DRI’s article discussed Michael’s rare victory in a litigated USPTO disciplinary proceeding that lasted over three years. The Office of Enrollment and Discipline (OED ) prosecuted Michael’s client, a patent attorney, for violating three ethics rules. The OED Director sought Michael’s client’s disbarment or an indefinite suspension. After a trial, an administrative law judge found in favor of the OED Director and ordered Michael’s client suspended from practice before the USPTO for 18 months.
On appeal, the USPTO Director reversed, finding that the Agency violated its own Rules of Disciplinary Procedure, in violation of the Accardi Doctrine, a rule of administrative law which holds that administrative agencies are required to follow their own rules. The USPTO Director also denied the OED Director’s post-appeal efforts to correct the errors that resulted in the reversal and rejected a request for a new trial, sealing a complete victory for Michael’s patent attorney client.