5 Myths About USPTO Ethics Investigations and Disciplinary Complaints

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Patent Ethics, USPTO Ethics Investigation, USPTO OEDLeave a Comment

Many IP practitioners are misinformed about the function of the USPTO’s Office of Enrollment and Discipline (OED). Here are the top 5 myths about OED ethics investigations and attorney discipline at the USPTO. Myth #1 – The OED Only Cares About Practice Before the USPTO There is a perception that the USPTO only cares about enforcing its ethics rules in … Read More

USPTO Director Reverses ALJ In Disciplinary Case, Rules In Favor Of Attorney

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Patent Ethics, USPTO Director Decisions, USPTO OEDLeave a Comment

On August 5, 2016, the USPTO Director issued a Final Order reversing an administrative law judge’s initial decision, which had suspended a practitioner for 18 months. The Final Order held the OED Director violated USPTO precedent and mandatory rules regarding reciprocal discipline—37 C.F.R. § 11.24.  The Final Order is significant because it not only confirms the mandatory nature of reciprocal discipline, … Read More

TM Lawyer’s Attack on Constitutionality of OED Investigation Dismissed–For Now

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.IP Ethics, OED, Office of Enrollment and Discipline, USPTO Ethics Investigation, USPTO OED2 Comments

A federal district judge has dismissed a trademark lawyer’s complaint alleging that the USPTO’s Office of Enrollment and Discipline’s (“OED’s) investigation of him violated his rights under the Fourth and Fifth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution.  The Court held that dismissal of his federal complaint was appropriate because the matters raised in the complaint are currently being adjudicated by the … Read More

PTAB And District Court Litigators Risk USPTO Ethical Discipline For Protective Order Violations

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Patent Ethics, PTAB Discipline, PTO Ethics Decisions, USPTO OED2 Comments

In patent litigation, one of the first orders of business is entry of a protective order protecting the participant’s confidential information. While protective orders come in all shapes and sizes, such orders uniformly prohibit a receiving party from disclosing a producing party’s confidential information except to a limited universe of defined individuals. In addition, a standard provision in protective orders … Read More

Mission Impassable: Moral Character Can Block Applicants From USPTO Bar Membership

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Office of Enrollment and Discipline, Patent Ethics, USPTO OEDLeave a Comment

The Wolf: “Just because you are a character doesn’t mean that you have character.” – Pulp Fiction So you say you want to become registered to practice before the USPTO? You possess all the requisite technical skills. You did well in law school. You recently passed the Patent Bar Exam with flying colors. Congratulations. So what’s the problem? Well, there … Read More

IP Attorney Challenging Constitutionality Of USPTO OED’s “Abusive” Ethics Investigation

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.OED, Office of Enrollment and Discipline, USPTO Ethics Investigation, USPTO OED1 Comment

An IP attorney has filed a lawsuit against the United States Patent and Trademark Office seeking to prohibit the Agency’s Office of Enrollment and Discipline (OED) from continuing to investigate him for alleged ethics violations because the process employed in conducting the ethics investigation is abusive and violates due process. The complaint, which was filed on January 6, 2016 by … Read More

USPTO Suspends Attorney For Six Months For Derogatory Patent Filings

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Civility/Professionalism, Patent Ethics, Suspension, USPTO OED5 Comments

This week at “Back to School Night,” I read with great interest some words of wisdom posted on the wall as part of a set of class “Rules.” The children agreed to three general principles of self-governance: Be nice to others. Don’t use bad words. Be respectful. Lawyers also have their own rules of self-governance, codified in the Rules of Professional … Read More

Bar Counsel Imposes Discipline For “Personal” Misconduct & Legal But Unethical Behavior

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Patent Ethics, PTO Ethics Decisions, PTO Ethics Rules, USPTO Director Decisions, USPTO OED2 Comments

Many members of the public, and some attorneys themselves, believe that if they do not lie, they do not steal, and they do not cheat, then their conduct necessarily complies with the Rules of Professional Conduct.  This is a false assumption.  Others believe that an attorney’s “transgressions” in her personal life will not affect her ability to practice law.  This … Read More