May the "designated employee" in the United States Patent and Trademark Office Public Key Infrastructure Subscriber Agreement include a person who is not employed by a certificate holder's organization, such as a person who is employed by a third party with which the certificate holder's organization contracts for paralegal services?


No. The "designated employee" in the United States Patent and Trademark Office Public Key Infrastructure Subscriber Agreement must be an employee of the certificate holder's organization. Thus, the person cannot be employed by a third party providing services to the certificate holder's organization, a person contracting to provide services to the certificate holder's organization, or a person contracting to provide services to the certificate holders. If the person using the PKI certificate (user) is not actually an employee of the certificate holder's organization, the user is not under the control of the certificate holder. Further, interpreting the term "designated employee" to include a non-employee is not only inconsistent with the common meaning of the word "employee", but also gives the certificate holder the ability to deny knowing what is occurring. In addition, if the user is not an employee, the certificate holder may have no way of knowing if the user is an alien or person in a foreign country. Accordingly, export control issues also mandate that the answer to this question is "no".


USPTO FAQ - Questions and Answers (21APR2008)