Trademark rule requires foreign applicants and registrants to have a U.S.-licensed attorney

Does this rule affect me?

  • Foreign-domiciled trademark applicants, registrants, and parties to Trademark Trial and Appeal Board proceedings, including Canadian trademark filers, must be represented at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) by an attorney who is licensed to practice law in the United States. See more about foreign-domiciled trademark applicants, registrants, and parties.
  • U.S.-licensed attorneys representing trademark filers must provide all of the following:
    • Their name, postal address, and email address
    • A statement attesting to their active membership in good standing of a bar of the highest court of a U.S. state, commonwealth, or territory
    • Information concerning their bar membership (state, number if applicable, and year of admission).

      See more about U.S.-licensed attorneys.

  • Canadian patent agents are no longer authorized to represent Canadian trademark applicants, registrants, or parties before the USPTO in trademark matters. See more about Canadian patent agents.
  • Canadian trademark attorneys and agents continue, if eligible, to be recognized as additionally appointed practitioners who can represent their Canadian clients, although the USPTO will correspond only with the appointed U.S.-licensed attorney. See more about Canadian trademark attorneys and agents.

See the final rule.

When is this rule effective?

This rule went into effect on August 3, 2019.

What are the goals of this rule?

The rule is intended to:

  • Increase USPTO customer compliance with U.S. trademark law and USPTO regulations.
  • Improve the accuracy of trademark submissions to the USPTO.
  • Safeguard the integrity of the U.S. trademark register. 

Why is this rule in place?

Businesses rely on the U.S. trademark register to make important legal decisions about their brands. In order to maintain the accuracy and integrity of the register, for the benefit of all its users, the USPTO must have the appropriate tools to enforce compliance by all applicants and registrants. We discovered an increasing number of foreign trademark applicants, registrants, and parties are filing inaccurate and possibly fraudulent submissions with the USPTO that do not comply with U.S. trademark law or the USPTO’s rules. Often, these submissions are made with the assistance of foreign individuals or entities not authorized to represent applicants at the USPTO.

Many countries already require local attorneys to represent applicants. A significant number of trademark offices around the world require foreign-domiciled applicants and registrants to obtain local counsel as a condition for filing papers with those trademark offices.

This rule affects me. What should I do?


To learn about our examination procedures in light of these new requirements, read our exam guide, “Requirement of U.S.-Licensed Attorney for Foreign Trademark Applicants and Registrants.”

How does this rule affect how I use TEAS?

TEAS and TEASi forms have new requirements and have been updated to comply with this rule. Review the new requirements and updates.

Questions?

Email TMpolicy@uspto.gov with any questions.