Just a heads up to those of you thinking of conducting a hearing or personal interview at a USPTO facility — depending on which state you hail from, your driver’s license may not be sufficient for access. Practitioners visiting the USPTO from Alaska, American Samoa, Arizona, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, New York, Oklahoma, and Washington are at risk. See the PTO announcement below. [Link]
USPTO to Institute New Visitor Policy Effective August 4, 2014
As of August 4, 2014, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will be instituting new access control procedures that may affect visitors to the USPTO campus in Alexandria, Virginia, as well as visitors to USPTO’s satellite offices in Denver and Detroit.
These changes are the result of the Federal Government’s enforcement of the REAL ID Act, which enacts one of the key recommendations of the 9/11 Commission. The Act establishes minimum security standards for state-issued driver licenses and identification cards and prohibits Federal agencies from accepting those documents for official purposes unless the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) determines that the state meets the minimum standards.
As of April 21, the following states do not meet the REAL ID standards:
- American Samoa
- New York
Visitors to the USPTO with state issued identification from these states must present alternate forms of identification to facilitate access. Three of the states listed above offer an Enhanced Driver’s License that is identifiable by an American flag on the license; they are New York, Minnesota, and Washington. USPTO will accept the Enhanced Driver’s Licenses from those states.
DHS currently accepts other forms of Federal-issued identification in lieu of a state-issued driver’s license, such as a:
- Passport card
- DoD’s CAC
- Federal agency HSPD-12 ID
- Veterans ID
- Military dependents ID
- Trusted Traveler card – Global Entry, SENTRI, or NEXUS
- Transportation Workers Identification Credential (TWIC)
For visitors using state-issued ID to access the USPTO, only driver’s licenses or identification cards from states that meet Federal standards will be honored. USPTO will continue to accept other forms of government-issued identification, including Federal employee badges, passports, military identification cards, or Enhanced Driver’s Licenses as noted above.
If visitors do not have acceptable identity documents, the person to be visited at USPTO will need to provide an escort in order for the visitor to access the USPTO. The visitor must be escorted at all times while in USPTO secured areas.
For additional information about the REAL ID Act, please visit www.dhs.gov/secure-drivers-licenses.
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