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Archived updates for Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Power of Attorney for Client-Practitioners in U.S. Patents

Starting June 25, 2004, in order to give a corporate client-practitioner power of attorney and PAIR access to their own U.S. patent applications (but not those of other clients), law firms will have to set up a distinct customer number for that client's applications and then include the client in the associated list of practitioner for that customer number.  According to the USPTO comments on its recent rule changes,
A Customer Number does not need to have only patent practitioners in a single law firm associated with it. Instead, a Customer Number can be used to list all of the patent practitioners associated with a given client and who are working together to represent the client. Furthermore, to allow any of the patent practitioners access to private PAIR, Customer Number practice must be used.  All patent practitioners associated with a Customer Number do not need to be at the same address. A Customer Number can be used like a client number, with all the patent practitioners who represent the client being associated with a single Customer Number. 
If the client is willing to forgo PAIR access, then they may simply be included in the list of up to ten individual practitioners listed in a conventional power of attorney.  Alternatively, for those situations where a client who is not of record needs to take action, the law firm can provide an "Authorization to Act in a Representative Capacity" such as sample form PTO/SB/84.  This form purportedly gives the listed individuals the ability to conduct interviews and most other business with the PTO.  For example, should an examiner object to a client-practitioner who is not of record conducting an interview (without a copy of the application file), the client would still be able to represent the inventor(s) by presenting a fax copy of such an Authorization that is signed by an attorney of record.
Please feel free to pass this along to your clients and colleagues.  And, for more on the latest USPTO procedures, contact Bill Heinze (, at Thomas, Kayden, Horstemeyer & Risley LLP in Atlanta, Georgia USA.  Or, better yet, check out his free "I/P Updates" news service at  
Courtesy of William F. Heinze*
Thomas, Kayden, Horstemeyer & Risley, L.L.P.
100 Galleria Parkway, N.W., Suite 1750
Atlanta, GA 30339-5948  (USA)
Tel.:  (770) 738-2382
Fax:  (770) 951-0933
Mobile:  (404) 729-0729
E-Mail (business)
E-Mail: (personal) 
E-Mail: (mobile)

*Admitted to practice in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  Not admitted in Georgia.
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