A recent listserv discussion broke out about signing documents on behalf of clients at the USPTO. I guess I am of the old(er) school to the effect that clients make representations, and I represent clients. My practice, which I think the majority of practitioners follow, is to have the client sign an application or maintenance filing. Here’s my reasoning:
As a litigator and somebody who also prosecutes trademark applications ( and also someone who is old enough to remember having to file paper applications), I think that if a case ends up in active litigation, having had the client execute the trademark application (or maintenance filings) is a good idea. Just my $.02. The act of signing something that is going to form the basis for a filing and a representation before the PTO is a salutary undertaking for clients. Your mileage, etc. This is not to say, that in exigent circumstances, with long-standing clients, the rule is always followed, but I think it is good practice if you can do it. On security recordations, I don’t see the same issue, since the document being filed with the Assignment Branch is an informational filing premised (one assumes) on an existing document that someone other than counsel has already executed. If there is disagreement, I am open to the argument.