall, in addition to any notice of change of 
address and telephone number filed in individual patent applications, 
separately file written notice of the change of address or telephone 
number to the OED Director. A registered practitioner who is an 
attorney in good standing with the bar of the highest court of one or 
more States shall provide the OED Director with the State bar 
identification number associated with each membership. The OED Director 
shall publish from the roster a list containing the name, postal 
business addresses, business telephone number, registration number, and 
registration status as an attorney or agent of each registered 
practitioner recognized to practice before the Office in patent cases.
    (2) A letter may be addressed to any registered practitioner, at 
the address of which separate notice was last received by the OED 
Director, for the purpose of ascertaining whether such practitioner 
desires to remain on the register. Any registered practitioner failing 
to reply and give any information requested by the OED Director within 
a time limit specified will be subject to administrative suspension 
under paragraph (b) of this section.
    (b) Administrative suspension. (1) Whenever it appears that a 
registered practitioner or a person granted limited recognition under 
Sec.  11.9(b) has failed to comply with Sec.  11.8(d) or paragraph 
(a)(2) of this section, the OED Director shall publish and send a 
notice to the registered practitioner or person granted limited 
recognition advising of the noncompliance, the consequence of being 
administratively suspended under paragraph (b)(5) of this section if 
noncompliance is not timely remedied, and the requirements for 
reinstatement under paragraph (f) of this section. The notice shall be 
published and sent to the registered practitioner or person granted 
limited recognition by mail to the last postal address furnished under 
paragraph (a) of this section or by email addressed to the last email 
addresses furnished under paragraph (a) of this section. The notice 
shall demand compliance and payment of a delinquency fee set forth in 
Sec.  1.21(a)(9)(i) of this subchapter within sixty days after the date 
of such notice.
    (2) In the event a registered practitioner or person granted 
limited recognition fails to comply with the notice of paragraph (b)(1) 
of this section within the time allowed, the OED Director shall publish 
and send in the manner provided for in paragraph (b)(1) of this section 
to the registered practitioner or person granted limited recognition a 
Rule to Show Cause why his or her registration or recognition should 
not be administratively suspended, and he or she no longer be permitted 
to practice before the Office in patent matters or in any way hold 
himself or herself out as being registered or authorized to practice 
before the Office in patent matters. The OED Director shall file a copy 
of the Rule to Show Cause with the USPTO Director.
    (3) Within 30 days of the OED Director's sending the Rule to Show 
Cause identified in paragraph (b)(2) of this section, the registered 
practitioner or person granted limited recognition may file a response 
to the Rule to Show Cause with the USPTO Director. The response must 
set forth the factual and legal bases why the person should not be 
administratively suspended. The registered practitioner or person 
granted limited recognition shall serve the OED Director with a copy of 
the response at the time it is filed with the USPTO Director. Within 
ten days of receiving a copy of the response, the OED Director may file 
a reply with the USPTO Director that includes documents demonstrating 
that the notice identified in paragraph (b)(1) of this section was 
published and sent to the practitioner in accordance with paragraph 
(b)(1) of this section. A copy of the reply by the OED Director shall 
be served on the registered practitioner or person granted limited 
recognition. When acting on the Rule to Show Cause, if the USPTO 
Director determines that there are no genuine issues of material fact 
regarding the Office's compliance with the notice requirements under 
this section or the failure of the person to pay the requisite fees, 
the USPTO Director shall enter an order administratively suspending the 
registered practitioner or person granted limited recognition. 
Otherwise, the USPTO Director shall enter an appropriate order 
dismissing the Rule to Show Cause. Nothing herein shall permit an 
administratively suspended registered practitioner or person granted 
limited recognition to seek a stay of the administrative suspension 
during the pendency of any review of the USPTO Director's final 
decision.
    (4) [Reserved]
    (5) An administratively suspended registered practitioner or person 
granted limited recognition is subject to investigation and discipline 
for his or her conduct prior to, during, or after the period he or she 
was administratively suspended.
    (6) An administratively suspended registered practitioner or person 
granted limited recognition is prohibited from practicing before the 
Office in patent cases while administratively suspended. A registered 
practitioner or person granted limited recognition who knows he or she 
has been administratively suspended under this section will be subject 
to discipline for failing to comply with the provisions of this 
paragraph (b).

[[Page 64204]]

    (c) Administrative inactivation. (1) Any registered practitioner 
who shall become employed by the Office shall comply with Sec.  11.116 
for withdrawal from the applications, patents, and trademark matters 
wherein he or she represents an applicant or other person, and notify 
the OED Director in writing of said employment on the first day of said 
employment. The name of any registered practitioner employed by the 
Office shall be endorsed on the roster as administratively inactive. 
Upon separation from the Office, the administratively inactive 
practitioner may request reactivation by completing and filing an 
application, Data Sheet, signing a written undertaking required by 
Sec.  11.10, and paying the fee set forth in Sec.  1.21(a)(1)(i) of 
this subchapter. An administratively inactive practitioner remains 
subject to the provisions of the USPTO Rules of Professional Conduct 
and to proceedings and sanctions under Sec. Sec.  11.19 through 11.58 
for conduct that violates a provision of the USPTO Rules of 
Professional Conduct prior to or during employment at the Office. If, 
within 30 days after separation from the Office, the registered 
practitioner does not request active status or another status, the 
registered practitioner will be endorsed on the roster as voluntarily 
inactive and be subject to the provisions of paragraph (d) of this 
section.
    (2) Any registered practitioner who is a judge of a court of 
record, full-time court commissioner, U.S. bankruptcy judge, U.S. 
magistrate judge, or a retired judge who is eligible for temporary 
judicial assignment and is not engaged in the practice of law may 
request, in writing, that his or her name be endorsed on the roster as 
administratively inactive. Upon acceptance of the request, the OED 
Director shall endorse the name of the practitioner as administratively 
inactive. Following separation from the bench, the practitioner may 
request restoration to active status by completing and filing an 
application, Data Sheet, and signing a written undertaking required by 
Sec.  11.10.
    (d) * * *
    (2) [Reserved]
* * * * *
    (4) [Reserved]
    (5) A registered practitioner in voluntary inactive status is 
prohibited from practicing before the Office in patent cases while in 
voluntary inactive status. A registered practitioner in voluntary 
inactive status will be subject to discipline for failing to comply 
with the provisions of this paragraph. Upon acceptance of the request 
for voluntary inactive status, the practitioner must comply with the 
provisions of Sec.  11.116.
    (6) Any registered practitioner whose name has been endorsed as 
voluntarily inactive pursuant to paragraph (d)(1) of this section and 
is not under investigation and not subject to a disciplinary proceeding 
may be restored to active status on the register as may be appropriate 
provided that the practitioner files a written request for restoration, 
a completed application for registration on a form supplied by the OED 
Director furnishing all requested information and material, including 
information and material pertaining to the practitioner's moral 
character and reputation under Sec.  11.7(a)(2)(i) during the period of 
inactivation, a declaration or affidavit attesting to the fact that the 
practitioner has read the most recent revisions of the patent laws and 
the rules of practice before the Office, and pays the fees set forth in 
Sec. Sec.  1.21(a)(7)(iii) and (iv) of this subchapter.
    (e) Resignation. A registered practitioner or a practitioner 
recognized under Sec.  11.14(c), who is not under investigation under 
Sec.  11.22 for a possible violation of the USPTO Rules of Professional 
Conduct, subject to discipline under Sec. Sec.  11.24 or 11.25, or a 
practitioner against whom probable cause has been found by a panel of 
the Committee on Discipline under Sec.  11.23(b), may resign by 
notifying the OED Director in writing that he or she desires to resign. 
Upon acceptance in writing by the OED Director of such notice, that 
registered practitioner or practitioner under Sec.  11.14 shall no 
longer be eligible to practice before the Office in patent matters but 
shall continue to file a change of address for five years thereafter in 
order that he or she may be located in the event information regarding 
the practitioner's conduct comes to the attention of the OED Director 
or any grievance is made about his or her conduct while he or she 
engaged in practice before the Office. The name of any registered 
practitioner whose resignation is accepted shall be removed from the 
register, endorsed as resigned, and notice thereof published in the 
Official Gazette. Upon acceptance of the resignation by the OED 
Director, the registered practitioner must comply with the provisions 
of Sec.  11.116.
* * * * *
    14. Revise Sec.  11.19(a) and (b)(1)(iv) to read as follows:


Sec.  11.19  Disciplinary jurisdiction; Jurisdiction to transfer to 
disability inactive status.

