Circuit Courts Warn: The New “F-Bomb” In Litigation Is “Frivolous”

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Duty to TribunalLeave a Comment

It pays to be nice. That is the message from two recent Circuit Courts of Appeal decisions that criticized parties for lack of civility because counsel characterized their opponent’s arguments as “frivolous.” In the first case, Bennett v. State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 731 F.3d 584, 585 (6th Cir. 2013), the Sixth Circuit reversed a judgment in favor of State Farm … Read More

To Err Is Human – But Is It Unethical?

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.IP Ethics, PTO Ethics Decisions, USPTO OED1 Comment

“I made a wrong mistake” – Yogi Berra   Before his sentencing for orchestrating the largest Ponzi scheme in U.S. history, Bernie Madoff explained to the court he had “made a terrible mistake.”  To borrow a line from my 11-year old daughter: “No duh.” Madoff’s “mistake” led to a 150-year prison sentence. In bar disciplinary proceedings, the word “mistake” is … Read More

USPTO Disbars Attorney For Engaging In Pattern Of Client Neglect, Deceit, And Misappropriation

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Discipline, Patent Attorney Disciplinary Matters, PTO Ethics DecisionsLeave a Comment

Never lie, never cheat, never steal. – John Wooden Patent attorney Rodney K. Worrel should have listened to the sage advice of UCLA’s legendary basketball coach. The California-based attorney has been excluded from practice before the USPTO for engaging in a pattern of misconduct that involved multiple acts of neglect, deceit, and conversion of client funds. Administrative Law Judge Alexander … Read More

Courts Sanction Patent Counsel for Litigation Misconduct–Will USPTO Discipline Be Next?

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.IP Litigation Sanctions, Misrepresentations, Patent Litigation EthicsLeave a Comment

What happens in patent litigation does not necessarily stay in litigation.  This is especially true if a court sanctions counsel for litigation misconduct.  News about such conduct travels quickly. Inevitably, it catches the attention of a different, and potentially more dangerous, audience–the Office of Enrollment and Discipline (OED).  Depending on the nature and severity of the litigation misconduct, an OED ethics investigation followed by formal charges alleging litigation counsel violated the USPTO’s Rules of Professional Conduct may prove far … Read More

“Super Lawyer” Resigns From USPTO Bar Following Ethics Complaint

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Patent Attorney Disciplinary Matters, PTO Ethics Decisions, PTO Ethics Rules, USPTO Director Decisions1 Comment

Warning to all patent and trademark practitioners—allowing a non-practitioner to “ghost sign” your name on papers filed with the USPTO can be hazardous to your law license. So learned the named partner of a large IP boutique firm who routinely allowed a non-attorney assistant to sign his name on documents filed with the Office. In re Druce, No. D2014-13 (Sept. … Read More