As a general reminder, only U.S.-licensed attorneys are allowed to practice law in trademark matters at the USPTO. We encourage you to review the federal regulations governing practice before the Office. If your situation is not addressed below, or you still have questions, the USPTO’s Office of Enrollment and Discipline can assist you further.
I’m a paralegal at a company, and my duties include handling trademark filings under the direction of a corporate officer, but there is no attorney supervising me. What is my role?
A paralegal without a direct financial interest in the outcome of the registration process working as a direct employee of the owner, should choose the owner role if they are acting as a “mere scrivener” whose work is being directed by someone who can bind the owner. An employee of a juristic entity trademark owner who is not being supervised by an attorney and acting as more than a mere scrivener may be engaging in the unauthorized practice of law.
Can my company just create one account for all employees to use?
Multiple individuals are not allowed to access or use a single USPTO.gov account. This is a violation of the Account Agreement. USPTO.gov accounts are tied to an individual and that individual’s identity must be verified (or attested to by the sponsoring attorney) so that the USPTO can monitor filing activities and sanction the appropriate party if there is misuse of the account.
I’m a corporate officer. Do I need to verify an account just to sign applications on behalf of the corporation when another officer or one of my employees with a verified account ultimately submits?
You currently do not need a verified account to sign documents. A corporate attorney, officer, or employee that is directly employed by you, without a financial interest in the outcome of the registration process, and with a verified account, can send documents for you to personally sign. Once signed, the employee can validate and file the submissions, if that employee can make the necessary certifications as to the filing under 37 C.F.R. § 11.18.
I’m a trademark owner and I contract out my trademark prosecution work to a law firm or a non-attorney entity, such as a trademark preparation and filing company. Can employees at the law firm or non-attorney entity verify their identity for the USPTO.gov account and claim the owner role since I employ them to work on my business’ trademark matters?
The law firm attorney working on your matters should verify their own USPTO.gov account using the attorney role. That attorney’s support staff that works on your trademark prosecution matters under the supervision of the attorney must be sponsored by that attorney. There is no appropriate user role for employees of a non-attorney trademark preparation or filing company to select because they are not directly employed by you.
I’m an attorney, but I currently serve as the president of my own company and don’t directly supervise support staff or actively practice law. What is my role?
In this limited situation, choose the owner role if you’re only filing in your personal capacity or as an officer of your company. Keep in mind that you will not be able to sponsor support staff if you choose this role. Attorneys who engage in the practice of law as part of their ordinary job activities should always choose an attorney role.
I’m a paralegal who runs my own business performing searches, offering filing services, and providing basic legal trademark assistance for clients. What role should I choose?
There is no appropriate user role for an independent person who prepares or files trademark submissions to the USPTO on behalf of others but is not an attorney nor affiliated with, or supervised by, an attorney.
I’m a U.S.-licensed attorney and partner in a law firm. May I sponsor my firm’s associates who are attorneys but work under my supervision?
You may not sponsor another attorney as your support staff. Each attorney must have their own USPTO.gov account and verify their identity.
I’m a U.S.-licensed attorney with many foreign-domiciled clients who use foreign trademark firms to instruct us. May I sponsor a foreign trademark firm associate’s USPTO.gov account?
You may not sponsor a foreign or domestic company, group, client, agent, attorney or any other practitioner. You may only sponsor support staff that are employed by your firm or company and work under your direct supervision.
I’m a U.S.-licensed attorney. May I direct my paralegal to sign my name to the application?
No. Under USPTO rules, submissions must be personally signed, and signatures are non-delegable. Authorizing someone who is not the signatory to sign a trademark submission jeopardizes the validity of the submission and may affect the validity of the entire application or registration.
I think I selected the wrong role. Can I change it?
Once the verification process is complete, your user role is locked. You can request to change it by emailing TEAS@uspto.gov. Use the subject line “Mistake in ID Verification User Role.” Include all of the following information in the email body:
- Your full name and telephone number
- The email address associated with your verified USPTO.gov account
- Your current user role and the role you would like it corrected to
- A brief explanation of why you need to change user roles
We will review your request and respond within three business days.