    (a) All practitioners engaged in practice before the Office; all 
practitioners administratively suspended; all practitioners registered 
to practice before the Office in patent cases; all practitioners 
inactivated; all practitioners authorized under Sec.  11.6(d) to take 
testimony; and all practitioners transferred to disability inactive 
status, reprimanded, suspended, or excluded from the practice of law by 
a duly constituted authority, including by the USPTO Director, are 
subject to the disciplinary jurisdiction of the Office. Practitioners 
who have resigned shall also be subject to such jurisdiction with 
respect to conduct undertaken prior to the resignation and conduct in 
regard to any practice before the Office following the resignation. A 
person not registered or recognized to practice before the Office is 
also subject to the disciplinary authority of the Office if the person 
provides or offers to provide any legal services before the Office.
    (b) * * *
    (1) * * *
    (iv) Violation of any USPTO Rule of Professional Conduct; or
* * * * *
    15. Revise Sec.  11.20(a)(4) and (b) to read as follows:


Sec.  11.20  Disciplinary sanctions; Transfer to disability inactive 
status.

    (a) * * *
    (4) Probation. Probation may be imposed in lieu of or in addition 
to any other disciplinary sanction. Any conditions of probation shall 
be stated in writing in the order imposing probation. The order shall 
also state whether, and to what extent, the practitioner shall be 
required to notify clients of the probation. Violation of any condition 
of probation shall be cause for imposition of the disciplinary 
sanction. Imposition of the disciplinary sanction predicated upon 
violation of probation shall occur only after an order to show cause 
why the disciplinary sanction should not be imposed is resolved 
adversely to the practitioner.
    (b) Conditions imposed with discipline. When imposing discipline, 
the USPTO Director may condition reinstatement upon the practitioner 
making restitution, successfully completing a professional 
responsibility course or examination, or any other condition deemed 
appropriate under the circumstances.
* * * * *
    16. Revise Sec.  11.21 to read as follows:


Sec.  11.21  Warnings.

    A warning is neither public nor a disciplinary sanction. The OED 
Director may conclude an investigation with the issuance of a warning. 
The warning shall contain a brief statement of facts and USPTO Rules of 
Professional Conduct relevant to the facts.

[[Page 64205]]

    17. In Sec.  11.22 revise the section heading, paragraph (f)(2), 
and the introductory text of paragraph (i) to read as follows:


Sec.  11.22  Disciplinary investigations.

* * * * *
    (f) * * *
    (2) The OED Director may request information and evidence regarding 
possible grounds for discipline of a practitioner from a non-grieving 
client either after obtaining the consent of the practitioner or upon a 
finding by a Contact Member of the Committee on Discipline, appointed 
in accordance with Sec.  11.23(d), that good cause exists to believe 
that the possible ground for discipline alleged has occurred with 
respect to non-grieving clients. Neither a request for, nor disclosure 
of, such information shall constitute a violation of any USPTO Rules of 
Professional Conduct.
* * * * *
    (i) Closing investigation. The OED Director shall terminate an 
investigation and decline to refer a matter to the Committee on 
Discipline if the OED Director determines that:
* * * * *
    18. Revise Sec.  11.24(e) to read as follows:


Sec.  11.24  Reciprocal discipline.

* * * * *
    (e) Adjudication in another jurisdiction or Federal agency or 
program. In all other respects, a final adjudication in another 
jurisdiction or Federal agency or program that a practitioner, whether 
or not admitted in that jurisdiction, has been guilty of misconduct 
shall establish a prima facie case by clear and convincing evidence 
that the practitioner has engaged in misconduct under Sec.  11.804.
* * * * *
    19. Revise Sec.  11.25(a) to read as follows:


Sec.  11.25  Interim suspension and discipline based upon conviction of 
committing a serious crime.

    (a) Notification of OED Director. Upon being convicted of a crime 
in a court of the United States, any State, or a foreign country, a 
practitioner subject to the disciplinary jurisdiction of the Office 
shall notify the OED Director in writing of the same within thirty days 
from the date of such conviction. Upon being advised or learning that a 
practitioner subject to the disciplinary jurisdiction of the Office has 
been convicted of a crime, the OED Director shall make a preliminary 
determination whether the crime constitutes a serious crime warranting 
interim suspension. If the crime is a serious crime, the OED Director 
shall file with the USPTO Director proof of the conviction and request 
the USPTO Director to issue a notice and order set forth in paragraph 
(b)(2) of this section. The OED Director shall in addition, without 
Committee on Discipline authorization, file with the USPTO Director a 
complaint against the practitioner complying with Sec.  11.34 
predicated upon the conviction of a serious crime. If the crime is not 
a serious crime, the OED Director shall process the matter in the same 
manner as any other information or evidence of a possible violation of 
any USPTO Rule of Professional Conduct coming to the attention of the 
OED Director.
* * * * *
    20. Revise Sec.  11.32 to read as follows:


Sec.  11.32  Instituting a disciplinary proceeding.

    If after conducting an investigation under Sec.  11.22(a), the OED 
Director is of the opinion that grounds exist for discipline under 
Sec.  11.19(b), the OED Director, after complying where necessary with 
the provisions of 5 U.S.C. 558(c), may convene a meeting of a panel of 
the Committee on Discipline. If convened, the panel of the Committee on 
Discipline shall then determine as specified in Sec.  11.23(b) whether 
there is probable cause to bring disciplinary charges. If the panel of 
the Committee on Discipline determines that probable cause exists to 
bring charges, the OED Director may institute a disciplinary proceeding 
by filing a complaint under Sec.  11.34.
    21. In Sec.  11.34 revise the introductory text of paragraph (a), 
and paragraphs (a)(1) and (b) to read as follows:


Sec.  11.34  Complaint.

    (a) A complaint instituting a disciplinary proceeding shall:
    (1) Name the person who is the subject of the complaint who may 
then be referred to as the ``respondent'';
* * * * *
    (b) A complaint will be deemed sufficient if it fairly informs the 
respondent of any grounds for discipline, and where applicable, the 
USPTO Rules of Professional Conduct that form the basis for the 
disciplinary proceeding so that the respondent is able to adequately 
prepare a defense.
* * * * *
    22. Revise Sec.  11.35(a)(2)(ii) and (a)(4)(ii) to read as follows:


Sec.  11.35  Service of complaint.

    (a) * * *
    (2) * * *
    (ii) A respondent who is not registered at the last address for the 
respondent known to the OED Director.
* * * * *
    (4) * * *
    (ii) A respondent who is not registered at the last address for the 
respondent known to the OED Director.
* * * * *
    23. In Sec.  11.54 revise paragraph (a)(2) and the introductory 
text of paragraph (b) to read as follows:


Sec.  11.54  Initial decision of hearing officer.

    (a) * * *
    (2) An order of default judgment, of suspension or exclusion from 
practice, of reprimand, of probation or an order dismissing the 
complaint. The order also may impose any conditions deemed appropriate 
under the circumstances. The hearing officer shall transmit a copy of 
the decision to the OED Director and to the respondent. After issuing 
the decision, the hearing officer shall transmit the entire record to 
the OED Director. In the absence of an appeal to the USPTO Director, 
the decision of the hearing officer, including a default judgment, 
will, without further proceedings, become the decision of the USPTO 
Director thirty days from the date of the decision of the hearing 
officer.
    (b) The initial decision of the hearing officer shall explain the 
reason for any default judgment, reprimand, suspension, exclusion, or 
probation, and shall explain any conditions imposed with discipline. In 
determining any sanction, the following four factors must be considered 
if they are applicable:
* * * * *
    24. In Sec.  11.58 revise the introductory text of paragraph (b)(2) 
and paragraph (f)(1)(ii) to read as follows:


Sec.  11.58  Duties of disciplined or resigned practitioner, or 
practitioner on disability inactive status.

* * * * *
    (b) * * *
    (2) Within forty-five days after entry of the order of suspension, 
exclusion, or of acceptance of resignation, the practitioner shall file 
with the OED Director an affidavit of compliance certifying that the 
practitioner has fully complied with the provisions of the order, this 
section, and with Sec.  11.116 for withdrawal from representation. 
Appended to the affidavit of compliance shall be:
* * * * *
    (f) * * *
    (1) * * *
    (ii) Shows by clear and convincing evidence that the excluded, 
suspended

[[Page 64206]]

or resigned practitioner, or practitioner transferred to disability 
inactive status has complied with the provisions of this section and 
all USPTO Rules of Professional Conduct; and
* * * * *


Sec.  11.61  [Removed and reserved]

    25. Section 11.61 is removed and reserved.
    26. Part 11 is amended to add Subpart D to read as follows:
Subpart D--USPTO Rules of Professional Conduct
11.100 [Reserved]

Client-Practitioner Relationship

11.101 Competence.
11.102 Scope of representation and allocation of authority between 
client and practitioner.
11.103 Diligence.
11.104 Communication.
11.105 Fees.
11.106 Confidentiality of information.
11.107 Conflict of interest: Current clients.
11.108 Conflict of interest: Current clients: Specific rules.
11.109 Duties to former clients.
11.110 Imputation of conflicts of interest: General rule.
11.111 Former or current Federal Government employees.
11.112 Former judge, arbitrator, mediator or other third-party 
neutral.
11.113 Organization as client.
11.114 Client with diminished capacity.
11.115 Safekeeping property.
11.116 Declining or terminating representation.
11.117 Sale of law practice.
11.118 Duties to prospective client.
11.119-11.200 [Reserved]

