37 CFR § 11.24 - Reciprocal discipline.

§ 11.24 Reciprocal discipline.

(a) Notice to the OED Director. Within 30 days of being publicly censured, publicly reprimanded, subjected to probation, disbarred or suspended by another jurisdiction, or disciplinarily disqualified from participating in or appearing before any Federal program or agency, a practitioner subject to the disciplinary jurisdiction of the Office shall notify the OED Director in writing of the same. A practitioner is deemed to be disbarred if he or she is disbarred, is excluded on consent, or has resigned in lieu of discipline or a disciplinary proceeding. Upon receiving notification from any source or otherwise learning that a practitioner subject to the disciplinary jurisdiction of the Office has been publicly censured, publicly reprimanded, subjected to probation, disbarred, suspended, or disciplinarily disqualified, the OED Director shall obtain a certified copy of the record or order regarding the public censure, public reprimand, probation, disbarment, suspension, or disciplinary disqualification. A certified copy of the record or order regarding the discipline shall establish a prima facie case by clear and convincing evidence that the practitioner has been publicly censured, publicly reprimanded, subjected to probation, disbarred, suspended, or disciplinarily disqualified by another jurisdiction. In addition to the actions identified in § 11.22(h) and (i), the OED Director may, without Committee on Discipline authorization, file with the USPTO Director a complaint complying with § 11.34 against the practitioner predicated upon the public censure, public reprimand, probation, disbarment, suspension, or disciplinary disqualification. The OED Director may request the USPTO Director to issue a notice and order as set forth in paragraph (b) of this section.

(b) Notification served on practitioner. Upon receipt of the complaint and request for notice and order, the USPTO Director shall issue a notice directed to the practitioner in accordance with § 11.35 and to the OED Director containing:

(1) A copy of the record or order regarding the public censure, public reprimand, probation, disbarment, suspension or disciplinary disqualification;

(2) A copy of the complaint; and

(3) An order directing the practitioner to file a response with the USPTO Director and the OED Director, within forty days of the date of the notice establishing a genuine issue of material fact predicated upon the grounds set forth in paragraphs (d)(1)(i) through (d)(1)(iv) of this section that the imposition of the identical public censure, public reprimand, probation, disbarment, suspension or disciplinary disqualification would be unwarranted and the reasons for that claim.

(c) Effect of stay in another jurisdiction. In the event the public censure, public reprimand, probation, disbarment, suspension imposed by another jurisdiction or disciplinary disqualification imposed in the Federal program or agency has been stayed, any reciprocal discipline imposed by the USPTO may be deferred until the stay expires.

(d) Hearing and discipline to be imposed.

(1) The USPTO Director shall hear the matter on the documentary record unless the USPTO Director determines that an oral hearing is necessary. The USPTO Director may order the OED Director or the practitioner to supplement the record with further information or argument. After expiration of the period specified in paragraph (b)(3) of this section, the USPTO Director shall consider the record and shall impose the identical public censure, public reprimand, probation, disbarment, suspension, or disciplinary disqualification unless the practitioner demonstrates by clear and convincing evidence, and the USPTO Director finds there is a genuine issue of material fact that:

(i) The procedure elsewhere was so lacking in notice or opportunity to be heard as to constitute a deprivation of due process;

(ii) There was such infirmity of proof establishing the conduct as to give rise to the clear conviction that the Office could not, consistently with its duty, accept as final the conclusion on that subject;

(iii) The imposition of the same public censure, public reprimand, probation, disbarment, suspension or disciplinary disqualification by the Office would result in grave injustice; or

(iv) Any argument that the practitioner was not publicly censured, publicly reprimanded, placed on probation, disbarred, suspended or disciplinarily disqualified.

(2) If the USPTO Director determines that there is no genuine issue of material fact, the USPTO Director shall enter an appropriate final order. If the USPTO Director is unable to make such determination because there is a genuine issue of material fact, the USPTO Director shall enter an appropriate order:

(i) Referring the complaint to a hearing officer for a formal hearing and entry of an initial decision in accordance with the other rules in this part, and

(ii) Directing the practitioner to file an answer to the complaint in accordance with § 11.36.

(e) Adjudication in another jurisdiction or Federal agency or program. In all other respects, a final adjudication, regardless of the evidentiary standard, in another jurisdiction or Federal agency or program that a practitioner, whether or not admitted in that jurisdiction, has committed misconduct shall establish a prima facie case by clear and convincing evidence that the practitioner has engaged in misconduct under § 11.804(h).

(f) Reciprocal discipline - action where practice has ceased. Upon request by the practitioner, reciprocal discipline may be imposed nunc pro tunc only if the practitioner promptly notified the OED Director of his or her censure, public reprimand, probation, disbarment, suspension or disciplinary disqualification in another jurisdiction, and establishes by clear and convincing evidence that the practitioner voluntarily ceased all activities related to practice before the Office and complied with all provisions of § 11.58. The effective date of any public censure, public reprimand, probation, suspension, disbarment or disciplinary disqualification imposed nunc pro tunc shall be the date the practitioner voluntarily ceased all activities related to practice before the Office and complied with all provisions of § 11.58.

(g) Reinstatement following reciprocal discipline proceeding. A practitioner may petition for reinstatement under conditions set forth in § 11.60 no sooner than completion of the period of reciprocal discipline imposed, and compliance with all provisions of § 11.58.

[73 FR 47689, Aug. 14, 2008, as amended at 78 FR 20200, Apr. 3, 2013; 86 FR 28458, May 26, 2021]

The following state regulations pages link to this page.