USPTO Reciprocal Discipline Case Illustrates Flaw In Rules

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Continuing Legal Education, Gross Misconduct, Moral turpitide, Office of Enrollment and Discipline, Reciprocal Discipline, USPTO Director Decisions0 Comments

A recent disciplinary decision published by the USPTO Director illustrates a serious flaw in the Office’s rules governing reciprocal discipline.  In re Sanjeev Kumar Dhand, D2016-17 (USPTO Dir. Nov. 16, 2016). California Discipline The factual background of the Dhand case is eerily similar to our post from yesterday (link here).   This matter involves California-based patent attorney Sanjeev Kumar Dhand. Mr. … Read More

Lessons in Ethics: Lying About CLE Attendance Is Just So Wrong

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Continuing Legal Education, Moral turpitide, Reciprocal Discipline1 Comment

An IP attorney continued his legal education the hard way.  He falsely represented to the California Bar that he had completed the mandatory minimum of 25 hours of continuing legal education.  In truth, he had completed zero hours of CLE.  The result: a one-year suspension. This matter involved California-based patent attorney Jens Edward Hoekendijk.  In order to remain as an … 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

District Court Holds USPTO’s Reciprocal Discipline Rule Requires Agency To Impose “Identical” Sanction As State Bar

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Patent Ethics, Reciprocal Discipline2 Comments

USPTO practitioners take heed — if you are publicly disciplined on ethical grounds by a State Bar, the USPTO must impose the identical disciplinary sanction as the State Bar.  Moreover, Section 11.24 provides practitioners notice regarding the procedure to be followed if a practitioner is disciplined on ethical grounds by another jurisdiction.  Those are the key takeaways from a recent case … Read More

USPTO Suspends Former GWU Ethics Professor For Two Years

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Discipline, IP Ethics, Reciprocal Discipline0 Comments

Mark H. Allenbaugh, a former award-winning Adjunct Professor on Ethics in Business and the Professions at the George Washington University, was suspended for two years from practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The suspension came as a result of a reciprocal disciplinary proceeding commenced by the Office of Enrollment and Discipline after the OED learned that Mr. Allenbaugh … Read More

USPTO Reciprocally Excludes Patent Lawyer Based On State Court Disbarment

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Client Funds, IP Ethics, Patent Ethics, PTO Ethics Decisions, Reciprocal Discipline0 Comments

 On July 15, 2015, the USPTO Director entered an order excluding Richard Polidi from practice before the Office.  The USPTO Director’s disciplinary action came after the Director of the Office of Enrollment and Discipline (OED) filed a complaint for reciprocal discipline predicated on Mr. Polidi’s disbarment from State Bar of North Carolina. Based on public documents filed in the North Carolina disciplinary … Read More

State Bar Discipline Can Be Hazardous To IP Attorneys’ Right To Practice Before The USPTO (Part 2 of 2)

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.IP Ethics, Reciprocal Discipline, USPTO Director Decisions0 Comments

This is the second of a two-part series on reciprocal discipline in the USPTO.  To read the first part click here. Once the notice requirements set forth in Sections 11.24(a) and (b) have been satisfied, Section 11.24(d) dictates the manner in which the disciplinary hearing shall proceed. In accordance with Section 11.24(d), “the USPTO Director shall hear the matter . . … Read More

State Bar Discipline Can Be Hazardous To IP Attorneys’ Right To Practice Before The USPTO (Part 1 of 2)

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.IP Ethics, Reciprocal Discipline, USPTO Director Decisions0 Comments

Consider the following – a patent attorney is investigated and charged by her state bar for violating the state’s code of ethics.  The patent attorney believes her state law license is not particularly relevant or necessary because 100% of her practice is dedicated to patent prosecution.  Therefore, to make the state bar matter “go away” with as little pain as possible, … Read More