Breadth Of PTO Ethics Opinion Could Alter How IP Firms Interact With Foreign Associates

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Communications, Competence, Conflicts of Interest, Patent Ethics, PTO Ethics Rules, Unauthorized Practice of LawLeave a Comment

This post is the last of a three-part series reviewing how the USPTO interprets and applies its ethics rules to IP practitioners who represent patent and trademark clients through non-practitioner intermediaries. Where Are We Now: Evolution of PTO Ethics Opinions Thirty years ago, the PTO issued (in 1987 and 1988) ethics opinions regarding very discrete questions concerning two aspects of … Read More

Better Late Than Never: PTO Updates, Expands Ethics Advice On Client Intermediaries

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Communications, Competence, Conflicts of Interest, Invention Promoters, Office of Enrollment and Discipline, Patent Ethics, PTO Ethics Decisions, Unauthorized Practice of LawLeave a Comment

This post is the second in a three-part series reviewing how the USPTO interprets and applies its ethics rules to U.S. patent and trademark practitioners who represent clients by working through non-practitioner client intermediaries. In re Mikhailova and USPTO’s Expanded Ethics Guidance Three decades after the OG Notices, the USPTO published a final order in the matter of In re … Read More

Are Your Firm’s Foreign Associate Practices Ethical?

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Communications, Competence, Conflicts of Interest, IP Ethics, Office of Enrollment and Discipline, Patent Ethics1 Comment

It is commonplace for IP law firms in the United States to receive referrals for patent and trademark application filing, prosecution, and related services from sources other than the actual client.  In one of the most common scenarios, patent and trademark services are directed to a U.S. IP law firm through an intermediary, such as a non-U.S. law firm or … Read More

Portus Drops Subject Matter Conflict Claim Against Kenyon; Alleges Firm’s Prosecution Malpractice Shortened Patent Term By 3+Years

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Competence, IP Malpractice, Patent Prosecution MalpracticeLeave a Comment

For the past year, Portus Singapore Pte. Ltd. (“Portus”), a former client of the now-defunct Kenyon & Kenyon (“Kenyon”) law firm, has been trying to get a claim for legal malpractice to stick against its former IP counsel.   So far, Portus’ efforts have been unsuccessful.  On July 28, 2017, Portus took its third bite at the apple and filed another … Read More

To Encrypt, Or Not To Encrypt, That Is The Question

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct, Competence, ConfidentialityLeave a Comment

The ABA has dived head first into the pool of law firm cybersecurity.  On May 11, 2017, the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility issued Formal Opinion 477 (here), which addresses a broad range of issues that lawyers must consider to protect client confidential information from “nefarious actors throughout the internet.”  Those “nefarious actors”—also known as … Read More

The Ethics Of IP Docketing Software

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.CompetenceLeave a Comment

Alt Legal IP Docketing Blog has a nice post on The Ethics of IP Docketing Software (found here).  While I am not advocating for Alt Legal’s docketing software products–there are many customized and off-the-shelf software product vendors who pitch such solutions to IP lawyers–the point of the post is well taken. As the author correctly points out, missing a deadline … Read More

Epic Ethics Legal Battle By Trademark Company Owner Ends Quietly With Resignation

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Competence, Constitutional Law, District Court Litigation, Exclusion on Consent, Fee-Splitting, PTO Ethics Decisions, Unauthorized Practice of Law, USPTO Director DecisionsLeave a Comment

The three-year ethics saga between Matthew Swyers, owner of The Trademark Company, and the USPTO’s Office of Enrollment and Discipline (OED), ended with a whisper, with Mr. Swyers agreeing to resign from practicing before the USPTO.  By entering into what is called an “exclusion on consent” agreement, Mr. Swyers voluntarily gives up the ability to provide U.S. trademark-related legal services for a minimum of five (5) years.  A copy of the exclusion … Read More

Fraudulent Trademark Solicitations Raise Ethical Concerns For TM Attys

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Attorney Fraud, Client Funds, Competence, Trademark EthicsLeave a Comment

The USPTO today issued a warning about the dangers of fraudulent trademark solicitations.  In a blog posted on the USPTO’s website (link here), Commissioner for Trademarks Mary Boney Denison warned: Trademark solicitations have been a global problem for decades, including for USPTO customers, and we have implemented several measures to protect our customers against them. As many trademark practitioners are … Read More