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

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

Putting Teeth Into The PTAB’s Sanctioning Powers: Is Mohawk A Sign Of Things To Come?

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.IP Ethics, Prejudicial to administration of justice, PTAB Discipline, PTAB Ethics, PTAB Sanctions1 Comment

For federal court practitioners, sanctions have long existed as a deterrent to litigation misconduct and a weapon against gamesmanship.  The federal rules of civil procedure provide a range of tools for litigators who believe their opponents are not abiding by their obligations: Rule 11 checks improper pleadings and other court filings; Rules 26, 30 and 37 curb improper discovery and … Read More

Are Your Firm’s Foreign Associate Practices Ethical?

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Communications, Competence, Conflicts of Interest, IP Ethics, Office of Enrollment and Discipline, Patent Ethics1 Comment

It is commonplace for IP law firms in the United States to receive referrals for patent and trademark application filing, prosecution, and related services from sources other than the actual client.  In one of the most common scenarios, patent and trademark services are directed to a U.S. IP law firm through an intermediary, such as a non-U.S. law firm or … Read More

Greenberg Traurig Avoids Former Client’s DQ Motion By Consenting To Withdrawal

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Confidentiality, Conflicts of Interest, IP EthicsLeave a Comment

Greenberg Traurig has apparently decided that discretion is the better part of valor.  The law firm has agreed voluntarily to withdraw as counsel from a litigation rather than face a disqualification motion in which it was charged with a conflict of interest for trying to invalidate patents it helped prosecute.  We previously reported here that Greenberg Traurig had “switched sides” … Read More

Atty’s Final Act For Porn Film Copyright Shakedown Scheme: Disbarment

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Attorney Fraud, Attorney Internet Scams, Copyright ethics, Criminal Conviction, Dishonesty, IP Ethics, IP Litigation SanctionsLeave a Comment

Once upon a time, John Steele, the founder of the law firm formally known as Prenda Law, believed he had found the perfect recipe for a successful niche copyright law practice. First, monitor certain file-sharing websites containing porn and obtain the IP addresses of individuals who downloaded or attempted to download said porn. Next, file “John Doe” lawsuits for copyright … Read More

New Lawsuit Accuses IP Counsel Of Attacking Same Patents It Prosecuted

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Confidentiality, Conflicts of Interest, IP Ethics1 Comment

It is Ethics 101 that a law firm cannot use its former client’s confidential information in a substantially related matter on behalf of a different client directly adverse to the former client, at least not without the former client’s informed consent.  The reason for this common sense rule, which prohibits “side-switching,” is that a lawyer’s duty of confidentiality extends beyond … Read More

Untying The IP Ethics Knot

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Continuing Legal Education, IP Ethics, Legal Ethics, Litigation Ethics, MalpracticeLeave a Comment

Do you worry about ethics in your IP practice?  If not, you should.  There is way too much going on out there, and not knowing what is happening can leave you exposed to ethics and malpractice risk. If you can spare 90 minutes, tune in tomorrow from 1:00-2:30 pm EST for the ABA-IPL Landslide Webinar Series, entitled “Identifying and Resolving Ethical … Read More