What is the new verification requirement for support staff? Why did you make this change?
Beginning January 20, 2024, in addition to being sponsored by a U.S.-licensed attorney, all existing and new attorney support staff will be required to verify their identity using the online or paper verification option to access trademark filing systems. We are making this change due to many instances of U.S.-licensed attorneys using the sponsorship tool to sponsor accounts for individuals who are not directly supervised by the attorney, in addition to other violations of the Trademark Verified USPTO.gov Account Agreement. For more information, read our Federal Register Notice.
As a result of this requirement, attorney support staff will follow the same one-time verification process as all other users. This helps us combat abuse of our filing systems, limit fraudulent trademark filings, and enforce the “one person, one account” rule outlined in the account agreement.
I’m an existing support staff user. How does the new requirement affect me?
If you're an existing attorney support staff user whose USPTO.gov account has already been sponsored by an attorney, you will need to verify your identity using the online or paper verification option.
When you log into our filing systems, you will be prompted to verify your identity. Though you can skip verification until the mandatory date, we strongly encourage you to verify sooner rather than later. Beginning January 20, 2024, you will not be able to access trademark filing systems until you have verified your identity using the online or paper option.
I’m a new support staff user. How does the upcoming requirement affect me?
After creating your USPTO.gov account, each time you log in to any trademark filing system, you’ll be prompted to verify your identity.
Though you can skip online or paper verification and obtain sponsorship until the mandatory date, we strongly encourage you to verify sooner rather than later. As an attorney support staff user, keep in mind that you must also be sponsored by your supervising attorney with a verified USPTO.gov account before you can access trademark filing systems.
Beginning January 20, 2024, you will not be able to access trademark filing systems until you:
- Verify your identity using the online or paper option
- Obtain sponsorship from your direct supervising attorney
I’m an existing support staff user, and I lost my sponsorships after I verified my identity. How do I get them back?
Once you verify using the online or paper option, your existing sponsorships will be preserved unless the name on your USPTO.gov account changes during online verification. This usually happens because the current name on your USPTO.gov account doesn’t exactly match the name for your ID.me account, and when ID.me sends us your verified credentials, we will automatically change your USPTO.gov account name to match the ID.me name.
If you lose any sponsorship, your sponsoring attorney can quickly re-sponsor you using the sponsorship tool.
I’m a new support staff user. Should I verify my identity before or after I obtain sponsorship?
We strongly encourage new attorney support staff to verify their identity using the online or paper options before obtaining sponsorship from their supervising attorney. Prior to January 20, 2024, if you obtain sponsorship before verification, you risk losing your sponsorships when you do eventually verify online. If this happens, you’ll need to have your sponsoring attorney re-sponsor you in the Sponsorship tool.
Beginning January 20, 2024, verification must be completed before sponsorship.
How do I get sponsored?
If your supervising attorney has a verified USPTO.gov account, they can use the Trademark sponsorship tool to sponsor you. You must have a verified USPTO.gov account and provide your sponsoring attorney with the email address associated with it. Your supervising attorney can then sponsor you in less than a minute. Ensure the name in your USPTO.gov account is up-to-date and accurate, or your supervising attorney may not be able to sponsor you.
Should all the attorneys I work with sponsor me, or is one enough?
All verified attorneys who are supervising your work must sponsor you because they are responsible for your work. Though you will be able to access our filing systems after just one attorney sponsors you, if that attorney withdraws their sponsorship, you’ll lose access and be unable to work on behalf of other attorneys until they sponsor you.
How do I use the Trademark sponsorship tool?
Only verified attorneys and their verified support staff can use the Trademark sponsorship tool. Attorney support staff can't access it until they have been sponsored. Consult the Trademark sponsorship tool guide for detailed information and examples of how to use the tool.