10 April 2017
Washington DC
Reporter: Barney Dixon
Chinese patent agent denied USPTO licence
A Chinese graduate with a US student visa cannot register as a patent agent at the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has ruled.

The Federal Circuit upheld on 5 April the USPTO’s decision to deny Jinyang Guo admission as a patent agent, after he failed to disclose in his immigration application that he intended to work in patent law

Guo submitted his application to the USPTO, but was denied by the office of enrollment and discipline (OED) in July 2015.

He took his case to the US District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, which agreed with the USPTO, ruling that the decision was not “arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or contrary to law”.

Guo sought authorisation for temporary employment to pursue work in the area of electrical engineering, alongside his application as a patent agent, but his application to the US immigration authorities didn’t disclose an intention to work in patent law.

Michael McCabe, founder of McCabe law, an ethics law firm that often deals with OED disputes, said the ruling “should be a wake-up call for any non-US citizen who wants to receive a federal licence to practice patent law before the USPTO”.

“These individuals may very well have the technical competency, but technical competency is just one requirement for admission to the US Patent Bar.”

The USPTO appeared to have been “within its right” to deny Guo’s admission, “based solely on the fact that Guo was only authorised to seek employment as an engineer, and not in the legal field”, according to McCabe.

“This limitation can be confusing to some non-US patent practitioners because other countries may consider preparing and prosecuting patent applications to be a job primarily in the field of science, not a job primarily in the field of law.”

He added: “As an engineer, Guo would be permitted to work for other lawyers and registered patent agents—which appears to be what he was doing.”

More news
The latest news from IPPro Patents
Join Our Newsletter

Sign up today and never
miss the latest news or an issue again

Subscribe now
Patent dance question to be heard today
26 April 2017 | Washington DC | Reporter: Barney Dixon
A decision either way could lead to a firmer definition of the ‘patent dance’ procedure
Green Mountain Glass wins $50.3 Million from rival
25 April 2017 | Delaware | Reporter: Mark Dugdale
The award for wilful infringement was handed down on 21 April. Green Mountain Glass’s patent covers technology that allows glass manufacturers to use recycled glass of mixed colours
McGuireWoods snags ITC expert
24 April 2017 | Washington DC | Reporter: Barney Dixon
Steven Adkins has joined the firm’s Washington DC office as partner
Qualcomm signs patent license agreement in India
24 April 2017 | Hyderabad | Reporter: Barney Dixon
The patent licence will grant Smartron the right to develop, manufacture and sell WCDMA, CDMA2000 and 4G LTE complete devices
Rimon chooses two tech experts
24 April 2017 | Washington DC | Reporter: Barney Dixon
Rimon has added two partners to its Washington DC and New York offices
Tech and car innovators back Qualcomm litigation
24 April 2017 | Washington DC | Reporter: Katherine Brown
The 20 April letter was signed by 15 organisations, including The App Association, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, Dell, Intel and Samsung
Wolters Kluwer’s Cheetah makes new leap with ktMINE collaboration
21 April 2017 | New York | Reporter: Stephanie Palmer
Using the Wolters Kluwer legal research platform Cheetah, the collaboration will allow users to access IP content relevant to negotiating royalty rates and concluding licensing agreements