New USTPO Rule: Foreign Trademark Applicants Now Need a U.S. Attorney


Starting August 3, 2019, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) implemented a new rule that impacts foreign companies and individuals who want to file trademarks in the U.S. If you're based outside the U.S., this rule is crucial for you. Let's break down what you need to know in simple terms.

What’s the New Rule?

If you’re not located in the U.S. or its territories, you must hire a licensed U.S. attorney to handle almost any trademark-related filing. This includes:

  • New trademark applications
  • Responses to USPTO inquiries
  • Proof of commercial use filings
  • Renewals
  • Address changes
  • Assignments of rights

Why This Rule?

The USPTO wants to ensure that all trademark filings meet U.S. legal standards. A licensed U.S. attorney can help you navigate the complexities of U.S. trademark law, ensuring your filings are correct and your rights are protected.

Exceptions to the Rule

  • Zahraniční občané žijící v USA: Mohou podat přihlášku bez amerického právního zástupce, ale musíte prokázat, že legálně žijí v USA.
  • Zahraniční firmy s ústředím v USA: Mohou podat přihlášku bez amerického právního zástupce, pokud prokáží svou základnu v USA.
  • Přihlášky podle Madridského protokolu: Tyto mohou dočasně pokračovat bez amerického právního zástupce kvůli omezením systému.
  • Kanadští občané: Oprávnění kanadští zástupci mohou stále zpracovávat podání, ale musí jmenovat amerického právního zástupce jako svého domácího zástupce.

Common Questions

  • I have a registered trademark. Do I need a U.S. attorney?
    Your registration is still valid, but you'll need a U.S. attorney for any updates or renewals. They can also provide valuable advice to strengthen your legal protection.


  • I filed my application myself. Is it invalid now?
    Not immediately. You’ll get an Office Action requiring you to appoint a U.S. attorney within three months. If you don’t, your application will be abandoned.


  • Why must I pay legal fees for a simple form?
    Trademark registration involves more than just filling out a form. An experienced attorney makes many legal decisions to ensure your trademark is strong and protected.

Beware of Low-Cost Filing Services

With the new rule, some new or inexperienced attorneys might offer ultra-low-cost services. Be cautious of these offers. They often mean little to no application review, which can jeopardize your trademark protection. Always choose an attorney with experience and knowledge in trademark law to get the best advice for your business.

Final Thoughts

Navigating U.S. trademark law can be complex, especially for those outside the USA. Hiring a licensed U.S. attorney ensures that your filings are handled correctly and your trademarks are well protected. We collaborate with trusted representatives from renowned American law firms specializing in intellectual property protection. Their expert advice can save you costs associated with issues arising from the differences between American and European legal approaches. Don't hesitate to reach out to us!