[Federal Register Volume 86, Number 239 (Thursday, December 16, 2021)]
[Page 71453]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2021-27221]



Patent and Trademark Office

[Docket No. PTO-C-2021-0016]

New Implementation Date for Voluntary Continuing Legal Education 

AGENCY: United States Patent and Trademark Office, Department of 

ACTION: Notice of delay in implementation date.


SUMMARY: The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO or 
Office) is delaying indefinitely the implementation of the voluntary 
continuing legal education (CLE) certification. The USPTO anticipates 
providing at least 120 days' notice prior to any implementation of the 
voluntary CLE certification.

DATES: Delay of Implementation Date: The USPTO is delaying 
implementation of the voluntary certification of CLE indefinitely.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Will Covey, Deputy General Counsel and 
Director of the Office of Enrollment and Discipline (OED), at 571-272-
4097. Please direct media inquiries to the USPTO's Office of the Chief 
Communications Officer at 571-272-8400.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On August 3, 2020, the USPTO issued a final 
rule, Setting and Adjusting Patent Fees During Fiscal Year 2020, 85 FR 
46932 (Aug. 3, 2020). Under this rule registered patent practitioners 
and individuals granted limited recognition to practice before the 
USPTO in patent matters would be permitted to voluntarily certify to 
the OED Director their completion of 6 credits of CLE in the preceding 
24 months (including 5 hours of CLE in patent law and practice and 1 
hour of CLE in ethics). 37 CFR 11.11(a)(3)(i). The 2020 final fee rule 
also provided that the OED Director may recognize practitioners who 
certify their completion of CLE in the online register of 
practitioners. 37 CFR 11.11(a)(1).
    On October 9, 2020, the USPTO published proposed CLE guidelines 
with a request for comments in the Federal Register, seeking public 
input on those guidelines. 85 FR 64128. The request for comments closed 
on January 7, 2021. The USPTO received 26 comments addressing both the 
proposed CLE guidelines and the provisions of the final patent fee rule 
that establish the biennial electronic registration statement.
    On June 10, 2021, the USPTO issued a Federal Register Notice 
announcing that the voluntary CLE certification would commence in the 
spring of 2022 but that implementation of the biennial electronic 
registration statement would be delayed until November 1, 2024. 86 FR 
    At this time, based on operational priorities, implementation of 
the voluntary CLE certification will be delayed indefinitely. The 
expected implementation date for the biennial electronic registration 
statement remains November 1, 2024.
    The USPTO will provide at least 120 days' notice prior to the 
implementation of the voluntary CLE certification. In addition, the 
USPTO will issue final CLE guidelines and specific instructions for 
making the certification prior to any implementation date.

Andrew Hirshfeld,
Commissioner for Patents, Performing the Functions and Duties of the 
Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of 
the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
[FR Doc. 2021-27221 Filed 12-15-21; 8:45 am]