Communications

ABA’s “Tips For Practicing Law” Provides Valuable Ethics Guidance For USPTO Practitioners

“Mr. Corleone is a man who insists on hearing bad news at once.” – Tom Hagen, The Godfather In the Summer 2016 issue of Litigation, Steven A. Weiss, Chair of the ABA’s Section of Litigation, authored an article entitled, “Eight More Tips For Practicing Law.”  Although the article focuses on a number of best practices …

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What They Didn’t Teach You In Law School: Representing Client With Diminished Capacity

In recognition of Mental Health Awareness Week, the focus this month on “What They Didn’t Teach You in Law School” is on representing a client with diminished mental capacity.  According to the leading mental health organization in the country, 1 in 5 adults in the United States suffer from some form of mental health condition …

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“What We’ve Got Here Is Failure To Communicate”  – Preventing The Most Common Cause For Attorney Discipline And Malpractice

It is one of the most iconic lines in the history of American cinema.  Spoken by “The Captain”–the sadistic prison warden portrayed in the 1967 film Cool Hand Luke—the “failure to communicate” passage near the top of the American Film Institute’s list of top 100 movie quotations, nestled between “I love the smell of napalm …

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The Ethics of Independence

“Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom” – Albert Einstein As we prepare to celebrate the birthday of our country’s independence, I am reminded that we, as lawyers, owe a significant ethical duty to exercise independence in the representation of our clients.  As an attorney, …

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After Confessing To Ethics Violation, Patent Attorney Disbarred For Commingling And Converting Client Funds

“If you tell the truth you don’t have to remember anything.” – Mark Twain Give patent attorney Stephen Robinson at least a little credit – he was honest about being dishonest. The fact he self-reported his ethical violations to the Kansas Bar was not enough to save his state law license.  In re Stephen R. Robinson, No. 107,311 (Kan. Sup. Ct.). Nor …

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USPTO Suspends Ethically-Challenged Patent Attorney

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 …

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Former Client Publicly Blasts Attorney Suspended by USPTO for Failure to Communicate

The USPTO recently settled a disciplinary action filed against an IP attorney by suspending him from practice before the Office for five (5) months for failing to communicate and allowing his clients’ trademark applications to become abandoned without their knowledge or consent.  In re Shaffer, No. D2014-18. This disciplinary matter arose from an attorney’s representation of two …

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Alj Fernández Issues Initial Decision Excluding Patent Attorney Who Kept Fees After Failing To Provide Services

Administrative Law Judge Alexander Fernández issued an initial decision excluding a patent attorney from practice before the USPTO because the attorney accepted fees from a client to prepare a patent application, failed to provide any legal services, and failed to return any of the client’s fee even after the client was awarded a money judgment against the …

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