Glenn H. Korfhage
Attn.: Mr. Harry I. Moatz
Director of Enrollment and Discipline
Mail Stop OED-Ethics Rules
U. S. Patent and Trademark Office
P. O. Box 1450
Alexandria, VA 22313-1450
RE: Notice of Proposed Rulemaking at 68 Fed. Reg. 69441
(December 12, 2003)
“Changes to Representation of Others Before the United States Patent and Trademark Office”
As a member of the State Bar of Texas Intellectual Property Section, as well as a member of the bar in Michigan and other states, I am expressing my concern with some of the proposed PTO rules, namely, 11.13(g)(4), 11.804(h)(9), and 11.8(d). My comments which follow are my personal views, and do not necessarily represent the views of my corporate employer nor of any trade or professional association of which my employer is a member.
Proposed Rule 11.13(g)(4) regarding continuing education (CLE) requirements should be modified to permit a law firm or corporate law department to become an approved sponsor of continuing education programs to satisfy the CLE requirement, and to permit delivery of such programs by teleconference, video conference, or web cast. Having worked four years of my professional career abroad, I can personally confirm that CLE teleconferences, whether in-house or open to the public, are a most efficient and cost effective way for US patent attorneys on expat assignment to receive CLE. The same logic applies with respect to attorneys who for whatever reason work from virtual offices in remote, rural locations. There is no justification for preventing a law firm or a corporate law department from seeking approval and delivering CLE programs to their employees wherever located around the globe to satisfy the proposed CLE requirement.
The State Bar of Texas and many other bars around! the country allow and even encourage such “in-house” CLE programs, subject to bar approval for content. Such a modification of the proposed rule to allow in house programs is warranted for the convenience of practitioners and their employers.
Proposed Rule 11.804(h)(9) characterizing as professional misconduct, failing to report a change of address within 30 days of the change is unnecessarily harsh and should be modified or deleted.
Equally unjustified is Proposed Rule 11.8(d) requiring a $100 annual fee. This is in effect yet another tax that does not tie the source of the funds with the expenditures for which the fee is purportedly gathered. The PTO has attempted to justify this proposed fee by claiming it would cover the costs of the disciplinary system and be used to maintain the roster of practitioners. However, it is well known that the PTO does not have control over the use of funds it receives and the assurances to the contrary in the Federal Register are not binding. This proposed fee would simply add more money to that which can be diverted elsewhere. Consequently, there is no justification for the proposed fee.
Glenn H. Korfhage
USPTO Attorney #27,204
1790 Bldg. Washington St.
Midland, Michigan 48674 USA