Mandatory Ethics Training For Patent Agents Is Long Overdue

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.ABA Model Rule for Minimum Continuing Legal Education, Continuing Legal Education, Patent Ethics, USPTO Rules of Professional Conduct4 Comments

What formal ethics training is required of a U.S. patent agent?  None. What minimal level of competency in ethics must a patent agent demonstrate in order to qualify for a license to practice patent law before the USPTO?  Again, the answer is “None.” For attorneys, ethics training is of considerable importance.  It starts in law school.  Accredited law schools require … Read More

You Just Received An OED Bar Grievance. Now What?

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.OED, Office of Enrollment and Discipline, Patent Ethics0 Comments

The only time a patent attorney or agent ever wants to hear from the USPTO’s Office of Enrollment and Discipline is when they are admitted to the Patent Bar and issued a registration number. Other than that, no news is good news. So if an envelope arrives from the OED (certified mail, return receipt requested), don’t expect the Office to … 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

New USPTO Discipline Search Engine Added To IPethics & INsights

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.USPTO Decisions, USPTO Director Decisions, USPTO OED0 Comments

I am pleased to announce the addition of a new family member to this Blog: A USPTO disciplinary decision search engine and reader-friendly digest of USPTO disciplinary decisions. This feature can be found by clicking here or on the “PTO Discipline” tab beneath the IPethics & INsights banner. Why A Search Engine Why go through this effort?  It all stems … 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

How Disciplinary Authorities Treat Attorneys Convicted Of Domestic Violence

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Discipline, Moral turpitide1 Comment

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.  This past year featured several high profile cases of domestic violence. Who can forget the grainy footage of former Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice cold-cocking his wife in a casino elevator? Or charges that football star Adrian Peterson had physically abused his own child—which is even more bizarre considering that a different child … Read More

“What We’ve Got Here Is Failure To Communicate”  – Preventing The Most Common Cause For Attorney Discipline And Malpractice

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Communications, Failure to Communicate, Malpractice, Patent Ethics2 Comments

It is one of the most iconic lines in the history of American cinema.  Spoken by “The Captain”–the sadistic prison warden portrayed in the 1967 film Cool Hand Luke—the “failure to communicate” passage near the top of the American Film Institute’s list of top 100 movie quotations, nestled between “I love the smell of napalm in the morning” (Robert Duvall, … 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