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

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Confidentiality, Conflicts of Interest, IP Ethics0 Comments

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

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

Mass. Court Nixes Conflict Claim Against Gillette Former In-House IP Attorney Who Provided Competitor With Infringement Opinions Regarding Ex-Client’s Patents

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Conflicts of Interest, IP Ethics, Patent Ethics0 Comments

On May 5, 2016, a Massachusetts state court dismissed Gillette’s claims for breach of fiduciary duty against its former in-house IP counsel who left Gillette and went to work for a competitor, where he used allegedly privileged information gained during his prior employment and helped his new employer analyze and avoid infringement of Gillette’s patents—including patents over which he oversaw … Read More

The Mega-Firm Swiss Verein Law Firm Structure Provides More Access To Legal Services (Good) And More Conflicts Of Interest (Bad)

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Conflicts of Interest1 Comment

Baker & McKenzie is one.  Dentons is as well.  So are DLA Piper, Hogan Lovells, King & Wood Mallesons, Norton Rose Fulbright, and Squire Patton Boggs. What these venerable law firms all have in common is they are organized as Swiss associations, or “vereins.” A Swiss verein is a formal legal structure recognized under Swiss law, akin to a voluntary … Read More

“Rising Star” Falls For Suspended Trademark Attorney

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Conflicts of Interest, IP Ethics, PTO Ethics Rules, Trademark, USPTO Director Decisions0 Comments

By all accounts, Jeremy Blackowicz is a fine trademark attorney with a long and bright future ahead. According to a recent version of his law firm’s website, Mr. Blackowicz was an associate in the Boston, Massachusetts intellectual property department of Day Pitney, LLP.  According to the firm’s website, Mr. Blackowicz, a 2001 graduate of Boston University School of Law, has been recognized … Read More

Delaware Court Disqualifies Patent Lit. Counsel For Conflict Of Interest

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Conflicts of Interest, District Court Litigation, IP Ethics0 Comments

On May 15, 2015, the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware granted a defense motion disqualifying plaintiff’s counsel in a patent infringement action due to a former client conflict of interest. Innovative Memory Solutions, Inc. v. Micron Tech., Inc., No. 14-1480-RGA (D. Del. May 15, 2015) (order here). Innovative Memory Solutions, Inc. (“IMS”) filed the infringement action against … Read More

Sony Alleges Conflict Of Interest, Wants Acacia In-House And Outside Patent Litigation Counsel DQ’d

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Conflicts of Interest, District Court Litigation, IP Ethics0 Comments

Motions to disqualify opposing counsel are not uncommon, especially in patent litigation. In many cases, disqualification is sought based on an alleged former client conflict of interest. Former client disqualification motions normally allege that an attorney working in the law firm representing one of the parties to a litigation previously represented the opposing party in a “substantially related matter.” Under … Read More

Mega Firm Withdraws From Patent Infringement Suit After Former Client Alleges Conflict of Interest

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Conflicts of Interest, Patent Litigation Ethics0 Comments

On September 29, 2014, K&L Gates voluntarily withdrew as defendant’s counsel in a patent infringement action after the plaintiff asked a California federal district court to disqualify the Am Law 100 firm for a conflict of interest because the firm had previously represented the plaintiff regarding the same patents at issue in the litigation. See Cyber Switching Patents, LLC v. … Read More