Attorney-Client Sex: A Bad Idea That’s Also Unethical

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct, Conflicts of Interest, Legal Ethics, Moral turpitide1 Comment

For decades, regulators and courts have ruled that sex with a client during the course of the professional relationship is unethical. Nonetheless, lawyers continue to flout precedent and are frequently disciplined for engaging in sexual relations with their clients. Some cases of impermissible attorney-client sex are no brainers–such as the attorney who insists on a “legal services-for-sexual services” fee arrangement. … Read More

Federal Court DQs Law Firm in Patent Infringement Case, Rejecting Advance Conflict Waiver

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Conflicts of Interest, IP Ethics, Legal Ethics, Litigation Ethics, Patent Ethics, Patent Litigation EthicsLeave a Comment

A federal court in Alabama yesterday disqualified a law firm from representing a new client in a patent infringement case against a current firm client. In Southern Visions, LLP v. Red Diamond, Inc. (N.D. Ala. Feb. 26, 2019), the court held that Bradley Arant Boult Cummings (“Bradley”) was ethically barred from representing one client (Southern Visions) against another client (Red … Read More

All In The Family: The Tricky Ethics Of Corporate Affiliate Conflicts

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Conflicts of Interest, Disqualification, IP Ethics, Litigation Ethics, Litigation Ethics, Patent Litigation EthicsLeave a Comment

If you represent a corporation, do you represent all entities in the corporate family? For example, if you represent a parent company, does that mean you also represent the parent’s subsidiaries? Does it matter if a subsidiary is wholly-owned vs. partially owned? How about if you represent a subsidiary–does that mean you also represent its parent or grandparent entity in … Read More

Colorado Supreme Court Shuts Down Sham “Expert” Patent Law Firm

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.IP Ethics, Lawyer Identity Theft, Legal Ethics, Patent Ethics, Unauthorized Practice of Law1 Comment

On February 6, 2019, the Colorado Supreme Court shuttered a Colorado business, which once billed itself as an “expert patent law” firm, and its owner, for engaging in the unauthorized practice of law. According to the Court’s order (here), Intelligent Patent Services, LLC (IPS) and its non-lawyer owner, Dak Steiert, are enjoined from engaging in the unauthorized practice of law … Read More

Patent Prosecution Malpractice: Minimizing the Risk of Claims

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.IP Malpractice, Legal Malpractice, Malpractice, Patent Malpractice, Patent Prosecution MalpracticeLeave a Comment

Malpractice in patent prosecution can be an expensive (very expensive) and time-consuming proposition. Defense costs alone can run well into the seven figures. No patent prosecutor or law firm wants to face that kind of exposure. On February 21, 2019, I will be presenting a 90-minute CLE webinar hosted by Strafford on best practices for minimizing the risks of being … Read More

FAQs For IP Practitioners Who Receive A Request For Information and Evidence Under 37 CFR 11.22(f) From USPTO/OED

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Patent EthicsLeave a Comment

I am frequently contacted by patent and trademark practitioners who have been served with a “Request for Information and Evidence Under 37 C.F.R. 11.22(f)” from the Director of the Office of Enrollment and Discipline (OED) of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO).   In Fiscal Year 2018, the OED Director issued over 100 such “Requests” (also referred to as “RFIs”).  … Read More

OED Investigates TM Attys Who File Altered Or Fake Specimens: The China Syndrome

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Communications, Competence, Legal Ethics, Office of Enrollment and Discipline, Trademark ethicsLeave a Comment

What does the Chinese government’s decision to pay its citizens to apply for and register trademarks with the USPTO have to do with IP attorney ethics?   Plenty, as it turns out. As recently reported by the American Bar Association, see article doctored-trademark-specimen, the USPTO is experiencing “a plague of fake, doctored and digitally altered specimens” filed with new Section 1(a) … Read More

Leaving South Tahoe: Will Your Advance Conflict Waiver Survive Sheppard Mullin v. J-M Manufacturing?

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Advanced Waivers, Conflicts of Interest, Fee Dispute, IP Ethics, Legal EthicsLeave a Comment

On Friday, August 30, 2018, the California Supreme Court ruled that a blanket advanced conflict waiver signed by two current clients, which purported to authorize lawyers from Sheppard Mullin to accept an unrelated representation of one client adverse to another, was void against public policy because the firm failed to obtain informed consent.  Even though the engagement agreement was legally … Read More