OED Investigates TM Attys Who File Altered Or Fake Specimens: The China Syndrome

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Communications, Competence, Legal Ethics, Office of Enrollment and Discipline, Trademark ethicsLeave a Comment

What does the Chinese government’s decision to pay its citizens to apply for and register trademarks with the USPTO have to do with IP attorney ethics?   Plenty, as it turns out. As recently reported by the American Bar Association, see article doctored-trademark-specimen, the USPTO is experiencing “a plague of fake, doctored and digitally altered specimens” filed with new Section 1(a) … 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

PTO Excludes Patent Attorney Who Paid Client To Deep-Six Ethics Complaint

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Patent Ethics, Prejudicial to administration of justice, Settlement ethicsLeave a Comment

Money can buy many things.  When a lawyer and client have a dispute, such as a client’s claim for legal malpractice, money often can buy “peace.”  And when clients and their lawyers settle such a  dispute, it is common for the parties to agree by contract to dismiss—or refrain from filing—a civil complaint. But a lawyer’s ability to buy peace … Read More

This Post Could Save Your Patent Law License

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

Some patent attorneys and agents are under the impression that once they have passed the Patent Bar exam and have earned a PTO registration number, they are essentially registered for life, with no further action required on their part.  If you are one of those people, then you should read on. One of the jobs of the USPTO’s Office of … Read More

Litigators Beware: Bad News Can Trigger USPTO Ethics Investigation

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.IP Litigation Sanctions, Office of Enrollment and Discipline, Patent Ethics, Patent Litigation EthicsLeave a Comment

Bad news sells.  As the author Douglas Adams observed, “Nothing travels faster than the speed of light with the possible exception of bad news, which obeys its own special laws.” Take IP litigation, for example.  The mainstream IP media regularly reports on both allegations and court decisions regarding issues relating to attorney conduct–or alleged misconduct.  Some of the more common … Read More

PTO Suspends PTAB Atty Who Filed Multiple TM Apps For Cannabis Client

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Conflicts of Interest, Unauthorized Practice of Law, USPTO Director Decisions, USPTO Ethics InvestigationLeave a Comment

The USPTO has suspended a PTO-employed attorney for thirty (30) days for practicing trademark law before the Office for private clients, in violation of federal conflicts of interest laws.  See In re Tara K. Laux, Proc. No. D2016-39 (USPTO Dir. Mar. 9, 2017).  According to a settlement agreement reached with the OED Director, attorney Tara Laux, who has worked at … Read More

USPTO Suspends Former Niro IP Attorney For 18 Months Following Patent Litigation Sanctions

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.District Court Litigation, Duty to Tribunal, IP Litigation Sanctions, Litigation Ethics, Patent Litigation Sanctions, PTO Ethics Decisions2 Comments

The fallout from the Niro, Haller & Niro law firm’s doomed litigation on behalf of Intellect Wireless continues.  For patent litigator David J. Mahalek, the most junior member of the Niro litigation team, the disciplinary shoe of the USPTO did not just drop–it kicked him in the teeth with an 18-month suspension of his law license. Readers may recall that, … Read More

District Court Affirms PTO’s Disbarment Of Patent Agent Who Practiced TM Law

Michael E. McCabe, Jr.Patent Agent, Petition to E.D. Va., Unauthorized Practice of LawLeave a Comment

On February 27, 2017, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia affirmed a decision by the USPTO Director excluding a registered patent agent from practice before the USPTO because the agent practiced trademark law. Factual Background Bang-er Shia became a registered patent agent in 2005; she has never been admitted to the bar of any court as … Read More