Counselor

11.201 Advisor.
11.202 [Reserved]
11.203 Evaluation for use by third persons.
11.204 Practitioner serving as third-party neutral.
11.205-11.300 [Reserved]

Advocate

11.301 Meritorious claims and contentions.
11.302 Expediting proceedings.
11.303 Candor toward the tribunal.
11.304 Fairness to opposing party and counsel.
11.305 Impartiality and decorum of the tribunal.
11.306 [Reserved]
11.307 Practitioner as witness.
11.308 [Reserved]
11.309 Advocate in nonadjudicative proceedings.
11.310-11.400 [Reserved]

Transactions With Persons Other Than Clients

11.401 Truthfulness in statements to others.
11.402 Communication with person represented by a practitioner.
11.403 Dealing with unrepresented person.
11.404 Respect for rights of third persons.
11.405-11.500 [Reserved]

Law Firms and Associations

11.501 Responsibilities of partners, managers, and supervisory 
practitioners.
11.502 Responsibilities of a subordinate practitioner.
11.503 Responsibilities regarding non-practitioner assistants.
11.504 Professional independence of a practitioner.
11.505 Unauthorized practice of law.
11.506 Restrictions on right to practice.
11.507 Responsibilities regarding law-related services.
11.508-11.700 [Reserved]

Information About Legal Services

11.701 Communications concerning a practitioner's services.
11.702 Advertising.
11.703 Direct contact with prospective clients.
11.704 Communication of fields of practice and specialization.
11.705 Firm names and letterheads.
11.706-11.800 [Reserved]

Maintaining the Integrity of the Profession

11.801 Registration, recognition and disciplinary matters.
11.802 Judicial and legal officials.
11.803 Reporting professional misconduct.
11.804 Misconduct.
11.805-11.900 [Reserved]
11.901 Savings clause.

Subpart D--USPTO Rules of Professional Conduct


Sec.  11.100  [Reserved]

Client-Practitioner Relationship


Sec.  11.101  Competence.

    A practitioner shall provide competent representation to a client. 
Competent representation requires the legal, scientific, and technical 
knowledge, skill, thoroughness and preparation reasonably necessary for 
the representation.


Sec.  11.102  Scope of representation and allocation of authority 
between client and practitioner.

    (a) Subject to paragraphs (c) and (d) of this section, a 
practitioner shall abide by a client's decisions concerning the 
objectives of representation and, as required by Sec.  11.104, shall 
consult with the client as to the means by which they are to be 
pursued. A practitioner may take such action on behalf of the client as 
is impliedly authorized to carry out the representation. A practitioner 
shall abide by a client's decision whether to settle a matter.
    (b) [Reserved].
    (c) A practitioner may limit the scope of the representation if the 
limitation is reasonable under the circumstances and the client gives 
informed consent.
    (d) A practitioner shall not counsel a client to engage, or assist 
a client, in conduct that the practitioner knows is criminal or 
fraudulent, but a practitioner may discuss the legal consequences of 
any proposed course of conduct with a client and may counsel or assist 
a client to make a good-faith effort to determine the validity, scope, 
meaning or application of the law.


Sec.  11.103  Diligence.

    A practitioner shall act with reasonable diligence and promptness 
in representing a client.


Sec.  11.104  Communication.

    (a) A practitioner shall:
    (1) Promptly inform the client of any decision or circumstance with 
respect to which the client's informed consent is required by the USPTO 
Rules of Professional Conduct;
    (2) Reasonably consult with the client about the means by which the 
client's objectives are to be accomplished;
    (3) Keep the client reasonably informed about the status of the 
matter;
    (4) Promptly comply with reasonable requests for information from 
the client; and
    (5) Consult with the client about any relevant limitation on the 
practitioner's conduct when the practitioner knows that the client 
expects assistance not permitted by the USPTO Rules of Professional 
Conduct or other law.
    (b) A practitioner shall explain a matter to the extent reasonably 
necessary to permit the client to make informed decisions regarding the 
representation.


Sec.  11.105  Fees.

    (a) A practitioner shall not make an agreement for, charge, or 
collect an unreasonable fee or an unreasonable amount for expenses. The 
factors to be considered in determining the reasonableness of a fee 
include the following:
    (1) The time and labor required, the novelty and difficulty of the 
questions involved, and the skill requisite to perform the legal 
service properly;
    (2) The likelihood, if apparent to the client, that the acceptance 
of the particular employment will preclude other employment by the 
practitioner;
    (3) The fee customarily charged in the locality for similar legal 
services;
    (4) The amount involved and the results obtained;
    (5) The time limitations imposed by the client or by the 
circumstances;
    (6) The nature and length of the professional relationship with the 
client;
    (7) The experience, reputation, and ability of the practitioner or 
practitioners performing the services; and

[[Page 64207]]

    (8) Whether the fee is fixed or contingent.
    (b) The scope of the representation and the basis or rate of the 
fee and expenses for which the client will be responsible shall be 
communicated to the client, preferably in writing, before or within a 
reasonable time after commencing the representation, except when the 
practitioner will charge a regularly represented client on the same 
basis or rate. Any changes in the basis or rate of the fee or expenses 
shall also be communicated to the client.
    (c) A fee may be contingent on the outcome of the matter for which 
the service is rendered, except in a matter in which a contingent fee 
is prohibited by law. A contingent fee agreement shall be in a writing 
signed by the client and shall state the method by which the fee is to 
be determined, including the percentage or percentages that shall 
accrue to the practitioner in the event of settlement, trial or appeal; 
litigation and other expenses to be deducted from the recovery; and 
whether such expenses are to be deducted before or after the contingent 
fee is calculated. The agreement must clearly notify the client of any 
expenses for which the client will be liable whether or not the client 
is the prevailing party. Upon conclusion of a contingent fee matter, 
the practitioner shall provide the client with a written statement 
stating the outcome of the matter and, if there is a recovery, showing 
the remittance to the client and the method of its determination.
    (d) [Reserved].
    (e) A division of a fee between practitioners who are not in the 
same firm may be made only if:
    (1) The division is in proportion to the services performed by each 
practitioner or each practitioner assumes joint responsibility for the 
representation;
    (2) The client agrees to the arrangement, including the share each 
practitioner will receive, and the agreement is confirmed in writing; 
and
    (3) The total fee is reasonable.


Sec.  11.106  Confidentiality of information.

    (a) A practitioner shall not reveal information relating to the 
representation of a client unless the client gives informed consent, 
the disclosure is impliedly authorized in order to carry out the 
representation, the disclosure is permitted by paragraph (b) of this 
section, or the disclosure is required by paragraph (c) of this 
section.
    (b) A practitioner may reveal information relating to the 
representation of a client to the extent the practitioner reasonably 
believes necessary:
    (1) To prevent reasonably certain death or substantial bodily harm;
    (2) To prevent the client from committing a crime, fraud, or 
inequitable conduct before the Office that is reasonably certain to 
result in substantial injury to the financial interests or property of 
another and in furtherance of which the client has used or is using the 
practitioner's services;
    (3) To prevent, mitigate or rectify substantial injury to the 
financial interests or property of another that is reasonably certain 
to result or has resulted from the client's commission of a crime, 
fraud, or inequitable conduct before the Office in furtherance of which 
the client has used the practitioner's services;
    (4) To secure legal advice about the practitioner's compliance with 
the USPTO Rules of Professional Conduct;
    (5) To establish a claim or defense on behalf of the practitioner 
in a controversy between the practitioner and the client, to establish 
a defense to a criminal charge or civil claim against the practitioner 
based upon conduct in which the client was involved, or to respond to 
allegations in any proceeding concerning the practitioner's 
representation of the client; or
    (6) To comply with other law or a court order.
    (c) A practitioner shall disclose to the Office information 
necessary to comply with applicable duty of disclosure provisions.


Sec.  11.107  Conflict of interest: Current clients.

    (a) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this section, a 
practitioner shall not represent a client if the representation 
involves a concurrent conflict of interest. A concurrent conflict of 
interest exists if:
    (1) The representation of one client will be directly adverse to 
another client; or
    (2) There is a significant risk that the representation of one or 
more clients will be materially limited by the practitioner's 
responsibilities to another client, a former client or a third person 
or by a personal interest of the practitioner.
    (b) Notwithstanding the existence of a concurrent conflict of 
interest under paragraph (a) of this section, a practitioner may 
represent a client if:
    (1) The practitioner reasonably believes that the practitioner will 
be able to provide competent and diligent representation to each 
affected client;
    (2) The representation is not prohibited by law;
    (3) The representation does not involve the assertion of a claim by 
one client against another client represented by the practitioner in 
the same litigation or other proceeding before a tribunal; and
    (4) Each affected client gives informed consent, confirmed in 
writing.


