In re Karl L. Larson, No. D2016-36 (USPTO Dir. Sept. 1, 2016)

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Recordkeeping, USPTO

Disposition: Ninety (90)-day suspension from practice before the USPTO, with requirement that practitioner complete ten (10) hours of continuing legal education in trust accounting and law practice management.  See decision here

Procedure: Settlement pursuant to 37 C.F.R. § 11.26

Related to USPTO Practice? Yes

Misconduct: Unintentional financial misconduct.

Summary: The USPTO Director entered a settlement agreement suspending a patent practitioner for ninety (90) days pursuant to 37 C.F.R. § 11.26 for failing to deposit unearned advanced fees in 12 different client matters in a trust account, instead depositing the fees in the practitioner’s operating account. In addition, the practitioner failed to maintain appropriate financial records.

Facts: Mr. Larson is a Texas-based practitioner who was registered as a patent agent in 1997 and as a patent attorney in 2003. Between approximately November 2014 and January 2016, Mr. Larson failed to deposit approximately $12,480 in advance fees for legal services and USPTO fees into a client trust account. The funds were received in advance from twelve (12) clients and deposited into Mr. Larson’s law firm operating account. Mr. Larson drew funds for personal and business expenses from his law firm’s operating account that held client funds. In addition, Mr. Larson failed to keep financial records as required by 37 C.F.R. § 11.115(f).

USPTO Ethics Rules: 37 C.F.R. § 11.115(f).