Finnegan Henderson Committed Legal Malpractice By Favoring Marking Blade Inventor Over Corporate Patent Client: Lawsuit

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Conflicts of Interest, IP Malpractice, Patent Malpractice10 Comments

Who is an IP firm’s patent prosecution client when the firm represents a limited liability company and one of its members is the sole inventor?  Does the answer change if the LLC is never actually formed, and no one ever advises the law firm?  Those are just two questions that appear to be at the center of a malpractice lawsuit … Read More

Greenberg Traurig Avoids Former Client’s DQ Motion By Consenting To Withdrawal

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Confidentiality, Conflicts of Interest, IP Ethics0 Comments

Greenberg Traurig has apparently decided that discretion is the better part of valor.  The law firm has agreed voluntarily to withdraw as counsel from a litigation rather than face a disqualification motion in which it was charged with a conflict of interest for trying to invalidate patents it helped prosecute.  We previously reported here that Greenberg Traurig had “switched sides” … Read More

New Lawsuit Accuses IP Counsel Of Attacking Same Patents It Prosecuted

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Confidentiality, Conflicts of Interest, IP Ethics1 Comment

It is Ethics 101 that a law firm cannot use its former client’s confidential information in a substantially related matter on behalf of a different client directly adverse to the former client, at least not without the former client’s informed consent.  The reason for this common sense rule, which prohibits “side-switching,” is that a lawyer’s duty of confidentiality extends beyond … Read More

PTO Suspends PTAB Atty Who Filed Multiple TM Apps For Cannabis Client

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Conflicts of Interest, Unauthorized Practice of Law, USPTO Director Decisions, USPTO Ethics Investigation0 Comments

The USPTO has suspended a PTO-employed attorney for thirty (30) days for practicing trademark law before the Office for private clients, in violation of federal conflicts of interest laws.  See In re Tara K. Laux, Proc. No. D2016-39 (USPTO Dir. Mar. 9, 2017).  According to a settlement agreement reached with the OED Director, attorney Tara Laux, who has worked at … Read More

Ethics Experts Sue Trump For “Countless Conflicts of Interest” From Foreign Payments

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Conflicts of Interest, Constitutional Law1 Comment

The rules of ethics–particularly rules that prohibit conflicts of interest and require the utmost loyalty–apply to the President of the United States.  That is the premise underlying a lawsuit filed today by a group of ethics experts against President Trump.  See Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington v. Donald J. Trump, Case No. 1:17-cv-00458-RA (S.D.N.Y. Jan. 23, 2017).  The … Read More

IP Firm Tees Up Dismissal Of Subject Matter Conflict, Negligent Patent Prosecution Malpractice Case

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Conflicts of Interest, District Court Litigation, Patent Ethics, Patent Malpractice, Patent Subject Matter Conflicts0 Comments

A recent patent malpractice action filed in federal court in New York against an IP firm raises once again the issue of subject matter conflicts between concurrent clients in prosecuting patent applications in a similar field of technology.  The issue of subject matter conflicts in concurrent patent representation continues to be an area of significant interest–and concern–for IP practitioners who … Read More

Advanced Conflict Of Interest Waivers: Tricks Or Treats? (Part 2)

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Conflicts of Interest0 Comments

Guessing wrong about the enforceability of an advanced conflict waiver could lead to unexpectedly bad consequences.  One doomsday scenario is illustrated by a recent California immediate appellate court decision in the case of Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton, LLP v. J-M Manufacturing, 244 Cal.App.4th 590 (2016). Sheppard Mullin represented J-M Manufacturing (“J-M”) in a Qui Tam litigation.  The Qui Tam action alleged … Read More

Advanced Conflict Of Interest Waivers: Tricks Or Treats?

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Conflicts of Interest0 Comments

Halloween is upon us.  We put out the candy bowl and wait for the tiny ballerinas, ghosts, and football players to ring the doorbell and shout “trick or treat.”  Despite the seemingly optional “or” language in the request, traditionally the kids will always get the treat. Law firms also prefer “treats” in the form of new business.  Yet sometimes firms … Read More