USPTO to modify requirements for withdrawal from representation effective May 12March 18, 2008

In a notice released yesterday, the USPTO announced that it will be changing the requirements for an attorney or agent to withdraw from representation of a client in a patent matter before the Office. Currently, the requirements for withdrawal are covered by 37 C.F.R. § 10.40 and MPEP 402.06, and require that the practitioner provide a brief explanation of the reason for the withdrawal, although there is no indication of that requirement on the applicable form (PTO/SB/83). The withdrawal also has to be approved by the USPTO not less than 30 days before the expiration of any time for response currently pending.

Under the revised practice, a practitioner will have to certify they have done three things:

  1. Given reasonable notice to the client, prior to the expiration of the reply period, that the practitioner(s) intends to withdraw from employment;
  2. Delivered to the client or a duly authorized representative of the client all papers and property (including funds) to which the client is entitled; and
  3. Notified the client of any replies that may be due and the time frame within which the client must respond.

Under the new procedure, the request need only be submitted before any upcoming response is due, and may be decided after the time for response has elapsed. Also, the USPTO will also be providing an updated version of Form PTO/SB/83 with the revised requirements as well as a place to indicate the reason withdrawal is being sought from the acceptable reasons provided in 37 C.F.R. § 10.40.

To read the full release, click here.

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