Don’t Do Me Like That: IP Lawyer Claims Former Partner Stole Firm Trade Secrets

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.IP Ethics, Law Firm Breakups, Trade Secret Misappropriation1 Comment

“Baby why you hurt me leave me and desert me?” — Foolish (2002) Ashanti A California attorney sued his former law partner for allegedly stealing trade secrets and fraudulent billing practices, in violation of a contract detailing the disbanding of the attorneys’ prior partnership. In a complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on May … Read More

Mass. Court Nixes Conflict Claim Against Gillette Former In-House IP Attorney Who Provided Competitor With Infringement Opinions Regarding Ex-Client’s Patents

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

On May 5, 2016, a Massachusetts state court dismissed Gillette’s claims for breach of fiduciary duty against its former in-house IP counsel who left Gillette and went to work for a competitor, where he used allegedly privileged information gained during his prior employment and helped his new employer analyze and avoid infringement of Gillette’s patents—including patents over which he oversaw … Read More

IP Conflicts of Interest, Hot Potatoes, and “The Game of [Litigation] Life”

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Conflicts of Interest, Copyright, District Court Litigation, IP EthicsLeave a Comment

“You will learn about life when you play The Game of Life” – original TV jingle for “The Game of Life” Plaintiffs, alleged owners of the IP rights to the “The Game of Life”, want to end up on Millionaire Estates.  Defendants, including the toy company that has been making and selling “The Game” for decades, are trying to keep … Read More

Narrow Scope of “Patent Agent Privilege” Creates Ethical Traps for the Unwary

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.IP Ethics, Office of Enrollment and Discipline, Patent Agent, Patent Ethics, Unauthorized Practice of LawLeave a Comment

The Federal Circuit’s 2-1 decision yesterday in In re Queen’s University at Kingston resolved a split in the district courts over whether a “patent agent”-client privilege exists independent from the attorney-client privilege. The majority held it does. While the court’s holding provides clarification in this case of first impression, patent agents, their law firm employers, and their clients should not … Read More

Lawyer Who Photoshopped Self Into Celebrity Photos Posted On Firm Website Suspended For Deceptive Advertising

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Advertising, Discipline, IP Ethics, Patent EthicsLeave a Comment

“You are known by the company you keep” – Aesop’s Fables As lawyers, we are often judged by prospective clients based upon the quality of our past or existing clients.  If you represent a large, rich, powerful corporation, the message that sends to a prospective client is – if he or she is good enough for them, that’s good enough … Read More

USPTO Suspends Former GWU Ethics Professor For Two Years

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Discipline, IP Ethics, Reciprocal DisciplineLeave a Comment

Mark H. Allenbaugh, a former award-winning Adjunct Professor on Ethics in Business and the Professions at the George Washington University, was suspended for two years from practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The suspension came as a result of a reciprocal disciplinary proceeding commenced by the Office of Enrollment and Discipline after the OED learned that Mr. Allenbaugh … Read More

Get Out Of Town: The Ethical Perils Of Outsourcing IP Services

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Competence, Confidentiality, IP Ethics, Outsourcing, Patent EthicsLeave a Comment

Many IP lawyers engage other lawyers or nonlawyers as independent contractors, directly or through intermediaries, to provide various legal and nonlegal support services. The outsourcing market, often referred to as the “legal process outsourcing” market or “professional employer organization” market, is a multi-billion dollar industry. While there is nothing per se unethical about a lawyer outsourcing legal and non-legal services, ethical … Read More

USPTO Reciprocally Excludes Patent Lawyer Based On State Court Disbarment

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Client Funds, IP Ethics, Patent Ethics, PTO Ethics Decisions, Reciprocal DisciplineLeave a Comment

 On July 15, 2015, the USPTO Director entered an order excluding Richard Polidi from practice before the Office.  The USPTO Director’s disciplinary action came after the Director of the Office of Enrollment and Discipline (OED) filed a complaint for reciprocal discipline predicated on Mr. Polidi’s disbarment from State Bar of North Carolina. Based on public documents filed in the North Carolina disciplinary … Read More