Sec.  11.108  Conflict of interest: Current clients: Specific rules.

    (a) A practitioner shall not enter into a business transaction with 
a client or knowingly acquire an ownership, possessory, security or 
other pecuniary interest adverse to a client unless:
    (1) The transaction and terms on which the practitioner acquires 
the interest are fair and reasonable to the client and are fully 
disclosed and transmitted in writing in a manner that can be reasonably 
understood by the client;
    (2) The client is advised in writing of the desirability of seeking 
and is given a reasonable opportunity to seek the advice of independent 
legal counsel in the transaction; and
    (3) The client gives informed consent, in a writing signed by the 
client, to the essential terms of the transaction and the 
practitioner's role in the transaction, including whether the 
practitioner is representing the client in the transaction.
    (b) A practitioner shall not use information relating to 
representation of a client to the disadvantage of the client unless the 
client gives informed consent, except as permitted or required by the 
USPTO Rules of Professional Conduct.
    (c) A practitioner shall not solicit any substantial gift from a 
client, including a testamentary gift, or prepare on behalf of a client 
an instrument giving the practitioner or a person related to the 
practitioner any substantial gift unless the practitioner or other 
recipient of the gift is related to the client. For purposes of this 
paragraph, related persons include a spouse, child, grandchild, parent, 
grandparent or other relative or individual with whom the practitioner 
or the client maintains a close, familial relationship.
    (d) Prior to the conclusion of representation of a client, a 
practitioner shall not make or negotiate an agreement giving the 
practitioner literary or media rights to a portrayal or account based 
in substantial part on information relating to the representation.
    (e) A practitioner shall not provide financial assistance to a 
client in connection with pending or contemplated litigation, except 
that:

[[Page 64208]]

    (1) A practitioner may advance court costs and expenses of 
litigation, the repayment of which may be contingent on the outcome of 
the matter; and
    (2) A practitioner representing an indigent client may pay court 
costs and expenses of litigation on behalf of the client.
    (f) A practitioner shall not accept compensation for representing a 
client from one other than the client unless:
    (1) The client gives informed consent;
    (2) There is no interference with the practitioner's independence 
of professional judgment or with the client-practitioner relationship; 
and
    (3) Information relating to representation of a client is protected 
as required by Sec.  11.106.
    (g) A practitioner who represents two or more clients shall not 
participate in making an aggregate settlement of the claims of or 
against the clients, unless each client gives informed consent, in 
writing signed by the client. The practitioner's disclosure shall 
include the existence and nature of all the claims involved and of the 
participation of each person in the settlement.
    (h) A practitioner shall not:
    (1) Make an agreement prospectively limiting the practitioner's 
liability to a client for malpractice unless the client is 
independently represented in making the agreement; or
    (2) Settle a claim or potential claim for such liability with an 
unrepresented client or former client unless that person is advised in 
writing of the desirability of seeking and is given a reasonable 
opportunity to seek the advice of independent legal counsel in 
connection therewith.
    (i) A practitioner shall not acquire a proprietary interest in the 
cause of action, subject matter of litigation, or a proceeding before 
the Office which the practitioner is conducting for a client, except 
that the practitioner may:
    (1) Acquire a lien authorized by law to secure the practitioner's 
fee or expenses;
    (2) Contract with a client for a reasonable contingent fee in a 
civil case; and
    (3) In a patent case or a proceeding before the Office, take an 
interest in the patent as part or all of his or her fee.
    (j) [Reserved].
    (k) While practitioners are associated in a firm, a prohibition in 
paragraphs (a) through (i) of this section that applies to any one of 
them shall apply to all of them.


Sec.  11.109  Duties to former clients.

    (a) A practitioner who has formerly represented a client in a 
matter shall not thereafter represent another person in the same or a 
substantially related matter in which that person's interests are 
materially adverse to the interests of the former client unless the 
former client gives informed consent, confirmed in writing.
    (b) A practitioner shall not knowingly represent a person in the 
same or a substantially related matter in which a firm with which the 
practitioner formerly was associated had previously represented a 
client
    (1) Whose interests are materially adverse to that person; and
    (2) About whom the practitioner had acquired information protected 
by Sec. Sec.  11.106 and 11.109(c) that is material to the matter;

unless the former client gives informed consent, confirmed in writing.
    (c) A practitioner who has formerly represented a client in a 
matter or whose present or former firm has formerly represented a 
client in a matter shall not thereafter:
    (1) Use information relating to the representation to the 
disadvantage of the former client except as the USPTO Rules of 
Professional Conduct would permit or require with respect to a client, 
or when the information has become generally known; or
    (2) Reveal information relating to the representation except as the 
USPTO Rules of Professional Conduct would permit or require with 
respect to a client.


Sec.  11.110  Imputation of conflicts of interest: General rule.

    (a) While practitioners are associated in a firm, none of them 
shall knowingly represent a client when any one of them practicing 
alone would be prohibited from doing so by Sec. Sec.  11.107 or 11.109, 
unless
    (1) The prohibition is based on a personal interest of the 
disqualified practitioner and does not present a significant risk of 
materially limiting the representation of the client by the remaining 
practitioners in the firm; or
    (2) The prohibition is based upon Sec.  11.109(a) or (b), and 
arises out of the disqualified practitioner's association with a prior 
firm, and
    (i) The disqualified practitioner is timely screened from any 
participation in the matter and is apportioned no part of the fee 
therefrom;
    (ii) Written notice is promptly given to any affected former client 
to enable the former client to ascertain compliance with the provisions 
of this section, which shall include a description of the screening 
procedures employed; a statement of the firm's and of the screened 
practitioner's compliance with the USPTO Rules of Professional Conduct; 
a statement that review may be available before a tribunal; and an 
agreement by the firm to respond promptly to any written inquiries or 
objections by the former client about the screening procedures; and
    (iii) Certifications of compliance with the USPTO Rules of 
Professional Conduct and with the screening procedures are provided to 
the former client by the screened practitioner and by a partner of the 
firm, at reasonable intervals upon the former client's written request 
and upon termination of the screening procedures.
    (b) When a practitioner has terminated an association with a firm, 
the firm is not prohibited from thereafter representing a person with 
interests materially adverse to those of a client represented by the 
formerly associated practitioner and not currently represented by the 
firm, unless:
    (1) The matter is the same or substantially related to that in 
which the formerly associated practitioner represented the client; and
    (2) Any practitioner remaining in the firm has information 
protected by Sec. Sec.  11.106 and 11.109(c) that is material to the 
matter.
    (c) A disqualification prescribed by this section may be waived by 
the affected client under the conditions stated in Sec.  11.107.
    (d) The disqualification of practitioners associated in a firm with 
former or current Federal Government lawyers is governed by Sec.  
11.111.


Sec.  11.111  Former or current Federal Government employees.

    A practitioner who is a former or current Federal Government 
employee shall not engage in any conduct which is contrary to 
applicable Federal ethics law, including conflict of interest statutes 
and regulations of the department, agency or commission formerly or 
currently employing said practitioner.


Sec.  11.112  Former judge, arbitrator, mediator or other third-party 
neutral.

    (a) Except as stated in paragraph (d) of this section, a 
practitioner shall not represent anyone in connection with a matter in 
which the practitioner participated personally and substantially as a 
judge or other adjudicative officer or law clerk to such a person or as 
an arbitrator, mediator or other third-party neutral, unless all 
parties to the proceeding give informed consent, confirmed in writing.
    (b) A practitioner shall not negotiate for employment with any 
person who is involved as a party or as practitioner for

[[Page 64209]]

a party in a matter in which the practitioner is participating 
personally and substantially as a judge or other adjudicative officer 
or as an arbitrator, mediator or other third-party neutral. A 
practitioner serving as a law clerk to a judge or other adjudicative 
officer may negotiate for employment with a party or practitioner 
involved in a matter in which the clerk is participating personally and 
substantially, but only after the practitioner has notified the judge, 
or other adjudicative officer.
    (c) If a practitioner is disqualified by paragraph (a) of this 
section, no practitioner in a firm with which that practitioner is 
associated may knowingly undertake or continue representation in the 
matter unless:
    (1) The disqualified practitioner is timely screened from any 
participation in the matter and is apportioned no part of the fee 
therefrom; and
    (2) Written notice is promptly given to the parties and any 
appropriate tribunal to enable them to ascertain compliance with the 
provisions of this section.
    (d) An arbitrator selected as a partisan of a party in a 
multimember arbitration panel is not prohibited from subsequently 
representing that party.


Sec.  11.113  Organization as client.

