IP Ethics

Balancing Newly Divergent State, USPTO Ethics Rules

This article appeared in Law360 on September 23, 2020. (Subscription Required) The rules of ethics adopted by each state are often said to be based upon or modeled after the American Bar Association’s Model Rules of Professional Conduct. While the ABA model rules provide a template for states to consider when adopting their own ethics …

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USPTO Building

What To Do When You Receive An OED Grievance.

Whether you practice in trademark or patent law, you generally want to avoid receiving communication from the Office of Enrollment and Discipline (OED). But what happens when they send you a certified letter that includes a Request for Information and Evidence Under 37 CFR 11.22(a) (RFI)?​​ Understanding one of OED’s core missions, investigating allegations of …

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Quandries and Quagmires: Legal Ethics, Risk Management in Pandemic

by Charles Lundberg, Esq. Reprinted with permission. Published March 30, 2020 in Minnesota Lawyer. In a span of less than two weeks, the coronavirus outbreak has caused unprecedented disruption in law firms and created a host of new issues for firm general counsel and ethics partners. Here is a sampling of new ethics and risk …

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Mixing Inventor And Patent Prosecutor Intent To Deceive: CleanTech Muddies Inequitable Conduct Law

Inequitable conduct is supposed to be personal to each individual who owes a duty of disclosure to the USPTO. Thus, just because an inventor may have knowingly and intentionally lied to the USPTO does not mean that prosecution counsel did so as well. Indeed, most prosecutors are in a position where they must rely upon …

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Avoiding USPTO Discipline: Five Recommendations for IP Practitioners

The USPTO’s Office of Enrollment and Discipline (OED) exists, in large part, to ensure that patent and trademark practitioner are practicing ethically and in accordance with the Office’s Rules of Professional Conduct.  The OED’s staff includes a dozen attorneys, many of whom have practical experience in the area of IP law.  Whether you have been …

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Federal Court DQs Law Firm in Patent Infringement Case, Rejecting Advance Conflict Waiver

A federal court in Alabama yesterday disqualified a law firm from representing a new client in a patent infringement case against a current firm client. In Southern Visions, LLP v. Red Diamond, Inc. (N.D. Ala. Feb. 26, 2019), the court held that Bradley Arant Boult Cummings (“Bradley”) was ethically barred from representing one client (Southern …

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All In The Family: The Tricky Ethics Of Corporate Affiliate Conflicts

If you represent a corporation, do you represent all entities in the corporate family? For example, if you represent a parent company, does that mean you also represent the parent’s subsidiaries? Does it matter if a subsidiary is wholly-owned vs. partially owned? How about if you represent a subsidiary–does that mean you also represent its …

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