Tales From The OED Crypt: Using Forged Document To Trick Witness Can Get Counsel Treated To Discipline

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Discipline, Patent Attorney Disciplinary Matters, Patent Litigation Ethics, USPTO Decisions1 Comment

Lawyers often are accused of playing “tricks” in litigation. For those who are familiar with trial tactics, the “trick” label is usually nothing more than legal “tradecraft” – the techniques of experienced litigators to weave a story through a combination of arguments, documents, and witness testimony. Pretending to read from a document while asking a question unrelated to the substance … Read More

Jackass Of The Month: IP Lawyer Sanctioned For “Maelstrom of Misconduct” In Pro Se Divorce Case

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Civility/Professionalism, Duty to Tribunal, Patent Attorney Disciplinary Matters, Patent Ethics0 Comments

This month we launched the “Jackass of the Month” award. The award recognizes the IP practitioner whose exceptional or extraordinary conduct befits the title of being, well, a real jackass. This month’s award goes to Anthony J. Zappin, a 30-year-old Ivy League-educated patent attorney.  Zappin was  slapped last week with a reprimand and $10,000 fine by New York State Supreme … Read More

Allowing Someone Else To Type In Your S-Signature On USPTO Documents Is Unethical

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.IP Ethics, Office of Enrollment and Discipline, Patent Attorney Disciplinary Matters, USPTO OED4 Comments

I still remember vividly today the very first time I signed a paper, as an attorney at law, for filing in court.  It was 22 years ago.  I remember being nervous. I practiced my signature on a scratch pad, wanting to get it just right, before finally putting ball point to paper.  The paper was of heavy bond, the way papers filed in court … Read More

Is OED’s Indefinite Delay In “Reviewing” Reinstatement Applications Constitutional?

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Office of Enrollment and Discipline, Patent Attorney Disciplinary Matters, Reinstatement, Suspension0 Comments

An attorney’s suspension from the practice of law is not unlike a jail sentence.  Not literally, of course.  The suspended attorney is free to do anything they otherwise could do when they were not suspended, with the exception of practicing law. Many practitioners believe that once their suspension period has run its course, the practitioner is “released,” the suspension is automatically lifted, and the practitioner may immediately get back into … Read More

Is The USPTO’s One-Year Statute Of Limitations For Filing An Ethics Complaint Triggered By The OED’s Failure To Investigate Or Willful Blindness?

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Patent Attorney Disciplinary Matters, Statute of limitations, USPTO OED0 Comments

One of the lesser publicized changes to patent law made by the America Invents Act was the amendment to Title 35, Section 32, which included two separate limitations periods for USPTO disciplinary complaints. As amended, Section 32 states a USPTO disciplinary proceeding must be commenced: not later than the earlier of either the date that is 10 years after the … Read More

Supreme Court Spares Patent Attorney From Discipline

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Patent Attorney Disciplinary Matters, Supreme Court Ethics0 Comments

Talk about a close call.  Patent attorney Howard Shipley is no doubt breathing a sigh of relief today after the Supreme Court dismissed its December 8, 2014, Order to Show Cause why Mr. Shipley should not be sanctioned. The Court issued its rare Show Cause Order after Mr. Shipley filed what his counsel characterized as an “unorthodox” petition for writ of certiorari.  Mr. Shipley admitted the … Read More

IP Counsel Who Blindly Follow Client “Instructions” Risk Loss Of Law License

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct, Competence, Office of Enrollment and Discipline, Patent Attorney Disciplinary Matters, Supreme Court Ethics, Unauthorized Practice of Law0 Comments

Intellectual Property law firms often receive substantive documents, including original applications and amendments, with “instructions” from their client to file the paper in the USPTO, essentially as is. And just as often, IP counsel dutifully follow their clients’ orders and simply have a non-lawyer “clean up” the document so it “looks” right and, without any substantive review by counsel, sign and … Read More

Patent Attorney Disbarred For Attempting To Extort Fees From Former Law Firm

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.IP Ethics, Patent Attorney Disciplinary Matters, Reciprocal Discipline, USPTO Director Decisions0 Comments

On December 31, 2014, the USPTO Director issued an Order of Reciprocal Discipline excluding a Bellevue, Washington patent attorney from practicing before the Office. Former patent attorney Jeffrey T. Haley’s exclusion followed his voluntary resignation from the State Bar of Washington, where he had been charged with attempted extortion from his former law firm. The Compensation Dispute In 1979, Mr. Haley … Read More