What is a trademark Power of Attorney?
In a trademark application filed with the USPTO, a Power of Attorney (POA) is a form signed by the applicant to appoint an attorney and/or a law firm to prosecute the trademark application.
Unrepresented Trademark Owners
For previously unrepresented trademark applicants or registrants, a newly appearing attorney may sign certain online trademark forms, such as Office Action responses, without having to secure a signed Power of Attorney from the client [see TMEP 605.01].
Foreign attorneys and patent agents are not recognized as qualified practitioners in US trademark applications. As long as no other qualified practitioner had previously been appointed in a US trademark application, it is not necessary for a qualified practitioner (i.e., US attorney at law) to file a Power of Attorney or obtain special authorization in a trademark case [see TMEP 604.01].
Most international applicants who enter the US through an international Madrid Protocol trademark application are located outside the US and represented by foreign counsel. Such Madrid applicants would be considered previously unrepresented since their foreign attorneys would not be licensed to practice law in the US. Therefore, a US attorney may file a trademark Office Action response on behalf such a Madrid applicant without having to first file a signed power of attorney.
Represented Trademark Owners
Applicants formerly represented by a US attorney of record must sign a new Power of Attorney if they wish to revoke the prior attorney and appoint new counsel.
When can new counsel file a response with the USPTO?
Once a new executed Power of Attorney has been filed to revoke a previous power, new counsel may immediately file an Office Action response. New counsel need not wait for the USPTO to process the new Power of Attorney before responding to the Office Action.
When does a trademark Power of Attorney end?
How does a TM POA differ from an appointment of domestic representative?
A domestic representative acts an agent for service of process if and when a legal action is brought against a trademark application or registration. Copies of documents, such as a TTAB complaint for opposition or cancellation, must then be served on the domestic representative. Trademark owners outside the US are encouraged by the USPTO to designate domestic representatives for their US trademark filings [see TMEP 610].