Because Power of Attorney effectively ends at issuance, practitioners are prevented from withdrawing as attorney of record in issued patents. This can lead the public into believing that a practitioner is responsible when they are not. Law firms routinely transfer files back and forth. Some practitioners do not feel it is necessary to file a new POA for issued patents because POA is technically "ineffective." Given the electronic environment of EFS Web and Private PAIR, a practitioner needs to have POA in order to update the Correspondence and/or Fee Address. Additionally, these pieces of information are not allowed to be changed when filed via fax or mail without POA.
This results in prior counsel often remaining in the Office record long after another firm has taken responsibility, or when the former client has directly taken responsibility.
Similar to the ability to withdraw for registered trademarks, in which POA effectively ends at registration, the Office should enable practitioners to "withdraw" after patent issuance when appropriate. The form instructions could include an explanation that using the form isn't an actual withdrawal as POA ends with issuance, but rather a process to remove practitioners from the official record. TEAS includes a similar explanation for their withdrawal as attorney form.
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