    (a) A practitioner employed or retained by an organization 
represents the organization acting through its duly authorized 
constituents.
    (b) If a practitioner for an organization knows that an officer, 
employee or other person associated with the organization is engaged in 
action, intends to act or refuses to act in a matter related to the 
representation that is a violation of a legal obligation to the 
organization, or a violation of law that reasonably might be imputed to 
the organization, and that is likely to result in substantial injury to 
the organization, then the practitioner shall proceed as is reasonably 
necessary in the best interest of the organization. Unless the 
practitioner reasonably believes that it is not necessary in the best 
interest of the organization to do so, the practitioner shall refer the 
matter to higher authority in the organization, including, if warranted 
by the circumstances, to the highest authority that can act on behalf 
of the organization as determined by applicable law.
    (c) Except as provided in paragraph (d) of this section, if
    (1) Despite the practitioner's efforts in accordance with paragraph 
(b) of this section the highest authority that can act on behalf of the 
organization insists upon or fails to address in a timely and 
appropriate manner an action, or a refusal to act, that is clearly a 
violation of law, and
    (2) The practitioner reasonably believes that the violation is 
reasonably certain to result in substantial injury to the organization, 
then the practitioner may reveal information relating to the 
representation whether or not Sec.  11.106 permits such disclosure, but 
only if and to the extent the practitioner reasonably believes 
necessary to prevent substantial injury to the organization.
    (d) Paragraph (c) of this section shall not apply with respect to 
information relating to a practitioner's representation of an 
organization to investigate an alleged violation of law, or to defend 
the organization or an officer, employee or other constituent 
associated with the organization against a claim arising out of an 
alleged violation of law.
    (e) A practitioner who reasonably believes that he or she has been 
discharged because of the practitioner's actions taken pursuant to 
paragraphs (b) or (c) of this section, or who withdraws under 
circumstances that require or permit the practitioner to take action 
under either of those paragraphs, shall proceed as the practitioner 
reasonably believes necessary to assure that the organization's highest 
authority is informed of the practitioner's discharge or withdrawal.
    (f) In dealing with an organization's directors, officers, 
employees, members, shareholders, or other constituents, a practitioner 
shall explain the identity of the client when the practitioner knows or 
reasonably should know that the organization's interests are adverse to 
those of the constituents with whom the practitioner is dealing.
    (g) A practitioner representing an organization may also represent 
any of its directors, officers, employees, members, shareholders or 
other constituents, subject to the provisions of Sec.  11.107. If the 
organization's consent to the dual representation is required by Sec.  
11.107, the consent shall be given by an appropriate official of the 
organization other than the individual who is to be represented, or by 
the shareholders.


Sec.  11.114  Client with diminished capacity.

    (a) When a client's capacity to make adequately considered 
decisions in connection with a representation is diminished, whether 
because of minority, mental impairment or for some other reason, the 
practitioner shall, as far as reasonably possible, maintain a normal 
client-practitioner relationship with the client.
    (b) When the practitioner reasonably believes that the client has 
diminished capacity, is at risk of substantial physical, financial or 
other harm unless action is taken and cannot adequately act in the 
client's own interest, the practitioner may take reasonably necessary 
protective action, including consulting with individuals or entities 
that have the ability to take action to protect the client and, in 
appropriate cases, seeking the appointment of a guardian ad litem, 
conservator or guardian.
    (c) Information relating to the representation of a client with 
diminished capacity is protected under Sec.  11.106. When taking 
protective action pursuant to paragraph (b) of this section, the 
practitioner is impliedly authorized under Sec.  11.106(a) to reveal 
information about the client, but only to the extent reasonably 
necessary to protect the client's interests.


Sec.  11.115  Safekeeping property.

    (a) A practitioner shall hold property of clients or third persons 
that is in a practitioner's possession in connection with a 
representation separate from the practitioner's own property. Funds 
shall be kept in a separate account maintained in the state where the 
practitioner's office is situated, or elsewhere with the consent of the 
client or third person. Where the practitioner's office is situated in 
a foreign country, funds shall be kept in a separate account maintained 
in that foreign country or elsewhere with the consent of the client or 
third person. Other property shall be identified as such and 
appropriately safeguarded. Complete records of such account funds and 
other property shall be kept by the practitioner and shall be preserved 
for a period of five years after termination of the representation.
    (b) A practitioner may deposit the practitioner's own funds in a 
client trust account for the sole purpose of paying bank service 
charges on that account, but only in an amount necessary for that 
purpose.
    (c) A practitioner shall deposit into a client trust account legal 
fees and expenses that have been paid in advance, to be withdrawn by 
the practitioner only as fees are earned or expenses incurred.
    (d) Upon receiving funds or other property in which a client or 
third person has an interest, a practitioner shall promptly notify the 
client or third person. Except as stated in this section or otherwise 
permitted by law or by agreement with the client, a practitioner shall 
promptly deliver to the client or third person any funds or other 
property that the client or third person is entitled to receive and, 
upon request by the client or third person, shall promptly

[[Page 64210]]

render a full accounting regarding such property.
    (e) When in the course of representation a practitioner is in 
possession of property in which two or more persons (one of whom may be 
the practitioner) claim interests, the property shall be kept separate 
by the practitioner until the dispute is resolved. The practitioner 
shall promptly distribute all portions of the property as to which the 
interests are not in dispute.
    (f) All separate accounts for clients or third persons kept by a 
practitioner must also comply with the following provisions:
    (1) Required records. The records to be kept include:
    (i) Receipt and disbursement journals containing a record of 
deposits to and withdrawals from client trust accounts, specifically 
identifying the date, source, and description of each item deposited, 
as well as the date, payee and purpose of each disbursement;
    (ii) Ledger records for all client trust accounts showing, for each 
separate trust client or beneficiary, the source of all funds 
deposited, the names of all persons for whom the funds are or were 
held, the amount of such funds, the descriptions and amounts of charges 
or withdrawals, and the names of all persons or entities to whom such 
funds were disbursed;
    (iii) Copies of retainer and compensation agreements with clients;
    (iv) Copies of accountings to clients or third persons showing the 
disbursement of funds to them or on their behalf;
    (v) Copies of bills for legal fees and expenses rendered to 
clients;
    (vi) Copies of records showing disbursements on behalf of clients;
    (vii) The physical or electronic equivalents of all checkbook 
registers, bank statements, records of deposit, pre-numbered canceled 
checks, and substitute checks provided by a financial institution;
    (viii) Records of all electronic transfers from client trust 
accounts, including the name of the person authorizing transfer, the 
date of transfer, the name of the recipient and confirmation from the 
financial institution of the trust account number from which money was 
withdrawn and the date and the time the transfer was completed;
    (ix) Copies of monthly trial balances and quarterly reconciliations 
of the client trust accounts maintained by the practitioner; and
    (x) Copies of those portions of client files that are reasonably 
related to client trust account transactions.
    (2) Client trust account safeguards. With respect to client trust 
accounts required by paragraphs (a) through (e) of this section:
    (i) Only a practitioner or a person under the direct supervision of 
the practitioner shall be an authorized signatory or authorize 
transfers from a client trust account;
    (ii) Receipts shall be deposited intact and records of deposit 
should be sufficiently detailed to identify each item; and
    (iii) Withdrawals shall be made only by check payable to a named 
payee and not to cash, or by authorized electronic transfer.
    (3) Availability of records. Records required by paragraph (f)(1) 
of this section may be maintained by electronic, photographic, or other 
media provided that they otherwise comply with paragraphs (f)(1) and 
(f)(2) of this section and that printed copies can be produced. These 
records shall be readily accessible to the practitioner.
    (4) Lawyers. The records kept by a lawyer are deemed to be in 
compliance with this section if the types of records that are 
maintained meet the recordkeeping requirements of a state in which the 
lawyer is licensed and in good standing, the recordkeeping requirements 
of the state where the lawyer's principal place of business is located, 
or the recordkeeping requirements of this section.
    (5) Patent agents and persons granted limited recognition who are 
employed in the United States by a law firm. The records kept by a law 
firm employing one or more registered patent agents or persons granted 
limited recognition under Sec.  11.9 are deemed to be in compliance 
with this section if the types of records that are maintained meet the 
recordkeeping requirements of the state where at least one practitioner 
of the law firm is licensed and in good standing, the recordkeeping 
requirements of the state where the law firm's principal place of 
business is located, or the recordkeeping requirements of this section.


Sec.  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.


Sec.  11.117  Sale of law practice.

