In addition to those who cannot take the Patent Bar Exam because they do not possess the requisite scientific background, there are others who cannot take the exam and become patent attorneys or agents for a variety of other reasons. These include those who have been convicted of a felony, those who have been disbarred or suspended and those who have previously been denied due to lack of appropriate moral character. Each are described more fully below:
Applicants who are not United States citizens and do not reside in the U.S. are not eligible for registration except as permitted by 37 CFR § 11.6(c). The registration examination is not administered to aliens who do not reside in the United States.
Aliens residing in the United States may, however, apply to take the registration examination. To be admitted to the examination, an applicant must establish that recognition is consistent with the capacity of employment authorized by the Unites States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) (formerly U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (“INS”)). The evidence must include a copy of both sides of any work or training authorization and copies of all documents submitted to and received from the USCIS regarding admission to the United States and a copy of any documentation submitted to the U.S. Department of Labor.
Qualifying documentation would show that the USCIS has authorized the applicant to be employed or trained in the capacity of representing patent applicants before the USPTO by preparing and prosecuting their patent applications. Any USCIS approval pending at that time will result in the applicant’s application being denied admission to the examination.
Presently, the Canadian Patent Office is the only Patent Office recognized as allowing substantially reciprocal privileges to those admitted to practice before the USPTO.
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Conviction” or “convicted” is defined by 37 CFR 11.1 as meaning any confession to a crime; a verdict or judgment finding a person guilty of a crime; any entered plea, including nolo contender or Alford plea, to a crime; or receipt of deferred adjudication (whether judgment or sentence has been entered or not) for an accused or pled crime. Applicants convicted of a felony, or a crime involving moral turpitude or breach of trust, are not eligible for registration or to apply for registration during the time of any sentence (including confinement or commitment to imprisonment), deferred adjudication, and period of probation or parole as a result of the conviction and for a period of two years after the date of successful completion of said sentence, deferred adjudication, and probation or parole. See 37 CFR § 11.7(h)(1). Such applicants must file with an Application for Registration the fees required by 37 CFR §§ 1.21(a)(1)(ii) and 1.21(a)(10) of this subchapter. The OED Director will determine whether the person has produced satisfactory proof of reform and rehabilitation, including at a minimum a sufficient period of exemplary conduct. An applicant subject to the provisions of 37 CFR § 11.7(h)(1) must submit the fee specified in 37 CFR § 1.21(a)(10) for each determination by the OED Director under 37 CFR § 11.7.
Applicants who have been disbarred from practice of law or other profession, or who have resigned a professional license in lieu of a disciplinary proceeding, are ineligible to apply for registration for a period of five years from the date of disbarment or resignation. Applicants suspended on ethical grounds from the practice of law or other profession are ineligible to apply for registration until expiration of the period of suspension. An applicant who, in addition to being disbarred, suspended or resigned, also has been convicted of a felony or a crime involving moral turpitude or breach of trust is ineligible to apply for registration until the conditions of both 37 CFR §§ 11.7(h)(1) and 11.7 (h)(4) have been fully satisfied. See 37 CFR § 11.7(h)(4). An applicant subject to the provisions of 37 CFR § 11.7(h)(4) must submit the fee specified in 37 CFR § 1.21(a)(10) for each determination by the OED Director under 37 CFR § 11.7.
Previously Denied For Lack Good of Moral Character:
Applicants refused registration for lack of present good moral character and reputation in a USPTO Director’s decision; or in the absence of a USPTO Director’s decision, in a recommendation of the OED Director and Committee on Enrollment, are ineligible to reapply for registration for two years after the date of the decision, unless a shorter period is otherwise ordered by the USPTO Director. An applicant under investigation for moral character and reputation who elects to withdraw his or her application is ineligible to reapply for registration for two years after the date of withdrawal. See 37 CFR § 11.7(k). Such an applicant must pay the fees required by 37 CFR §§ 1.21(a)(1)(ii) and 1.21(a)(10) upon filing an application, and has the burden of showing his or her fitness to practice. The applicant also must pass the registration examination even if applicant previously passed the examination. An applicant subject to the provisions of 37 CFR § 11.7(k) must submit the fee specified in 37 CFR § 1.21(a)(10) for each determination by the OED Director under 37 CFR § 11.7. For purposes of 37 CFR § 1.21(a)(10), an applicant who withdraws his or her application during an investigation for moral character and reputation will be considered to have obtained a determination by the OED Director under 37 CFR § 11.7.
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