Competence

Epic Ethics Legal Battle By Trademark Company Owner Ends Quietly With Resignation

The three-year ethics saga between Matthew Swyers, owner of The Trademark Company, and the USPTO’s Office of Enrollment and Discipline (OED), ended with a whisper, with Mr. Swyers agreeing to resign from practicing before the USPTO.  By entering into what is called an “exclusion on consent” agreement, Mr. Swyers voluntarily gives up the ability to provide U.S. trademark-related legal services for a minimum of five (5) years.  …

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Fraudulent Trademark Solicitations Raise Ethical Concerns For TM Attys

The USPTO today issued a warning about the dangers of fraudulent trademark solicitations.  In a blog posted on the USPTO’s website (link here), Commissioner for Trademarks Mary Boney Denison warned: Trademark solicitations have been a global problem for decades, including for USPTO customers, and we have implemented several measures to protect our customers against them. …

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OED Cracks Down On Patent Practitioners Working With Invention Promoters

George Foreman pitches their services on late night television commercials.  A Google search for “how to sell my invention” turns up scores of them. Many individual inventors believe they have designed the next “better mouse trap” but typically have no clue how to monetize or market their invention. That is where invention marketing or promotion …

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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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When The Cover-Up Outweighs The Crime: Professional Discipline For Hiding Attorney Errors

“As long as the world is turning and spinning, we’re gonna be dizzy and we’re gonna make mistakes” — Mel Brooks In bar disciplinary proceedings, the word “mistake” is often used either to explain, describe, or defend against, a charge of alleged unethical behavior. But is it unethical for an attorney to make an “honest …

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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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Black Friday Comes Early: $4.95 Flat-Rate Legal Service Raises Ethical Concerns

Attention all shoppers.  Legal fees now at deeply discounted prices.  The ABA and a cloud-based computing service have launched a new fixed-price program to provide on-demand legal advice for small businesses.  The price? A flat rate of $4.95.  That is not a typo. In a Thursday press release, the ABA and Rocket Lawyer announced that they have begun testing ABA Law Connect in Illinois, …

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