    A practitioner or a law firm may sell or purchase a law practice, 
or an area of law practice, including good will, if the following 
conditions are satisfied:
    (a) The seller ceases to engage in the private practice of law, or 
in the area of practice that has been sold, in a geographic area in 
which the practice has been conducted;
    (b)(1) Except as provided in paragraph (b)(2) of this section, the 
entire practice, or the entire area of practice, is sold to one or more 
lawyers or law firms;

[[Page 64211]]

    (2) To the extent the practice or the area of practice involves 
patent proceedings before the Office, that practice or area of practice 
may be sold only to one or more registered practitioners or law firms 
that include at least one registered practitioner;
    (c)(1) The seller gives written notice to each of the seller's 
clients regarding:
    (i) The proposed sale;
    (ii) The client's right to retain other counsel or to take 
possession of the file; and
    (iii) The fact that the client's consent to the transfer of the 
client's files will be presumed if the client does not take any action 
or does not otherwise object within ninety (90) days after receipt of 
the notice.
    (2) If a client cannot be given notice, the representation of that 
client may be transferred to the purchaser only upon entry of an order 
so authorizing by a court having jurisdiction. The seller may disclose 
to the court in camera information relating to the representation only 
to the extent necessary to obtain an order authorizing the transfer of 
a file; and
    (d) The fees charged clients shall not be increased by reason of 
the sale.


Sec.  11.118  Duties to prospective client.

    (a) A person who discusses with a practitioner the possibility of 
forming a client-practitioner relationship with respect to a matter is 
a prospective client.
    (b) Even when no client-practitioner relationship ensues, a 
practitioner who has had discussions with the prospective client shall 
not use or reveal information learned in the consultation, except as 
Sec.  11.109 would permit with respect to information of a former 
client.
    (c) A practitioner subject to paragraph (b) of this section shall 
not represent a client with interests materially adverse to those of a 
prospective client in the same or a substantially related matter if the 
practitioner received information from the prospective client that 
could be significantly harmful to that person in the matter, except as 
provided in paragraph (d) of this section. If a practitioner is 
disqualified from representation under this paragraph, no practitioner 
in a firm with which that practitioner is associated may knowingly 
undertake or continue representation in such a matter, except as 
provided in paragraph (d) of this section.
    (d) When the practitioner has received disqualifying information as 
defined in paragraph (c) of this section, representation is permissible 
if:
    (1) Both the affected client and the prospective client have given 
informed consent, confirmed in writing; or
    (2) The practitioner who received the information took reasonable 
measures to avoid exposure to more disqualifying information than was 
reasonably necessary to determine whether to represent the prospective 
client; and
    (i) The disqualified practitioner is timely screened from any 
participation in the matter and is apportioned no part of the fee 
therefrom; and
    (ii) Written notice is promptly given to the prospective client.


Sec. Sec.  11.119-11.200  [Reserved]

Counselor


Sec.  11.201  Advisor.

    In representing a client, a practitioner shall exercise independent 
professional judgment and render candid advice.


Sec.  11.202  [Reserved]


Sec.  11.203  Evaluation for use by third persons.

    (a) A practitioner may provide an evaluation of a matter affecting 
a client for the use of someone other than the client if the 
practitioner reasonably believes that making the evaluation is 
compatible with other aspects of the practitioner's relationship with 
the client.
    (b) When the practitioner knows or reasonably should know that the 
evaluation is likely to affect the client's interests materially and 
adversely, the practitioner shall not provide the evaluation unless the 
client gives informed consent.
    (c) Except as disclosure is authorized or required in connection 
with a report of an evaluation regarding a patent, trademark or other 
non-patent law matter before the Office, information relating to the 
evaluation is otherwise protected by Sec.  11.106.


Sec.  11.204  Practitioner serving as third-party neutral.

    (a) A practitioner serves as a third-party neutral when the 
practitioner assists two or more persons who are not clients of the 
practitioner to reach a resolution of a dispute or other matter that 
has arisen between them. Service as a third-party neutral may include 
service as an arbitrator, a mediator or in such other capacity as will 
enable the practitioner to assist the parties to resolve the matter.
    (b) A practitioner serving as a third-party neutral shall inform 
unrepresented parties that the practitioner is not representing them. 
When the practitioner knows or reasonably should know that a party does 
not understand the practitioner's role in the matter, the practitioner 
shall explain the difference between the practitioner's role as a 
third-party neutral and a practitioner's role as one who represents a 
client.


Sec. Sec.  11.205-11.300  [Reserved]

Advocate


Sec.  11.301  Meritorious claims and contentions.

    A practitioner shall not bring or defend a proceeding, or assert or 
controvert an issue therein, unless there is a basis in law and fact 
for doing so that is not frivolous, which includes a good-faith 
argument for an extension, modification or reversal of existing law.


Sec.  11.302  Expediting proceedings.

    A practitioner shall make reasonable efforts to expedite 
proceedings before a tribunal consistent with the interests of the 
client.


Sec.  11.303  Candor toward the tribunal.

    (a) A practitioner shall not knowingly:
    (1) Make a false statement of fact or law to a tribunal or fail to 
correct a false statement of material fact or law previously made to 
the tribunal by the practitioner;
    (2) Fail to disclose to the tribunal legal authority in the 
controlling jurisdiction known to the practitioner to be directly 
adverse to the position of the client and not disclosed by opposing 
counsel in an inter partes proceeding, or fail to disclose such 
authority in an ex parte proceeding before the Office if such authority 
is not otherwise disclosed; or
    (3) Offer evidence that the practitioner knows to be false. If a 
practitioner, the practitioner's client, or a witness called by the 
practitioner, has offered material evidence and the practitioner comes 
to know of its falsity, the practitioner shall take reasonable remedial 
measures, including, if necessary, disclosure to the tribunal. A 
practitioner may refuse to offer evidence that the practitioner 
reasonably believes is false.
    (b) A practitioner who represents a client in a proceeding before a 
tribunal and who knows that a person intends to engage, is engaging or 
has engaged in criminal or fraudulent conduct related to the proceeding 
shall take reasonable remedial measures, including, if necessary, 
disclosure to the tribunal.
    (c) The duties stated in paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section 
continue to the conclusion of the proceeding, and apply even if 
compliance requires disclosure of information otherwise protected by 
Sec.  11.106.
    (d) In an ex parte proceeding, a practitioner shall inform the 
tribunal of

[[Page 64212]]

all material facts known to the practitioner that will enable the 
tribunal to make an informed decision, whether or not the facts are 
adverse.
    (e) In a proceeding before the Office, a practitioner shall 
disclose to the Office information necessary to comply with applicable 
duty of disclosure provisions.


Sec.  11.304  Fairness to opposing party and counsel.

    A practitioner shall not:
    (a) Unlawfully obstruct another party's access to evidence or 
unlawfully alter, destroy or conceal a document or other material 
having potential evidentiary value. A practitioner shall not counsel or 
assist another person to do any such act;
    (b) Falsify evidence, counsel or assist a witness to testify 
falsely, or offer an inducement to a witness that is prohibited by law;
    (c) Knowingly disobey an obligation under the rules of a tribunal 
except for an open refusal based on an assertion that no valid 
obligation exists;
    (d) Make a frivolous discovery request or fail to make a reasonably 
diligent effort to comply with a legally proper discovery request by an 
opposing party;
    (e) In a proceeding before a tribunal, allude to any matter that 
the practitioner does not reasonably believe is relevant or that will 
not be supported by admissible evidence, assert personal knowledge of 
facts in issue except when testifying as a witness, or state a personal 
opinion as to the justness of a cause, the credibility of a witness, 
the culpability of a civil litigant or the guilt or innocence of an 
accused; or
    (f) Request a person other than a client to refrain from 
voluntarily giving relevant information to another party unless:
    (1) The person is a relative or an employee or other agent of a 
client; and
    (2) The practitioner reasonably believes that the person's 
interests will not be adversely affected by refraining from giving such 
information.


Sec.  11.305  Impartiality and decorum of the tribunal.

    A practitioner shall not:
    (a) Seek to influence a judge, hearing officer, administrative law 
judge, administrative patent judge, administrative trademark judge, 
juror, prospective juror, employee or officer of the Office, or other 
official by means prohibited by law;
    (b) Communicate ex parte with such a person during the proceeding 
unless authorized to do so by law, rule or court order; or
    (c) [Reserved]
    (d) Engage in conduct intended to disrupt any proceeding before a 
tribunal.


Sec.  11.306  [Reserved]


Sec.  11.307  Practitioner as witness.

    (a) A practitioner shall not act as advocate at a proceeding before 
a tribunal in which the practitioner is likely to be a necessary 
witness unless:
    (1) The testimony relates to an uncontested issue;
    (2) The testimony relates to the nature and value of legal services 
rendered in the case;
    (3) Disqualification of the practitioner would work substantial 
hardship on the client; or
    (4) The testimony relates to a duty of disclosure.
    (b) A practitioner may act as advocate in a proceeding before a 
tribunal in which another practitioner in the practitioner's firm is 
likely to be called as a witness unless precluded from doing so by 
Sec. Sec.  11.107 or 11.109.


Sec.  11.308  [Reserved]


Sec.  11.309  Advocate in nonadjudicative proceedings.

    A practitioner representing a client before a legislative body or 
administrative agency in a nonadjudicative proceeding shall disclose 
that the appearance is in a representative capacity and shall conform 
to the provisions of Sec. Sec.  11.303(a) through (c), 11.304 (a) 
through (c), and 11.305.


