Conflicts of Interest

Are Your Firm’s Foreign Associate Practices Ethical?

It is commonplace for IP law firms in the United States to receive referrals for patent and trademark application filing, prosecution, and related services from sources other than the actual client.  In one of the most common scenarios, patent and trademark services are directed to a U.S. IP law firm through an intermediary, such as …

Are Your Firm’s Foreign Associate Practices Ethical? Read More »

Finnegan Henderson Committed Legal Malpractice By Favoring Marking Blade Inventor Over Corporate Patent Client: Lawsuit

Who is an IP firm’s patent prosecution client when the firm represents a limited liability company and one of its members is the sole inventor?  Does the answer change if the LLC is never actually formed, and no one ever advises the law firm?  Those are just two questions that appear to be at the …

Finnegan Henderson Committed Legal Malpractice By Favoring Marking Blade Inventor Over Corporate Patent Client: Lawsuit Read More »

Greenberg Traurig Avoids Former Client’s DQ Motion By Consenting To Withdrawal

Greenberg Traurig has apparently decided that discretion is the better part of valor.  The law firm has agreed voluntarily to withdraw as counsel from a litigation rather than face a disqualification motion in which it was charged with a conflict of interest for trying to invalidate patents it helped prosecute.  We previously reported here that …

Greenberg Traurig Avoids Former Client’s DQ Motion By Consenting To Withdrawal Read More »

New Lawsuit Accuses IP Counsel Of Attacking Same Patents It Prosecuted

It is Ethics 101 that a law firm cannot use its former client’s confidential information in a substantially related matter on behalf of a different client directly adverse to the former client, at least not without the former client’s informed consent.  The reason for this common sense rule, which prohibits “side-switching,” is that a lawyer’s …

New Lawsuit Accuses IP Counsel Of Attacking Same Patents It Prosecuted Read More »

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

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 …

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

Ethics Experts Sue Trump For “Countless Conflicts of Interest” From Foreign Payments

The rules of ethics–particularly rules that prohibit conflicts of interest and require the utmost loyalty–apply to the President of the United States.  That is the premise underlying a lawsuit filed today by a group of ethics experts against President Trump.  See Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington v. Donald J. Trump, Case No. 1:17-cv-00458-RA …

Ethics Experts Sue Trump For “Countless Conflicts of Interest” From Foreign Payments Read More »

IP Firm Tees Up Dismissal Of Subject Matter Conflict, Negligent Patent Prosecution Malpractice Case

A recent patent malpractice action filed in federal court in New York against an IP firm raises once again the issue of subject matter conflicts between concurrent clients in prosecuting patent applications in a similar field of technology.  The issue of subject matter conflicts in concurrent patent representation continues to be an area of significant …

IP Firm Tees Up Dismissal Of Subject Matter Conflict, Negligent Patent Prosecution Malpractice Case Read More »

Advanced Conflict Of Interest Waivers: Tricks Or Treats? (Part 2)

Guessing wrong about the enforceability of an advanced conflict waiver could lead to unexpectedly bad consequences.  One doomsday scenario is illustrated by a recent California immediate appellate court decision in the case of Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton, LLP v. J-M Manufacturing, 244 Cal.App.4th 590 (2016). Sheppard Mullin represented J-M Manufacturing (“J-M”) in a Qui Tam litigation.  …

Advanced Conflict Of Interest Waivers: Tricks Or Treats? (Part 2) Read More »

Scroll to Top