Mandatory Ethics Training For Patent Agents Is Long Overdue

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.ABA Model Rule for Minimum Continuing Legal Education, Continuing Legal Education, Patent Ethics, USPTO Rules of Professional Conduct2 Comments

What formal ethics training is required of a U.S. patent agent?  None. What minimal level of competency in ethics must a patent agent demonstrate in order to qualify for a license to practice patent law before the USPTO?  Again, the answer is “None.” For attorneys, ethics training is of considerable importance.  It starts in law school.  Accredited law schools require … Read More

Sue-And-Settle NPE Patent Litigation Tactics May Violate USPTO Ethics Rules

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Litigation Ethics, Office of Enrollment and Discipline, Patent Ethics, Patent Litigation Ethics, USPTO Ethics Investigation3 Comments

Non-practicing entities who engage in a pattern of filing numerous lawsuits without any intention of testing the merits, solely to extract low ball settlements, should take note that the USPTO’s Office of Enrollment and Discipline (OED) takes a keen interest in such conduct.  A recent “exceptional case” decision in a patent case from federal court in California should give pause … Read More

This Post Could Save Your Patent Law License

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.OED, Office of Enrollment and Discipline, Patent Ethics, USPTO Administrative Suspension0 Comments

Some patent attorneys and agents are under the impression that once they have passed the Patent Bar exam and have earned a PTO registration number, they are essentially registered for life, with no further action required on their part.  If you are one of those people, then you should read on. One of the jobs of the USPTO’s Office of … Read More

Litigators Beware: Bad News Can Trigger USPTO Ethics Investigation

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.IP Litigation Sanctions, Office of Enrollment and Discipline, Patent Ethics, Patent Litigation Ethics0 Comments

Bad news sells.  As the author Douglas Adams observed, “Nothing travels faster than the speed of light with the possible exception of bad news, which obeys its own special laws.” Take IP litigation, for example.  The mainstream IP media regularly reports on both allegations and court decisions regarding issues relating to attorney conduct–or alleged misconduct.  Some of the more common … Read More

You Just Received An OED Bar Grievance. Now What?

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.OED, Office of Enrollment and Discipline, Patent Ethics0 Comments

The only time a patent attorney or agent ever wants to hear from the USPTO’s Office of Enrollment and Discipline is when they are admitted to the Patent Bar and issued a registration number. Other than that, no news is good news. So if an envelope arrives from the OED (certified mail, return receipt requested), don’t expect the Office to … Read More

Top Seven Ethics Risks When Patent Practitioners Work With Invention Marketing Companies

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Client Funds, Communications, Fee-Splitting, Invention Promoters, IP Ethics2 Comments

Working with invention promotion or marketing companies can be hazardous to your law license.  That is the clear message coming from the USPTO’s Office of Enrollment and Discipline, which is in charge of policing and enforcing the Rules of Professional Conduct governing patent attorneys, patent agents, and others who practice before the Office.   The OED has been coming down … Read More

CAFC Finds Patent Holder’s Position On Standing “Unreasonable” And “Remarkably Weak,” Affirms Atty Fees Award

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.District Court Litigation, IP Litigation Sanctions, Litigation Ethics, Patent Ethics, Patent Litigation Ethics, Patent Litigation Sanctions0 Comments

On January 25, 2017, the Federal Circuit ruled a district court did not abuse its discretion when it awarded the prevailing party’s attorneys’ fees under 35 U.S.C. § 285 based upon the losing party’s conduct with respect to responding to one particular issue in discovery. In National Oilwell Varco, L.P. v. Omron Oilfield & Marine, Inc., No. 2015-1406, the Federal … Read More