Sec. Sec.  11.310-11.400  [Reserved]

Transactions With Persons Other Than Clients


Sec.  11.401  Truthfulness in statements to others.

    In the course of representing a client, a practitioner shall not 
knowingly:
    (a) Make a false statement of material fact or law to a third 
person; or
    (b) Fail to disclose a material fact to a third person when 
disclosure is necessary to avoid assisting a criminal or fraudulent act 
by a client, unless disclosure is prohibited by Sec.  11.106.


Sec.  11.402  Communication with person represented by a practitioner.

    (a) In representing a client, a practitioner shall not communicate 
about the subject of the representation with a person the practitioner 
knows to be represented by another practitioner in the matter, unless 
the practitioner has the consent of the other practitioner or is 
authorized to do so by law, rule, or a court order.
    (b) This section does not prohibit communication by a practitioner 
with government officials who are otherwise represented by counsel and 
who have the authority to redress the grievances of the practitioner's 
client, provided that, if the communication relates to a matter for 
which the government official is represented, then prior to the 
communication the practitioner must disclose to such government 
official both the practitioner's identity and the fact that the 
practitioner represents a party with a claim against the government.


Sec.  11.403  Dealing with unrepresented person.

    In dealing on behalf of a client with a person who is not 
represented by a practitioner, a practitioner shall not state or imply 
that the practitioner is disinterested. When the practitioner knows or 
reasonably should know that the unrepresented person misunderstands the 
practitioner's role in the matter, the practitioner shall make 
reasonable efforts to correct the misunderstanding. The practitioner 
shall not give legal advice to an unrepresented person, other than the 
advice to secure counsel, if the practitioner knows or reasonably 
should know that the interests of such a person are or have a 
reasonable possibility of being in conflict with the interests of the 
client.


Sec.  11.404  Respect for rights of third persons.

    (a) In representing a client, a practitioner shall not use means 
that have no substantial purpose other than to embarrass, delay, or 
burden a third person, or use methods of obtaining evidence that 
violate the legal rights of such a person.
    (b) A practitioner who receives a document relating to the 
representation of the practitioner's client and knows or reasonably 
should know that the document was inadvertently sent shall promptly 
notify the sender.


Sec. Sec.  11.405-11.500   [Reserved]

Law Firms and Associations


Sec.  11.501  Responsibilities of partners, managers, and supervisory 
practitioners.

    (a) A practitioner who is a partner in a law firm, and a 
practitioner who individually or together with other practitioners 
possesses comparable managerial authority in a law firm, shall make 
reasonable efforts to ensure that the firm has in effect measures 
giving reasonable assurance that all practitioners in the firm conform 
to the USPTO Rules of Professional Conduct.
    (b) A practitioner having direct supervisory authority over another

[[Page 64213]]

practitioner shall make reasonable efforts to ensure that the other 
practitioner conforms to the USPTO Rules of Professional Conduct.
    (c) A practitioner shall be responsible for another practitioner's 
violation of the USPTO Rules of Professional Conduct if:
    (1) The practitioner orders or, with knowledge of the specific 
conduct, ratifies the conduct involved; or
    (2) The practitioner is a partner or has comparable managerial 
authority in the law firm in which the other practitioner practices, or 
has direct supervisory authority over the other practitioner, and knows 
of the conduct at a time when its consequences can be avoided or 
mitigated but fails to take reasonable remedial action.


Sec.  11.502  Responsibilities of a subordinate practitioner.

    (a) A practitioner is bound by the USPTO Rules of Professional 
Conduct notwithstanding that the practitioner acted at the direction of 
another person.
    (b) A subordinate practitioner does not violate the USPTO Rules of 
Professional Conduct if that practitioner acts in accordance with a 
supervisory practitioner's reasonable resolution of an arguable 
question of professional duty.


Sec.  11.503  Responsibilities regarding non-practitioner assistants.

    With respect to a non-practitioner assistant employed or retained 
by or associated with a practitioner:
    (a) A practitioner who is a partner, and a practitioner who 
individually or together with other practitioners possesses comparable 
managerial authority in a law firm shall make reasonable efforts to 
ensure that the firm has in effect measures giving reasonable assurance 
that the person's conduct is compatible with the professional 
obligations of the practitioner;
    (b) A practitioner having direct supervisory authority over the 
non- practitioner assistant shall make reasonable efforts to ensure 
that the person's conduct is compatible with the professional 
obligations of the practitioner; and
    (c) A practitioner shall be responsible for conduct of such a 
person that would be a violation of the USPTO Rules of Professional 
Conduct if engaged in by a practitioner if:
    (1) The practitioner orders or, with the knowledge of the specific 
conduct, ratifies the conduct involved; or
    (2) The practitioner is a partner or has comparable managerial 
authority in the law firm in which the person is employed, or has 
direct supervisory authority over the person, and knows of the conduct 
at a time when its consequences can be avoided or mitigated but fails 
to take reasonable remedial action.


Sec.  11.504  Professional independence of a practitioner.

    (a) A practitioner or law firm shall not share legal fees with a 
non-practitioner, except that:
    (1) An agreement by a practitioner with the practitioner's firm, 
partner, or associate may provide for the payment of money, over a 
reasonable period of time after the practitioner's death, to the 
practitioner's estate or to one or more specified persons;
    (2) A practitioner who purchases the practice of a deceased, 
disabled, or disappeared practitioner may, pursuant to the provisions 
of Sec.  11.117, pay to the estate or other representative of that 
practitioner the agreed-upon purchase price;
    (3) A practitioner or law firm may include non-practitioner 
employees in a compensation or retirement plan, even though the plan is 
based in whole or in part on a profit-sharing arrangement; and
    (4) A practitioner may share legal fees, whether awarded by a 
tribunal or received in settlement of a matter, with a nonprofit 
organization that employed, retained or recommended employment of the 
practitioner in the matter and that qualifies under Section 501(c)(3) 
of the Internal Revenue Code.
    (b) A practitioner shall not form a partnership with a non-
practitioner if any of the activities of the partnership consist of the 
practice of law.
    (c) A practitioner shall not permit a person who recommends, 
employs, or pays the practitioner to render legal services for another 
to direct or regulate the practitioner's professional judgment in 
rendering such legal services.
    (d) A practitioner shall not practice with or in the form of a 
professional corporation or association authorized to practice law for 
a profit, if:
    (1) A non-practitioner owns any interest therein, except that a 
fiduciary representative of the estate of a practitioner may hold the 
stock or interest of the practitioner for a reasonable time during 
administration;
    (2) A non-practitioner is a corporate director or officer thereof 
or occupies the position of similar responsibility in any form of 
association other than a corporation; or
    (3) A non-practitioner has the right to direct or control the 
professional judgment of a practitioner.


Sec.  11.505  Unauthorized practice of law.

    A practitioner shall not:
    (a) Practice law in a jurisdiction in violation of the regulation 
of the legal profession in that jurisdiction;
    (b) Practice before the Office in patent, trademark, or other non-
patent law in violation of this subchapter;
    (c) Assist a person who is not a member of the bar of a 
jurisdiction in the performance of an activity that constitutes the 
unauthorized practice of law, or assist a person who is not a 
registered patent practitioner in the performance of an activity that 
constitutes unauthorized patent practice before the Office;
    (d) Aid a suspended, disbarred or excluded practitioner in the 
unauthorized practice of patent, trademark, or other non-patent law 
before the Office;
    (e) Aid a suspended, disbarred or excluded attorney in the 
unauthorized practice of law in any other jurisdiction; or
    (f) Practice before the Office in trademark matters if the 
practitioner was registered as a patent agent after January 1, 1957, 
and is not an attorney.


Sec.  11.506  Restrictions on right to practice.

    A practitioner shall not participate in offering or making:
    (a) A partnership, shareholders, operating, employment, or other 
similar type of agreement that restricts the right of a practitioner to 
practice after termination of the relationship, except an agreement 
concerning benefits upon retirement; or
    (b) An agreement in which a restriction on the practitioner's right 
to practice is part of the settlement of a client controversy.


Sec.  11.507  Responsibilities regarding law-related services.

    A practitioner shall be subject to the USPTO Rules of Professional 
Conduct with respect to the provision of law-related services if the 
law-related services are provided:
    (a) By the practitioner in circumstances that are not distinct from 
the practitioner's provision of legal services to clients; or
    (b) In other circumstances by an entity controlled by the 
practitioner individually or with others if the practitioner fails to 
take reasonable measures to assure that a person obtaining the law-
related services knows that the services are not legal services and 
that the protections of the client-practitioner relationship do not 
exist.

[[Page 64214]]

Sec. Sec.  11.508-11.700   [Reserved]

Information About Legal Services


Sec.  11.701  Communications concerning a practitioner's services.

