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1807    Agent or Common Representative and General Power of Attorney [R-08.2012]

37 C.F.R. 1.455  Representation in international applications.

  • (a) Applicants of international applications may be represented by attorneys or agents registered to practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office or by an applicant appointed as a common representative ( PCT Art. 49 , Rules 4.8 and 90 and § 11.9 ). If applicants have not appointed an attorney or agent or one of the applicants to represent them, and there is more than one applicant, the applicant first named in the request and who is entitled to file in the U.S. Receiving Office shall be considered to be the common representative of all the applicants. An attorney or agent having the right to practice before a national office with which an international application is filed and for which the United States is an International Searching Authority or International Preliminary Examining Authority may be appointed to represent the applicants in the international application before that authority. An attorney or agent may appoint an associate attorney or agent who shall also then be of record ( PCT Rule 90.1 (d)). The appointment of an attorney or agent, or of a common representative, revokes any earlier appointment unless otherwise indicated ( PCT Rule 90.6 (b) and (c)).
  • (b) Appointment of an agent, attorney or common representative (PCT Rule 4.8 ) must be effected either in the Request form, signed by applicant, in the Demand form, signed by applicant, or in a separate power of attorney submitted either to the United States Receiving Office or to the International Bureau.
  • (c) Powers of attorney and revocations thereof should be submitted to the United States Receiving Office until the issuance of the international search report.
  • (d) The addressee for correspondence will be as indicated in section 108 of the Administrative Instructions .

PCT Rule 90

Agents and Common Representatives

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90.4. Manner of Appointment of Agent or Common Representative

  • (a) The appointment of an agent shall be effected by the applicant signing the request, the demand, or a separate power of attorney. Where there are two or more applicants, the appointment of a common agent or common representative shall be effected by each applicant signing, at his choice, the request, the demand or a separate power of attorney.
  • (b) Subject to Rule 90.5 , a separate power of attorney shall be submitted to either the receiving Office or the International Bureau, provided that, where a power of attorney appoints an agent under Rule 90.1 (b), (c), or (d)(ii), it shall be submitted to the International Searching Authority or the International Preliminary Examining Authority, as the case may be.
  • (c) If the separate power of attorney is not signed, or if the required separate power of attorney is missing, or if the indication of the name or address of the appointed person does not comply with Rule 4.4 , the power of attorney shall be considered nonexistent unless the defect is corrected.
  • (d) Subject to paragraph (e), any receiving Office, any International Searching Authority, any International Preliminary Examining Authority and the International Bureau may waive the requirement under paragraph (b) that a separate power of attorney be submitted to it, in which case paragraph (c) shall not apply.
  • (e) Where the agent or the common representative submits any notice of withdrawal referred to in Rules 90 bis .1 to 90 bis .4 , the requirement under paragraph (b) for a separate power of attorney shall not be waived under paragraph (d).

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Where an appointment of an agent or common representative is effected by a separate power of attorney, that power of attorney must be submitted to either the receiving Office or the International Bureau. However, a power of attorney appointing an agent or subagent to represent the applicant specifically before the International Searching Authority or the International Preliminary Examining Authority must be submitted directly to that Authority. See PCT Rule 90.4 (b).

The Customer Number Practice set forth in MPEP § 403 may not be used in the international phase to appoint an agent or designate a correspondence address. A power of attorney making use of the Customer Number Practice in the international phase to indicate the name or address of an appointed person will be considered nonexistent unless the defect is corrected. See PCT Rule 90.4 (c).

I.   “GENERAL” POWER OF ATTORNEY

PCT Rule 90

Agents and Common Representatives

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90.5. General Power of Attorney

  • (a) Appointment of an agent in relation to a particular international application may be effected by referring in the request, the demand, or a separate notice to an existing separate power of attorney appointing that agent to represent the applicant in relation to any international application which may be filed by that applicant (i.e., a “general power of attorney”), provided that:
    • (i) the general power of attorney has been deposited in accordance with paragraph (b), and
    • (ii) a copy of it is attached to the request, the demand or the separate notice, as the case may be; that copy need not be signed.
  • (b) The general power of attorney shall be deposited with the receiving Office, provided that, where it appoints an agent under Rule 90.1 (b), (c), or (d)(ii), it shall be deposited with the International Searching Authority or the International Preliminary Examining Authority, as the case may be.
  • (c) Any receiving Office, any International Searching Authority and any International Preliminary Examining Authority may waive the requirement under paragraph (a)(ii) that a copy of the general power of attorney is attached to the request, the demand or the separate notice, as the case may be.
  • (d) Notwithstanding paragraph (c), where the agent submits any notice of withdrawal referred to in Rules 90 bis .1 to 90 bis .4 to the receiving Office, the International Searching Authority or the International Preliminary Examining Authority, a copy of the general power of attorney shall be submitted to that Office or Authority.

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“General” powers of attorney are recognized for the purpose of filing and prosecuting an international application before the international authorities. See PCT Rule 90.5 .

Any general power of attorney must be filed with the receiving Office if the appointment was for the purposes of the international phase generally, or with the International Searching Authority or International Preliminary Examining Authority if the appointment was specifically to represent the applicant before that Authority. The appointment will then be effective in relation to any particular application filed by that applicant provided that the general power of attorney is referred to in the request, the Demand or a separate notice, and that a copy of the general power of attorney is attached to that request, Demand or separate notice. That copy of the signed original need not, itself, be separately signed.

II.   WAIVER OF REQUIREMENT FOR A POWER OF ATTORNEY

Pursuant to PCT Rules 90.4 (d) and 90.5 (c), which are applicable to international applications having an international filing date on or after January 1, 2004, the receiving Office, International Bureau, International Searching Authority and International Preliminary Examining Authority may waive the requirement for a separate power of attorney or copy of the general power of attorney in all cases except with respect to notice of withdrawals under PCT Rule 90 bis (i.e., notices withdrawing international applications, designations, priority claims, demands or elections). The USPTO, when acting in its capacity as a receiving Office, International Searching Authority, or International Preliminary Examining Authority, will in most cases waive the requirement for a separate power of attorney and copy of the general power of attorney in international applications having an international filing date on or after January 1, 2004. However, a separate power of attorney or copy of the general power of attorney may still be required in certain cases, e.g., where an agent’s authority to act on behalf of the applicant is in doubt.

Model power of attorney and general power of attorney forms are available online from WIPO’s web site (www.wipo.int/pct/en/index.html).

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Last Modified: 03/27/2014 10:10:33