Notice on the creation and implementation of a design patent practitioner bar
On May 16, 2023, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) published a Federal Register Notice (FRN) proposing the creation and implementation of a design patent practitioner bar. Based on the comments and support received, the USPTO is moving forward with the rulemaking process. To that end, the USPTO is implementing a design patent practitioner bar, wherein admitted design practitioners would practice solely in design patent matters. Details of the final rule can be found in this FRN, which will publish November 16, 2023.
“Year over year we continue to receive more design patent applications, illustrating the importance of design protection to industry and our economy,” said Kathi Vidal, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO. “Expanding the admission criteria of the patent bar encourages broader participation and keeps up with the ever-evolving technology and related teachings that qualify someone to practice before the USPTO.”
The criteria for admission to the design patent bar includes that an applicant have a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate degree in one of the following areas (or its equivalent): industrial design, product design, architecture, applied arts, graphic design, fine/studio arts, or art teacher education. In addition, as with applicants for registration to practice in all patent matters, applicants for registration to practice in design patent matters would only have to take and pass the current registration examination and pass a moral character evaluation in order to be registered.
The creation of a design patent practitioner bar does not impact the ability of those already registered to practice in any patent matters, including design patent matters, before the USPTO. Furthermore, it does not impact the ability of applicants for registration who meet the criteria to practice in all patent matters from qualifying for, and upon passing the current registration exam, practicing in any patent matters before the USPTO, including design patent matters.
To learn more, see the FRN or visit our Patent Related Notices webpage.