State Bar Discipline Can Be Hazardous To IP Attorneys’ Right To Practice Before The USPTO (Part 2 of 2)

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.IP Ethics, Reciprocal Discipline, USPTO Director DecisionsLeave a Comment

This is the second of a two-part series on reciprocal discipline in the USPTO.  To read the first part click here. Once the notice requirements set forth in Sections 11.24(a) and (b) have been satisfied, Section 11.24(d) dictates the manner in which the disciplinary hearing shall proceed. In accordance with Section 11.24(d), “the USPTO Director shall hear the matter . . … Read More

State Bar Discipline Can Be Hazardous To IP Attorneys’ Right To Practice Before The USPTO (Part 1 of 2)

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.IP Ethics, Reciprocal Discipline, USPTO Director DecisionsLeave a Comment

Consider the following – a patent attorney is investigated and charged by her state bar for violating the state’s code of ethics.  The patent attorney believes her state law license is not particularly relevant or necessary because 100% of her practice is dedicated to patent prosecution.  Therefore, to make the state bar matter “go away” with as little pain as possible, … Read More

Patent Attorney Disbarred For Attempting To Extort Fees From Former Law Firm

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.IP Ethics, Patent Attorney Disciplinary Matters, Reciprocal Discipline, USPTO Director DecisionsLeave a Comment

On December 31, 2014, the USPTO Director issued an Order of Reciprocal Discipline excluding a Bellevue, Washington patent attorney from practicing before the Office. Former patent attorney Jeffrey T. Haley’s exclusion followed his voluntary resignation from the State Bar of Washington, where he had been charged with attempted extortion from his former law firm. The Compensation Dispute In 1979, Mr. Haley … Read More

Patent Attorney Who Lied to Client and Bar Counsel Receives Two-Month Suspension

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Misrepresentations, Patent Attorney Disciplinary Matters, USPTO Director DecisionsLeave a Comment

“It is strange the way the ignorant and inexperienced so often and so undeservedly succeed when the informed and the experienced fail.” – Mark Twain in Eruption In the world of attorney discipline, the mental state of the attorney is an important factor in determining the type and severity of discipline bar counsel will seek. When the USPTO imposes discipline, an … Read More

OED Disciplines Patent Attorney Accused of Child Molestation

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Suspension, USPTO Director DecisionsLeave a Comment

Not long ago, David C. Plache was a licensed physician, a licensed attorney, and a registered patent practitioner. Then came a 29-count indictment for child sex abuse, which ultimately led to a conviction for child endangerment. Plache subsequently lost his right to practice medicine and his state bar license was suspended for three years. On September 24, 2014, the USPTO … Read More

“Super Lawyer” Resigns From USPTO Bar Following Ethics Complaint

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Patent Attorney Disciplinary Matters, PTO Ethics Decisions, PTO Ethics Rules, USPTO Director Decisions1 Comment

Warning to all patent and trademark practitioners—allowing a non-practitioner to “ghost sign” your name on papers filed with the USPTO can be hazardous to your law license. So learned the named partner of a large IP boutique firm who routinely allowed a non-attorney assistant to sign his name on documents filed with the Office. In re Druce, No. D2014-13 (Sept. … Read More

Domestic Violence Conviction Nets Attorney USPTO Reprimand

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Reciprocal Discipline, USPTO Director DecisionsLeave a Comment

In a reciprocal discipline matter, the USPTO publicly reprimanded a successful and experienced patent attorney following his criminal conviction for domestic battery. See In re Gortler, No. D2013-06 (USPTO Dir.). Attorney Hugh P. Gortler’s problems began in 2011, soon after he told his wife he wanted a divorce. See In re Gortler, Case Nos. 11-C-2562-DFM (Cal. Bar Ct. Oct. 29, 2012). … 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