35 U.S.C. 2: Powers and duties

Taken from the Ninth Edition of the MPEP, Revision 07.2015, Last Revised in November 2015

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35 U.S.C. 2    Powers and duties.

  • (a) IN GENERAL.— The United States Patent and Trademark Office, subject to the policy direction of the Secretary of Commerce—
    • (1) shall be responsible for the granting and issuing of patents and the registration of trademarks; and
    • (2) shall be responsible for disseminating to the public information with respect to patents and trademarks.
  • (b) SPECIFIC POWERS.— The Office—
    • (1) shall adopt and use a seal of the Office, which shall be judicially noticed and with which letters patent, certificates of trademark registrations, and papers issued by the Office shall be authenticated;
    • (2) may establish regulations, not inconsistent with law, which—
      • (A) shall govern the conduct of proceedings in the Office;
      • (B) shall be made in accordance with section 553 of title 5;
      • (C) shall facilitate and expedite the processing of patent applications, particularly those which can be filed, stored, processed, searched, and retrieved electronically, subject to the provisions of section 122 relating to the confidential status of applications;
      • (D) may govern the recognition and conduct of agents, attorneys, or other persons representing applicants or other parties before the Office, and may require them, before being recognized as representatives of applicants or other persons, to show that they are of good moral character and reputation and are possessed of the necessary qualifications to render to applicants or other persons valuable service, advice, and assistance in the presentation or prosecution of their applications or other business before the Office;
      • (E) shall recognize the public interest in continuing to safeguard broad access to the United States patent system through the reduced fee structure for small entities under section 41(h(1);
      • (F) provide for the development of a performance-based process that includes quantitative and qualitative measures and standards for evaluating cost-effectiveness and is consistent with the principles of impartiality and competitiveness; and
      • (G) may, subject to any conditions prescribed by the Director and at the request of the patent applicant, provide for prioritization of examination of applications for products, processes, or technologies that are important to the national economy or national competitiveness without recovering the aggregate extra cost of providing such prioritization, notwithstanding section 41 or any other provision of law;
    • (3) may acquire, construct, purchase, lease, hold, manage, operate, improve, alter, and renovate any real, personal, or mixed property, or any interest therein, as it considers necessary to carry out its functions;
    • (4)
      • (A) may make such purchases, contracts for the construction, or management and operation of facilities, and contracts for supplies or services, without regard to the provisions of subtitle I and chapter 33 of title 40, division C (except sections 3302, 3501(b), 3509, 3906, 4710, and 4711) of subtitle I of title 41, and the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. 11301 et seq.);
      • (B) may enter into and perform such purchases and contracts for printing services, including the process of composition, platemaking, presswork, silk screen processes, binding, microform, and the products of such processes, as it considers necessary to carry out the functions of the Office, without regard to sections 501 through 517 and 1101 through 1123 of title 44;
    • (5) may use, with their consent, services, equipment, personnel, and facilities of other departments, agencies, and instrumentalities of the Federal Government, on a reimbursable basis, and cooperate with such other departments, agencies, and instrumentalities in the establishment and use of services, equipment, and facilities of the Office;
    • (6) may, when the Director determines that it is practicable, efficient, and cost-effective to do so, use, with the consent of the United States and the agency, instrumentality, Patent and Trademark Office, or international organization concerned, the services, records, facilities, or personnel of any State or local government agency or instrumentality or foreign patent and trademark office or international organization to perform functions on its behalf;
    • (7) may retain and use all of its revenues and receipts, including revenues from the sale, lease, or disposal of any real, personal, or mixed property, or any interest therein, of the Office;
    • (8) shall advise the President, through the Secretary of Commerce, on national and certain international intellectual property policy issues;
    • (9) shall advise Federal departments and agencies on matters of intellectual property policy in the United States and intellectual property protection in other countries;
    • (10) shall provide guidance, as appropriate, with respect to proposals by agencies to assist foreign governments and international intergovernmental organizations on matters of intellectual property protection;
    • (11) may conduct programs, studies, or exchanges of items or services regarding domestic and international intellectual property law and the effectiveness of intellectual property protection domestically and throughout the world, and the Office is authorized to expend funds to cover the subsistence expenses and travel-related expenses, including per diem, lodging costs, and transportation costs, of persons attending such programs who are not Federal employees;
    • (12)
      • (A) shall advise the Secretary of Commerce on programs and studies relating to intellectual property policy that are conducted, or authorized to be conducted, cooperatively with foreign intellectual property offices and international intergovernmental organizations; and
      • (B) may conduct programs and studies described in subparagraph (A); and
    • (13)
      • (A) in coordination with the Department of State, may conduct programs and studies cooperatively with foreign intellectual property offices and international intergovernmental organizations; and
      • (B) with the concurrence of the Secretary of State, may authorize the transfer of not to exceed $100,000 in any year to the Department of State for the purpose of making special payments to international intergovernmental organizations for studies and programs for advancing international cooperation concerning patents, trademarks, and other matters.
  • (c) CLARIFICATION OF SPECIFIC POWERS.—
    • (1) The special payments under subsection (b)(13)(B) shall be in addition to any other payments or contributions to international organizations described in subsection (b)(13)(B) and shall not be subject to any limitations imposed by law on the amounts of such other payments or contributions by the United States Government.
    • (2) Nothing in subsection (b) shall derogate from the duties of the Secretary of State or from the duties of the United States Trade Representative as set forth in section 141 of the Trade Act of 1974 (19 U.S.C. 2171).
    • (3) Nothing in subsection (b) shall derogate from the duties and functions of the Register of Copyrights or otherwise alter current authorities relating to copyright matters.
    • (4) In exercising the Director’s powers under paragraphs (3) and (4)(A) of subsection (b), the Director shall consult with the Administrator of General Services.
    • (5) In exercising the Director’s powers and duties under this section, the Director shall consult with the Register of Copyrights on all copyright and related matters.
  • (d) CONSTRUCTION.— Nothing in this section shall be construed to nullify, void, cancel, or interrupt any pending request-for-proposal let or contract issued by the General Services Administration for the specific purpose of relocating or leasing space to the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

(Amended Jan. 2, 1975, Public Law 93-596, sec. 1, 88 Stat. 1949; amended Nov. 29, 1999, Public Law 106-113, sec. 1000(a)(9), 113 Stat. 1501A-572 (S. 1948 sec. 4712); subsection (b)(4)(A) amended Oct. 30, 2000, Public Law 106-400, sec. 2, 114 Stat. 1675; subsections (b)(2)(B) and (b)(4)(B) amended Nov. 2, 2002, Public Law 107-273, sec. 13206, 116 Stat. 1904; subsection (b)(4)(A) amended Dec. 15, 2003, Public Law 108-178, sec. 4(g), 117 Stat. 2641; subsection (b)(4)(A) amended January 4, 2011, Public Law 111-350, sec. 5(i)(1), 124 Stat. 3849; subsection (b)(2)(G) added and subsections (b)(2)(E) and (b)(11) amended Sept. 16, 2011, Public Law 112-29, secs. 20(j), 21(a), and 25 (effective Sept. 16, 2012), 125 Stat. 284.)