Non-attorneys are not legally allowed to represent applicants or registrants, whether precluded or not.


A non-attorney, such as an unlawful filing firm, may receive an order for sanctions that precludes them from representing applicants or registrants before the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). If an applicant or registrant is required to or wants to be represented before the USPTO, then they must hire a U.S.-licensed attorney.


Attorneys may be excluded from practicing before the USPTO through the Office of Enrollment and Discipline (OED). Anyone who is precluded or excluded cannot submit any documents to the USPTO on an applicant’s or registrant’s behalf.


When a non-attorney is precluded:


The USPTO changes the correspondence address for each affected application or registration to that of the applicant, registrant, or domestic representative and will notify the affected applicant or registrant that:


  • The precluded non-attorney cannot practice before the USPTO in trademark matters and can’t represent the applicant or registrant.
  • Any action the precluded non-attorney took while representing the applicant or registrant is invalid from whenever the precluded non-attorney started representation.
  • The precluded non-attorney cannot sign responses to office actions, authorize examiner’s amendments or priority actions, conduct interviews with USPTO employees, or otherwise represent an applicant or registrant to a proceeding before the USPTO.
  • All correspondence concerning the application or registration will be sent to the domestic representative, if one has been appointed, or to the applicant or registrant at the address of record.

The above consequences apply to excluded attorneys too and also include:

  • Any power of attorney that was granted to the excluded attorney is invalid from the moment the excluded attorney took action.     


What to do if the non-attorney is precluded or the attorney is excluded

What to do when your application is abandoned

What to do if your registration expires or is canceled


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Non-attorneys are not legally allowed to represent applicants or registrants, whether precluded or not.