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

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

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

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

Atty’s Final Act For Porn Film Copyright Shakedown Scheme: Disbarment

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Attorney Fraud, Attorney Internet Scams, Copyright ethics, Criminal Conviction, Dishonesty, IP Ethics, IP Litigation SanctionsLeave a Comment

Once upon a time, John Steele, the founder of the law firm formally known as Prenda Law, believed he had found the perfect recipe for a successful niche copyright law practice. First, monitor certain file-sharing websites containing porn and obtain the IP addresses of individuals who downloaded or attempted to download said porn. Next, file “John Doe” lawsuits for copyright … 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

Untying The IP Ethics Knot

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Continuing Legal Education, IP Ethics, Legal Ethics, Litigation Ethics, MalpracticeLeave a Comment

Do you worry about ethics in your IP practice?  If not, you should.  There is way too much going on out there, and not knowing what is happening can leave you exposed to ethics and malpractice risk. If you can spare 90 minutes, tune in tomorrow from 1:00-2:30 pm EST for the ABA-IPL Landslide Webinar Series, entitled “Identifying and Resolving Ethical … 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 Ethics3 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

ABA’s “Tips For Practicing Law” Provides Valuable Ethics Guidance For USPTO Practitioners

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Communications, Competence, Diligence, IP Ethics, PTO Ethics Rules, USPTO Ethics Investigation, USPTO OEDLeave a Comment

“Mr. Corleone is a man who insists on hearing bad news at once.” – Tom Hagen, The Godfather In the Summer 2016 issue of Litigation, Steven A. Weiss, Chair of the ABA’s Section of Litigation, authored an article entitled, “Eight More Tips For Practicing Law.”  Although the article focuses on a number of best practices from the perspective of a … Read More

When The Cover-Up Outweighs The Crime: Professional Discipline For Hiding Attorney Errors

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Competence, IP Ethics, Office of Enrollment and Discipline1 Comment

“As long as the world is turning and spinning, we’re gonna be dizzy and we’re gonna make mistakes” — Mel Brooks In bar disciplinary proceedings, the word “mistake” is often used either to explain, describe, or defend against, a charge of alleged unethical behavior. But is it unethical for an attorney to make an “honest mistake”?  Ethical guidance on what seems … Read More