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e-CFR data is current as of October 22, 2020

Title 37Chapter IPart 11Subpart D → Subject Group

Title 37: Patents, Trademarks, and Copyrights
Subpart D—USPTO Rules of Professional Conduct

Information About Legal Services

§11.701   Communications concerning a practitioner's services.

A practitioner shall not make a false or misleading communication about the practitioner or the practitioner's services. A communication is false or misleading if it contains a material misrepresentation of fact or law, or omits a fact necessary to make the statement considered as a whole not materially misleading.

§11.702   Advertising.

(a) Subject to the requirements of §§11.701 and 11.703, a practitioner may advertise services through written, recorded or electronic communication, including public media.

(b) A practitioner shall not give anything of value to a person for recommending the practitioner's services except that a practitioner may:

(1) Pay the reasonable costs of advertisements or communications permitted by this section;

(2) [Reserved]

(3) Pay for a law practice in accordance with §11.117; and

(4) Refer clients to another practitioner or a non-practitioner professional pursuant to an agreement not otherwise prohibited under the USPTO Rules of Professional Conduct that provides for the other person to refer clients or customers to the practitioner, if:

(i) The reciprocal referral agreement is not exclusive, and

(ii) The client is informed of the existence and nature of the agreement.

(c) Any communication made pursuant to this section shall include the name and office address of at least one practitioner or law firm responsible for its content.

§11.703   Direct contact with prospective clients.

(a) A practitioner shall not by in-person, live telephone or real-time electronic contact solicit professional employment from a prospective client when a significant motive for the practitioner's doing so is the practitioner's pecuniary gain, unless the person contacted:

(1) Is a practitioner; or

(2) Has a family, close personal, or prior professional relationship with the practitioner.

(b) A practitioner shall not solicit professional employment from a prospective client by written, recorded or electronic communication or by in-person, telephone or real-time electronic contact even when not otherwise prohibited by paragraph (a) of this section, if:

(1) The prospective client has made known to the practitioner a desire not to be solicited by the practitioner; or

(2) The solicitation involves coercion, duress or harassment.

(c) Every written, recorded or electronic communication from a practitioner soliciting professional employment from a prospective client known to be in need of legal services in a particular matter shall include the words “Advertising Material” on the outside envelope, if any, and at the beginning and ending of any recorded or electronic communication, unless the recipient of the communication is a person specified in paragraphs (a)(1) or (a)(2) of this section.

(d) Notwithstanding the prohibitions in paragraph (a) of this section, a practitioner may participate with a prepaid or group legal service plan operated by an organization not owned or directed by the practitioner that uses in-person or telephone contact to solicit memberships or subscriptions for the plan from persons who are not known to need legal services in a particular matter covered by the plan.

§11.704   Communication of fields of practice and specialization.

(a) A practitioner may communicate the fact that the practitioner does or does not practice in particular fields of law.

(b) A registered practitioner who is an attorney may use the designation “Patents,” “Patent Attorney,” “Patent Lawyer,” “Registered Patent Attorney,” or a substantially similar designation. A registered practitioner who is not an attorney may use the designation “Patents,” “Patent Agent,” “Registered Patent Agent,” or a substantially similar designation. Unless authorized by §11.14(b), a registered patent agent shall not hold himself or herself out as being qualified or authorized to practice before the Office in trademark matters or before a court.

(c) [Reserved]

(d) A practitioner shall not state or imply that a practitioner is certified as a specialist in a particular field of law, unless:

(1) The practitioner has been certified as a specialist by an organization that has been approved by an appropriate state authority or that has been accredited by the American Bar Association; and

(2) The name of the certifying organization is clearly identified in the communication.

(e) An individual granted limited recognition under §11.9 may use the designation “Limited Recognition.”

§11.705   Firm names and letterheads.

(a) A practitioner shall not use a firm name, letterhead or other professional designation that violates §11.701. A trade name may be used by a practitioner in private practice if it does not imply a connection with a government agency or with a public or charitable legal services organization and is not otherwise in violation of §11.701.

(b) [Reserved]

(c) The name of a practitioner holding a public office shall not be used in the name of a law firm, or in communications on its behalf, during any substantial period in which the practitioner is not actively and regularly practicing with the firm.

§§11.706-11.800   [Reserved]

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