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 Conduct2 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

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

Narrow Scope of “Patent Agent Privilege” Creates Ethical Traps for the Unwary

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.IP Ethics, Office of Enrollment and Discipline, Patent Agent, Patent Ethics, Unauthorized Practice of Law0 Comments

The Federal Circuit’s 2-1 decision yesterday in In re Queen’s University at Kingston resolved a split in the district courts over whether a “patent agent”-client privilege exists independent from the attorney-client privilege. The majority held it does. While the court’s holding provides clarification in this case of first impression, patent agents, their law firm employers, and their clients should not … Read More

Why No Mandatory Ethics Training for Patent Agents?

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Continuing Legal Education, Patent Agent0 Comments

Since 1974, legal ethics instruction has been required by the major accreditation institute for law schools. Legal ethics subjects are now covered in the essay portion of state bar examinations across the country; passage of the bar examination is a condition of licensure in most states. Further still, most states require lawyers to pass the Multistate Professional Responsibility Examination (MPRE) as … Read More