USPTO Director Reverses ALJ In Disciplinary Case, Rules In Favor Of Attorney

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

On August 5, 2016, the USPTO Director issued a Final Order reversing an administrative law judge’s initial decision, which had suspended a practitioner for 18 months. The Final Order held the OED Director violated USPTO precedent and mandatory rules regarding reciprocal discipline—37 C.F.R. § 11.24.  The Final Order is significant because it not only confirms the mandatory nature of reciprocal discipline, … Read More

IPO Hosting Webinar on Conflicts of Interest in Patent Prosecution

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Conflicts of Interest, Continuing Legal Education, Patent Ethics0 Comments

On Wednesday, February 10, 2016, at 2:00 PM EST, I will be participating in a webinar hosted by IPO Chat Channel  on Conflicts of Interest in Patent Prosecution in light of the recent decision of the Massachusetts Supreme Court in Maling v. Finnegan, Henderson.  In Maling, a case of first impression, the court rejected the plaintiff’s argument that representing two … Read More

Get Out Of Town: The Ethical Perils Of Outsourcing IP Services

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Competence, Confidentiality, IP Ethics, Outsourcing, Patent Ethics0 Comments

Many IP lawyers engage other lawyers or nonlawyers as independent contractors, directly or through intermediaries, to provide various legal and nonlegal support services. The outsourcing market, often referred to as the “legal process outsourcing” market or “professional employer organization” market, is a multi-billion dollar industry. While there is nothing per se unethical about a lawyer outsourcing legal and non-legal services, ethical … Read More

What They Didn’t Teach In Law School: The Ethical Duty Of “Technical Competence”

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct, Competence, Confidentiality, Continuing Legal Education0 Comments

“True wisdom is knowing what you don’t know.” — Confucius One of my former partners, a brilliant patent lawyer who was (and is) widely respected in the patent bar, used his desktop computer for one purpose and one purpose only—as a convenient surface on which to attach yellow sticky post-it notes to himself. To my knowledge, he never turned his … 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

Arizona Bar IP Section Hot for Ethics

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Continuing Legal Education0 Comments

On Friday, May 15, I was honored to be a presenter at the Annual Meeting of the Intellectual Property Law Section of the Arizona Bar, held in beautiful Scottsdale, Arizona.  Roberta Tepper of the State Bar of Arizona and I went a full two hours, providing the section members with treasured ethics CLE credits. The IP Bar in Arizona is a remarkable group of practitioners.  … Read More

Patent Attorney Disbarred For Attempting To Extort Fees From Former Law Firm

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.IP Ethics, Patent Attorney Disciplinary Matters, Reciprocal Discipline, USPTO Director Decisions0 Comments

On December 31, 2014, the USPTO Director issued an Order of Reciprocal Discipline excluding a Bellevue, Washington patent attorney from practicing before the Office. Former patent attorney Jeffrey T. Haley’s exclusion followed his voluntary resignation from the State Bar of Washington, where he had been charged with attempted extortion from his former law firm. The Compensation Dispute In 1979, Mr. Haley … Read More