Expanded PTAB Panel Outlines Requirements for Unregistered Practitioners

Non-registered practitioners may, in limited circumstances, be permitted to appear before the Patent Trial & Appeal Board on a pro hac vice basis. 37 C.F.R § 42.10(c). In a previous discussion on this topic, I relayed the explanation of Chief Judge Smith that was provided on the USPTO website (America Invents Act (AIA) micro site) relative to the philosophies behind the PTAB’s pro hac vice rule proposal.

Earlier this month, an expanded panel of the PTAB issued the first order authorizing motions for pro hac vice admission in (IPR2013-00010) (order here).

The Order outlines the requirements for the motion an accompanying declaration as follows:

Content of Motion

A motion for pro hac vice admission must:

a. Contain a statement of facts showing there is good cause for the Board to recognize counsel pro hac vice during the proceeding.

b. Be accompanied by an affidavit or declaration of the individual seeking to appear attesting to the following:

i. Membership in good standing of the Bar of at least one State or the District of Columbia;

ii. No suspensions or disbarments from practice before any court or administrative body;

iii. No application for admission to practice before any court or administrative body ever denied;

iv. No sanctions or contempt citations imposed by any court or administrative body;

v. The individual seeking to appear has read and will comply with the Office Patent Trial Practice Guide and the Board’s Rules of Practice for Trials set forth in part 42 of the C.F.R.;

vi. The individual will be subject to the USPTO Code of Professional Responsibility set forth in 37 C.F.R. §§ 10.20 et seq. and disciplinary jurisdiction under 37 C.F.R. § 11.19(a);

vii. All other proceedings before the Office for which the individual has applied to appear pro hac vice in the last three (3) years; and

viii. Familiarity with the subject matter at issue in the proceeding.

c. Where the affiant or declarant is unable to provide any of the information requested above in part 2(b) or make any of the required statements or representations under oath, the individual should provide a full explanation of the circumstances as part of the affidavit or declaration.

With respect to the IPR and CBM filings to date, pursuit of pro hac vice admission appears to be relatively uncommon (roughly 10-15% of cases). (Note that item (vi) will be necessary until the proposed professional responsibility rules are implemented).