The Ethics of Independence

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct, Communications, CompetenceLeave a Comment

“Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom” – Albert Einstein As we prepare to celebrate the birthday of our country’s independence, I am reminded that we, as lawyers, owe a significant ethical duty to exercise independence in the representation of our clients.  As an attorney, independence is not a privilege … Read More

IP Counsel Who Blindly Follow Client “Instructions” Risk Loss Of Law License

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct, Competence, Office of Enrollment and Discipline, Patent Attorney Disciplinary Matters, Supreme Court Ethics, Unauthorized Practice of LawLeave a Comment

Intellectual Property law firms often receive substantive documents, including original applications and amendments, with “instructions” from their client to file the paper in the USPTO, essentially as is. And just as often, IP counsel dutifully follow their clients’ orders and simply have a non-lawyer “clean up” the document so it “looks” right and, without any substantive review by counsel, sign and … Read More

SCOTUS Threatens Sanctions Against Patent Attorney: Is USPTO Ethical Discipline Next?

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Competence, Discipline, Supreme Court Ethics2 Comments

Last week, the United States Supreme Court turned more than a few heads when it issued an attorney discipline order against Howard Shipley – a partner at Foley & Lardner, LLC – for his conduct relating to a (denied) petition for writ of certiorari.  The Supreme Court is demanding that, within 40 days, Shipley show cause “why he should not be sanctioned” … Read More

USPTO Suspends Ethically-Challenged Patent Attorney

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Client Funds, Communications, Competence, USPTO Director DecisionsLeave a Comment

On August 19, 2014, the USPTO Director issued a final order suspending a patent attorney for 20-months based on three separate suspensions issued by the Supreme Court of California. The USPTO added an additional six-month period to the suspension—for a total suspension of 26 months—based on the attorney’s failure to cooperate with the OED’s disciplinary investigation. In re Donrad, No. … Read More

Former Client Publicly Blasts Attorney Suspended by USPTO for Failure to Communicate

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Communications, Competence, Discipline, PTO Ethics Decisions5 Comments

The USPTO recently settled a disciplinary action filed against an IP attorney by suspending him from practice before the Office for five (5) months for failing to communicate and allowing his clients’ trademark applications to become abandoned without their knowledge or consent.  In re Shaffer, No. D2014-18. This disciplinary matter arose from an attorney’s representation of two trademark clients. The USPTO’s public … Read More

USPTO Excludes Attorney For Practicing Trademark Law With Suspended License

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Competence, Discipline, PTO Ethics Decisions, Unauthorized Practice of LawLeave a Comment

The USPTO Deputy Director has accepted the resignation of a suspended practitioner who was caught prosecuting trademark matters while his USPTO bar license was suspended. The action means the attorney, Leonard Tachner, is excluded from practice before the Office in patent, trademark, and other non-patent matters. In re Tachner, No. D2014-22. The saga of Mr. Tachner’s ethical troubles began ten years ago. At that time, Mr. Tachner worked as a sole … Read More