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

For Your Eyes Only: IP Atty’s Who Misuse Confidential Documents Face Sanctions, Discipline

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.IP Litigation Sanctions, Patent Litigation Ethics, Patent Litigation SanctionsLeave a Comment

Patent and other high technology litigation invariably involves the disclosure of highly confidential technical and financial information.  One of the first orders usually entered in such cases is a protective order, which enables parties to designate and disclose to a limited universe of people what the producing party considers to be confidential information.  Typically, protective orders prohibit the receiving party … 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 EthicsLeave a Comment

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

USPTO Suspends Second Ex-Niro IP Attorney For 18 Months

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.District Court Litigation, Duty to Tribunal, IP Litigation Sanctions, Litigation Ethics, Patent Litigation Ethics, PTO Ethics DecisionsLeave a Comment

It’s deja vu all over again: a second ex-Niro IP attorney has received an 18-month suspension from practice before the USPTO. Attorney Paul C. Gibbons, one of four attorneys from the now defunct Niro, Haller & Niro who were sanctioned for vexatious litigation arising from the firm’s representation of NPE Intellect Wireless, settled a disciplinary complaint with the USPTO Director … 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 SanctionsLeave a Comment

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

CAFC Sanctions Patent Atty For Frivolous Appeal; Is USPTO Discipline Next?

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.District Court Litigation, IP Litigation Sanctions, Litigation Ethics, Patent Ethics, Patent Litigation EthicsLeave a Comment

The Federal Circuit on Friday affirmed a district court’s order imposing sanctions against a Colorado patent attorney and his patentee client for vexatious litigation.  Doubling down, the Federal Circuit imposed its own sanctions for what it says was a frivolous appeal.  See Walker v. Health International Corp., No. 15-1676 (Fed. Cir. Jan. 6, 2017).  The CAFC’s ruling opens the door to a possible ethics … Read More

Putting On Your Halo: Patent Litigators’ Ethical Duty To Communicate Change In Willfulness Law

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Duty to Non-Client, Duty to Tribunal, Patent Ethics, Patent Litigation EthicsLeave a Comment

Last week, the Supreme Court issued an opinion that significantly altered the legal landscape for proving willful infringement in patent cases. In Halo Electronics, Inc. v. Pulse Electronics, Inc., the Supreme Court rejected the Federal Circuit’s two-part Seagate test for awarding enhanced damages under 35 USC § 284, finding that both the substantive requirement for “objective recklessness” and the “clear and convincing” … Read More

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