Loose Lips Sink Attorney Secrets

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Confidentiality, Patent EthicsLeave a Comment

I was on a long flight recently and had the misfortune of sitting behind two lawyers for several hours.  For almost the entire duration of the flight, the attorneys were involved in a detailed discussion about what was obvious (to me anyway) to be a client matter.  They were discussing an upcoming deposition, strategical issues, and client communications.  And they … 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

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 LawLeave a 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

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

Don’t Let The Screen Door Hit You: The Ethics Of Switching Firms

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Confidentiality, Deceit, IP Ethics, Law Firm Breakups, Patent EthicsLeave a Comment

You are sitting at your desk when the phone rings.  It’s a head hunter. The caller tells you about an amazing opportunity with another firm across town.  That call starts a series of calls and meetings.  Eventually, the new firm offers you a position.  There are, however, two strings attached.  First, the new firm expects you to generate a certain … Read More

Practitioner Beware: Outsourcing Patent Applications May Be Illegal

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Outsourcing, Patent Ethics1 Comment

I am solicited on an almost daily basis by overseas organizations offering deeply-discounted patent application drafting services.  It may very well be that such services, which typically originate from countries where there is an abundant supply of technically-skilled labor, can offer a competitive product at significant cost savings compared to fees charged by U.S. patent practitioners for equivalent services.  Thus, … Read More

PTO Excludes Patent Attorney Who Paid Client To Deep-Six Ethics Complaint

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Patent Ethics, Prejudicial to administration of justice, Settlement ethicsLeave a Comment

Money can buy many things.  When a lawyer and client have a dispute, such as a client’s claim for legal malpractice, money often can buy “peace.”  And when clients and their lawyers settle such a  dispute, it is common for the parties to agree by contract to dismiss—or refrain from filing—a civil complaint. But a lawyer’s ability to buy peace … Read More

Breadth Of PTO Ethics Opinion Could Alter How IP Firms Interact With Foreign Associates

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Communications, Competence, Conflicts of Interest, Patent Ethics, PTO Ethics Rules, Unauthorized Practice of LawLeave a Comment

This post is the last of a three-part series reviewing how the USPTO interprets and applies its ethics rules to IP practitioners who represent patent and trademark clients through non-practitioner intermediaries. Where Are We Now: Evolution of PTO Ethics Opinions Thirty years ago, the PTO issued (in 1987 and 1988) ethics opinions regarding very discrete questions concerning two aspects of … Read More