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 Law0 Comments

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

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 Decisions0 Comments

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

USPTO Suspends Former Niro IP Attorney For 18 Months Following Patent Litigation Sanctions

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.District Court Litigation, Duty to Tribunal, IP Litigation Sanctions, Litigation Ethics, Patent Litigation Sanctions, PTO Ethics Decisions1 Comment

The fallout from the Niro, Haller & Niro law firm’s doomed litigation on behalf of Intellect Wireless continues.  For patent litigator David J. Mahalek, the most junior member of the Niro litigation team, the disciplinary shoe of the USPTO did not just drop–it kicked him in the teeth with an 18-month suspension of his law license. Readers may recall that, … Read More

“The Trademark Company” Pivots To A Copyright Company

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Exclusion on Consent, PTO Ethics Decisions, PTO Ethics Rules, Trademark ethics0 Comments

“The Trademark Company,” whose owner Matthew Swyers agreed last month to give up his license to practice before the USPTO, ending a three-year ethics battle, appears to be alive.  While still operating under the old name, logo and URL, The Trademark Company has shifted gears away from offering trademark-related services and is now offering only copyright-related services. According to its … 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 Decisions0 Comments

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

OED Cracks Down On Patent Practitioners Working With Invention Promoters

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Communications, Competence, Conflicts of Interest, Patent Ethics, PTO Ethics Decisions, PTO Ethics Rules, USPTO Ethics Investigation, USPTO OED1 Comment

George Foreman pitches their services on late night television commercials.  A Google search for “how to sell my invention” turns up scores of them. Many individual inventors believe they have designed the next “better mouse trap” but typically have no clue how to monetize or market their invention. That is where invention marketing or promotion companies step in. Generally speaking, … Read More

PTAB And District Court Litigators Risk USPTO Ethical Discipline For Protective Order Violations

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Patent Ethics, PTAB Discipline, PTO Ethics Decisions, USPTO OED2 Comments

In patent litigation, one of the first orders of business is entry of a protective order protecting the participant’s confidential information. While protective orders come in all shapes and sizes, such orders uniformly prohibit a receiving party from disclosing a producing party’s confidential information except to a limited universe of defined individuals. In addition, a standard provision in protective orders … Read More

Caveat IP Lawyer – Beware The Office of Enrollment and Discipline Violating The USPTO’s Reciprocal Discipline Rules

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.OED, Office of Enrollment and Discipline, PTO Ethics Decisions, Reciprocal Discipline0 Comments

At first glance, the USPTO’s most recently published disciplinary decision seems relatively bland and altogether innocuous. The case of In re Juliet M. Oberding, Proceeding No. D2016-06 (USPTO Dir. Feb. 12, 2016) involves a California-based trademark attorney who told a client on several occasions, over the course of roughly 18 months, that the client’s trademark application was being processed by … Read More