Conflicts of Interest

Advanced Conflict Of Interest Waivers: Tricks Or Treats?

Halloween is upon us.  We put out the candy bowl and wait for the tiny ballerinas, ghosts, and football players to ring the doorbell and shout “trick or treat.”  Despite the seemingly optional “or” language in the request, traditionally the kids will always get the treat. Law firms also prefer “treats” in the form of …

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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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Mass. Court Nixes Conflict Claim Against Gillette Former In-House IP Attorney Who Provided Competitor With Infringement Opinions Regarding Ex-Client’s Patents

On May 5, 2016, a Massachusetts state court dismissed Gillette’s claims for breach of fiduciary duty against its former in-house IP counsel who left Gillette and went to work for a competitor, where he used allegedly privileged information gained during his prior employment and helped his new employer analyze and avoid infringement of Gillette’s patents—including …

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IP Conflicts of Interest, Hot Potatoes, and “The Game of [Litigation] Life”

“You will learn about life when you play The Game of Life” – original TV jingle for “The Game of Life” Plaintiffs, alleged owners of the IP rights to the “The Game of Life”, want to end up on Millionaire Estates.  Defendants, including the toy company that has been making and selling “The Game” for …

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Texas Court Upholds Baker Botts Patent Malpractice Win

A Dallas appeals court has upheld a trial court’s ruling in favor of Baker Botts, L.L.P. on its former client’s claim for patent malpractice based on the firm’s simultaneous representation of two clients in the same technical field. See Axcess International, Inc. v. Baker Botts, L.L.P., No. 05-14-01151-CV (Tex. App.–Dallas Mar. 24, 2016) (mem. op.) …

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IPO Hosting Webinar on Conflicts of Interest in Patent Prosecution

On Wednesday, February 10, 2016, at 2:00 PM EST, I will be participating in a webinar hosted by IPO Chat Channel  on Conflicts of Interest in Patent Prosecution in light of the recent decision of the Massachusetts Supreme Court in Maling v. Finnegan, Henderson.  In Maling, a case of first impression, the court rejected the …

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The Mega-Firm Swiss Verein Law Firm Structure Provides More Access To Legal Services (Good) And More Conflicts Of Interest (Bad)

Baker & McKenzie is one.  Dentons is as well.  So are DLA Piper, Hogan Lovells, King & Wood Mallesons, Norton Rose Fulbright, and Squire Patton Boggs. What these venerable law firms all have in common is they are organized as Swiss associations, or “vereins.” A Swiss verein is a formal legal structure recognized under Swiss …

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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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