Office of Enrollment and Discipline


About the Office of Enrollment and Discipline

The Office of Enrollment and Discipline (OED) is responsible for registering attorneys and agents to practice before the USPTO and for developing and administering the registration examination. Only registered patent attorneys and agents, as well as individuals granted limited recognition are permitted to practice before the USPTO in patent matters. Additionally, the OED investigates allegations of misconduct by practitioners and administers and oversees the USPTO Law School Clinic Certification and Patent Pro Bono programs.

Changes to USPTO trademark rules of practice for foreign-domiciled trademark applicants and registrants beginning August 2019

On July 2, 2019, the USPTO published new regulations regarding the practice of trademark law before the USPTO that are effective on August 3, 2019. The regulations require applicants, registrants, or parties to a trademark proceeding whose domicile is not located within the United States or its territories to be represented by an attorney who is an active member in good standing of the bar of the highest court of one of the 50 states (or the District of Columbia or any commonwealth or territory of the U.S.). The new rules also remove the authorization for reciprocal recognition to practice in trademark matters before the USPTO based solely on a foreign attorney or agent’s authorization to practice before a foreign intellectual property office in patent matters. 

The final rule and information about it is available on the new trademark rule page.

Patent and trademark practitioners

Current patent and trademark practitioners, as well as those interested in becoming a practitioner may visit the Patent and trademark practitioners page for information on ethics rules, General Requirements Bulletin, exam information, and more.  Applicants and inventors may also find contact information and public disciplinary decisions regarding practitioners.

Patent and trademark practitioners

All attorneys and agents practicing before the USPTO in trademark or patent matters are subject to the USPTO Rules of Professional Conduct set forth in 37 C.F.R. §§ 11.101 et. seq. and disciplinary jurisdiction under 37 C.F.R. § 11.19(a). Additionally, unauthorized individuals who represent others before the USPTO are subject to the disciplinary jurisdiction of the USPTO. See 37 C.F.R. §11.19(a).

OED Director's biography

As Deputy General Counsel and Director for the Office of Enrollment and Discipline (OED), Will Covey is responsible for ensuring that the nation’s patent attorneys and agents are of good moral character and sufficiently knowledgeable to practice before the USPTO.  Mr. Covey’s team of attorneys and other professionals develop and administer a registration examination designed to measure applicants' knowledge of patent law and practice. Successful applicants are registered to practice by OED. In addition, OED investigates complaints of unethical conduct made against individuals practicing patent or trademark law before the USPTO.

Mr. Covey has held a number of key positions in the USPTO, including acting general counsel and deputy general counsel for the Office of General Law. Mr. Covey was appointed to the Senior Executive Service in 2007. 

Mr. Covey received his undergraduate degree from Fordham University (Magna Cum Laude, Phi Beta Kappa) and earned his J.D. from Fordham University Law School in 1991. He graduated from Harvard University's JFK School of Government (Senior Executive Fellowship) in 2005 and the U.S. Army War College with an M.S. (Strategic Studies) in 2010.

Prior to joining the USPTO in 2000, Mr. Covey was a special assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey. He also served on active duty in the Pentagon. He is currently a senior officer in the Army Reserve assigned to the Army Staff, Office of the Judge Advocate General. He completed combat tours in Iraq (2007) and Afghanistan (2011) and served as deputy legal counsel to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Contact OED

Phone: 571-272-4097
Fax: 571-273-0074

Mailing Address:
Mail Stop OED
U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
PO Box 1450
Alexandria, VA 22313-1450

Speaking engagements

Access information regarding past OED speaking engagements and presentations.

OED Speaking Engagements