All the Slash Signature Rules

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This is a working collection of rules for slash signatures used in documents electronically filed before various government bodies.

Slash signature rules are greatly inconsistent. Most bodies follow a convention of “/s/ [name]” but there are exceptions, notably the Ninth Circuit and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Some require the name to be the person’s actual name; others permit freeform text. Many bodies impose no specific requirement but recommend the ordinary convention; still others impose no requirement at all.

Courts of Appeals

Federal Circuit: Rule 25(d): Where the court’s rules require a signature on a document, the name of the filer whose log-in and password is used to submit a document may be preceded by “/s/” and typed in the space where the signature would otherwise appear.

Eleventh Circuit: CM/ECF Guide to Filing Rule 3.2: The identity of the Attorney Filer submitting the electronically filed document must be reflected at the end of the document by means of an “s/[attorney’s name]” block showing the attorney’s name, followed by the attorney’s business address, telephone number, and e-mail address. Graphic and other electronic signatures are discouraged.

Ninth Circuit: Rule 25-5(e): Electronic filings shall indicate each signatory by using an “s/” in addition to the typed name of counsel or an unrepresented party.

Fourth Circuit: Rule 25(a)(9): The name of the filing user under whose log-in and password the document is submitted must be preceded by an “s/” and typed in the space where the signature would otherwise appear.

Second Circuit: Rule 25.1(e): [no requirement:] A PDF need not include a manual signature.

D.C. Circuit: Rule 32(a)(1): The name of the filer under whose log-in and password a document is submitted must be preceded by an “/s/” and typed in the space where the signature would otherwise appear, followed by the firm name, if any, and the attorney’s or party’s street address, telephone number, and e-mail address.

District Courts

District of Columbia: ECF User’s Manual, Checklist for Attorneys, p. 48: The signature line contains “/s/ Attorney’s Typed Name.”

Central District of California: Local Rule 5-4.3.4: Electronically filed documents must also include a signature block as provided in L.R. 11-1, and the signature shall be represented on the signature line with either an “/s/” or a digitized personalized signature.

Federal Agencies

Federal Communications Commission: 47 CFR 1.52: If pursuant to §1.429(h) a document is filed electronically, a signature will be considered any symbol executed or adopted by the party with the intent that such symbol be a signature, including symbols formed by computer-generated electronic impulses.

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office: 37 CFR 1.4(2)-(3): [providing numerous requirements for signatures, including:] The S-signature must consist only of letters, or Arabic numerals, or both, with appropriate spaces and commas, periods, apostrophes, or hyphens for punctuation, and the person signing the correspondence must insert his or her own S-signature with a first single forward slash mark before, and a second single forward slash mark after, the S-signature (e.g., /Dr. James T. Jones, Jr./)

U.S. International Trade Commission: EDIS handbook, ch. II.J(2): such document shall be deemed signed provided that such document is filed using the user ID and password of the signatory and contains the physical signature of the registered user using an optical scan format or a typed “electronic signature,” e.g., “/s/Jane Doe.”

Federal Trade Commission: 16 C.F.R. 4.2(f)(1): For documents filed electronically using the Office of the Secretary’s electronic filing system, documents must be signed using a scanned signature image, an “s/” followed by the name of the filer using the electronic filing system, or another signature method as the Secretary may direct.