    A practitioner shall not make a false or misleading communication 
about the practitioner or the practitioner's services. A communication 
is false or misleading if it contains a material misrepresentation of 
fact or law, or omits a fact necessary to make the statement considered 
as a whole not materially misleading.


Sec.  11.702  Advertising.

    (a) Subject to the requirements of Sec. Sec.  11.701 and 11.703, a 
practitioner may advertise services through written, recorded or 
electronic communication, including public media.
    (b) A practitioner shall not give anything of value to a person for 
recommending the practitioner's services except that a practitioner 
may:
    (1) Pay the reasonable costs of advertisements or communications 
permitted by this section;
    (2) [Reserved];
    (3) Pay for a law practice in accordance with Sec.  11.117; and
    (4) Refer clients to another practitioner or a non-practitioner 
professional pursuant to an agreement not otherwise prohibited under 
the USPTO Rules of Professional Conduct that provides for the other 
person to refer clients or customers to the practitioner, if:
    (i) The reciprocal referral agreement is not exclusive, and
    (ii) The client is informed of the existence and nature of the 
agreement.
    (c) Any communication made pursuant to this section shall include 
the name and office address of at least one practitioner or law firm 
responsible for its content.


Sec.  11.703  Direct contact with prospective clients.

    (a) A practitioner shall not by in-person, live telephone or real-
time electronic contact solicit professional employment from a 
prospective client when a significant motive for the practitioner's 
doing so is the practitioner's pecuniary gain, unless the person 
contacted:
    (1) Is a practitioner; or
    (2) Has a family, close personal, or prior professional 
relationship with the practitioner.
    (b) A practitioner shall not solicit professional employment from a 
prospective client by written, recorded or electronic communication or 
by in-person, telephone or real-time electronic contact even when not 
otherwise prohibited by paragraph (a) of this section, if:
    (1) The prospective client has made known to the practitioner a 
desire not to be solicited by the practitioner; or
    (2) The solicitation involves coercion, duress or harassment.
    (c) Every written, recorded or electronic communication from a 
practitioner soliciting professional employment from a prospective 
client known to be in need of legal services in a particular matter 
shall include the words ``Advertising Material'' on the outside 
envelope, if any, and at the beginning and ending of any recorded or 
electronic communication, unless the recipient of the communication is 
a person specified in paragraphs (a)(1) or (a)(2) of this section.
    (d) Notwithstanding the prohibitions in paragraph (a) of this 
section, a practitioner may participate with a prepaid or group legal 
service plan operated by an organization not owned or directed by the 
practitioner that uses in-person or telephone contact to solicit 
memberships or subscriptions for the plan from persons who are not 
known to need legal services in a particular matter covered by the 
plan.


Sec.  11.704  Communication of fields of practice and specialization.

    (a) A practitioner may communicate the fact that the practitioner 
does or does not practice in particular fields of law.
    (b) A registered practitioner who is an attorney may use the 
designation ``Patents,'' ``Patent Attorney,'' ``Patent Lawyer,'' 
``Registered Patent Attorney,'' or a substantially similar designation. 
A registered practitioner who is not an attorney may use the 
designation ``Patents,'' ``Patent Agent,'' ``Registered Patent Agent,'' 
or a substantially similar designation. Unless authorized by Sec.  
11.14(b), a registered patent agent shall not hold himself or herself 
out as being qualified or authorized to practice before the Office in 
trademark matters or before a court.
    (c) [Reserved].
    (d) A practitioner shall not state or imply that a practitioner is 
certified as a specialist in a particular field of law, unless:
    (1) The practitioner has been certified as a specialist by an 
organization that has been approved by an appropriate state authority 
or that has been accredited by the American Bar Association; and
    (2) The name of the certifying organization is clearly identified 
in the communication.
    (e) An individual granted limited recognition under Sec.  11.9 may 
use the designation ``Limited Recognition.''


Sec.  11.705  Firm names and letterheads.

    (a) A practitioner shall not use a firm name, letterhead or other 
professional designation that violates Sec.  11.701. A trade name may 
be used by a practitioner in private practice if it does not imply a 
connection with a government agency or with a public or charitable 
legal services organization and is not otherwise in violation of Sec.  
11.701.
    (b) [Reserved].
    (c) The name of a practitioner holding a public office shall not be 
used in the name of a law firm, or in communications on its behalf, 
during any substantial period in which the practitioner is not actively 
and regularly practicing with the firm.


Sec.  11.706-11.800   [Reserved]

Maintaining the Integrity of the Profession


Sec.  11.801  Registration, recognition and disciplinary matters.

    An applicant for registration or recognition to practice before the 
Office, or a practitioner in connection with an application for 
registration or recognition, or a practitioner in connection with a 
disciplinary or reinstatement matter, shall not:
    (a) Knowingly make a false statement of material fact, or
    (b) Fail to disclose a fact necessary to correct a misapprehension 
known by the person to have arisen in the matter, or
    (c) Knowingly fail to respond to a lawful demand or request for 
information from an admissions or disciplinary authority, except that 
the provisions of this section do not require disclosure of information 
otherwise protected by Sec.  11.106, or
    (d) Fail to cooperate with the Office of Enrollment and Discipline 
in an investigation of any matter before it.


Sec.  11.802  Judicial and legal officials.

    (a) A practitioner shall not make a statement that the practitioner 
knows to be false or with reckless disregard as to its truth or falsity 
concerning the qualifications or integrity of a judge, adjudicatory 
officer or public legal officer, or of a candidate for election or 
appointment to judicial or legal office.
    (b) A practitioner who is a candidate for judicial office shall 
comply with the applicable provisions of the Code of Judicial Conduct.

[[Page 64215]]

Sec.  11.803  Reporting professional misconduct.

    (a) A practitioner who knows that another practitioner has 
committed a violation of the USPTO Rules of Professional Conduct that 
raises a substantial question as to that practitioner's honesty, 
trustworthiness or fitness as a practitioner in other respects, shall 
inform the OED Director and any other appropriate professional 
authority.
    (b) A practitioner who knows that a judge, hearing officer, 
administrative law judge, administrative patent judge, or 
administrative trademark judge has committed a violation of applicable 
rules of judicial conduct that raises a substantial question as to the 
individual's fitness for office shall inform the appropriate authority.
    (c) The provisions of this section do not require disclosure of 
information otherwise protected by Sec.  11.106 or information gained 
while participating in an approved lawyers assistance program.


Sec.  11.804  Misconduct.

    It is professional misconduct for a practitioner to:
    (a) Violate or attempt to violate the USPTO Rules of Professional 
Conduct, knowingly assist or induce another to do so, or do so through 
the acts of another;
    (b) Commit a criminal act that reflects adversely on the 
practitioner's honesty, trustworthiness or fitness as a practitioner in 
other respects;
    (c) Engage in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or 
misrepresentation;
    (d) Engage in conduct that is prejudicial to the administration of 
justice;
    (e) State or imply an ability to influence improperly a government 
agency or official or to achieve results by means that violate the 
USPTO Rules of Professional Conduct or other law;
    (f) Knowingly assist a judge, hearing officer, administrative law 
judge, administrative patent judge, administrative trademark judge, or 
judicial officer in conduct that is a violation of applicable rules of 
judicial conduct or other law;
    (g) Knowingly assist an officer or employee of the Office in 
conduct that is a violation of applicable rules of conduct or other 
law;
    (h) Be publicly disciplined on ethical or professional misconduct 
grounds by any duly constituted authority of:
    (1) A State,
    (2) The United States, or
    (3) The country in which the practitioner resides; or
    (i) Engage in other conduct that adversely reflects on the 
practitioner's fitness to practice before the Office.


Sec.  11.805-11.900   [Reserved]


Sec.  11.901  Savings clause.

    (a) A disciplinary proceeding based on conduct engaged in prior to 
the effective date of these regulations may be instituted subsequent to 
such effective date, if such conduct would continue to justify 
disciplinary sanctions under the provisions of this part.
    (b) No practitioner shall be subject to a disciplinary proceeding 
under this part based on conduct engaged in before the effective date 
hereof if such conduct would not have been subject to disciplinary 
action before such effective date.

PART 41--PRACTICE BEFORE THE PATENT TRIAL AND APPEAL BOARD

    27. The authority citation for 37 CFR part 41 continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority:  35 U.S.C. 2(b)(2), 3(a)(2)(A), 21, 23, 32, 41, 134, 
and 135.

    28. Revise Sec.  41.5(c) to read as follows:


Sec.  41.5  Counsel.

* * * * *
    (c) Withdrawal. Counsel may not withdraw from a proceeding before 
the Board unless the Board authorizes such withdrawal. See Sec.  11.116 
of this subchapter regarding conditions for withdrawal.
* * * * *

    Dated: October 10, 2012.
David J. Kappos,
Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of 
the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
[FR Doc. 2012-25355 Filed 10-17-12; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-16-P