USPTO Publishes Proposed Guidelines On USPTO CLE Credit

Published date15 October 2020
Subject MatterIntellectual Property, Patent
Law FirmFoley & Lardner
AuthorMs Courtenay Brinckerhoff

The USPTO has published proposed guidelines on the types of courses and activities that will qualify for USPTO CLE credit which practitioners may voluntarily report in the mandatory biennial registration statements that will be required beginning March 1, 2022.

Mandatory Biennial Registration Statements, But Not Mandatory CLE

The final rules package published August 3, 2020 included changes to 37 CFR part 11, relating to practice before the USPTO that will require registered practitioners to file, on a biennial basis, "a registration statement ... for the purpose of ascertaining whether such practitioner desires to remain in an active status." Failure to file a registration statement may result in administrative suspension, i.e., loss of authorization to practice before the USPTO.

The final rules package also provides that registered practitioners may certify that they have completed voluntary "USPTO CLE credits," and that the USPTO may publish whether practitioners have done so in its on-line practitioner directory.

As set forth in new 37 CFR ' 11.11(a)(3):

A registered practitioner, or person granted limited recognition under ' 11.9(b), who has completed, in the past 24 months, five hours of continuing legal education credits in patent law and practice and one hour of continuing legal education credit in ethics, may certify such completion to the OED director.

As set forth in 37 CFR ' 11.11(a)(1):

The OED director may ... publish the continuing legal education certification status of each registered practitioner, or person granted limited recognition under ' 11.9(b).

Thus, under the final rule changes, earning and reporting 5+1 hours of USPTO CLE credits is voluntary, but the USPTO seeks to encourage practitioners to do so by publicly recognizing those who do.

Confirming the voluntary nature of the USPTO CLE credits, the October 9, 2020 Federal Register Notice expressly states:

No practitioner or person granted limited recognition pursuant to 37 CFR 11.9(b) is required by the USPTO or the OED to complete CLE credits.

In the October 9, 2020 Federal Register Notice, the USPTO solicits input on how it should recognize practitioners who certify completion of the 5+1 hours of USPTO CLE credit. The notice proposes to do so by including a notation in the practitioner's profile:

This practitioner has certified completion of six credits of continuing legal education within the previous 24 months.

Guidance And Requested Input On USPTO CLE Credits


To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT