This Post Could Save Your Patent Law License

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.OED, Office of Enrollment and Discipline, Patent Ethics, USPTO Administrative SuspensionLeave a Comment

Some patent attorneys and agents are under the impression that once they have passed the Patent Bar exam and have earned a PTO registration number, they are essentially registered for life, with no further action required on their part.  If you are one of those people, then you should read on. One of the jobs of the USPTO’s Office of … 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

PTO Suspends PTAB Atty Who Filed Multiple TM Apps For Cannabis Client

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Conflicts of Interest, Unauthorized Practice of Law, USPTO Director Decisions, USPTO Ethics InvestigationLeave a Comment

The USPTO has suspended a PTO-employed attorney for thirty (30) days for practicing trademark law before the Office for private clients, in violation of federal conflicts of interest laws.  See In re Tara K. Laux, Proc. No. D2016-39 (USPTO Dir. Mar. 9, 2017).  According to a settlement agreement reached with the OED Director, attorney Tara Laux, who has worked at … 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

District Court Affirms PTO’s Disbarment Of Patent Agent Who Practiced TM Law

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Patent Agent, Petition to E.D. Va., Unauthorized Practice of LawLeave a Comment

On February 27, 2017, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia affirmed a decision by the USPTO Director excluding a registered patent agent from practice before the USPTO because the agent practiced trademark law. Factual Background Bang-er Shia became a registered patent agent in 2005; she has never been admitted to the bar of any court as … Read More

Top Seven Ethics Risks When Patent Practitioners Work With Invention Marketing Companies

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Client Funds, Communications, Fee-Splitting, Invention Promoters, IP Ethics3 Comments

Working with invention promotion or marketing companies can be hazardous to your law license.  That is the clear message coming from the USPTO’s Office of Enrollment and Discipline, which is in charge of policing and enforcing the Rules of Professional Conduct governing patent attorneys, patent agents, and others who practice before the Office.   The OED has been coming down … 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 DecisionsLeave a Comment

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

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