IP Ethics

Mass. Sup. Ct. Schedules Oral Argument on Subject Matter Conflicts in Patent Prosecution

How close is too close?  That is a question that has perplexed patent attorneys who prepare and prosecute patent applications for multiple clients in the same, or similar, fields of technology.  At least one state appeals court has decided to take this question head on. As previously reported in our January 2, 2015, posting, the Justices of …

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Patent Attorney Disbarred For Attempting To Extort Fees From Former Law Firm

On December 31, 2014, the USPTO Director issued an Order of Reciprocal Discipline excluding a Bellevue, Washington patent attorney from practicing before the Office. Former patent attorney Jeffrey T. Haley’s exclusion followed his voluntary resignation from the State Bar of Washington, where he had been charged with attempted extortion from his former law firm. The Compensation …

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To Err Is Human – But Is It Unethical?

“I made a wrong mistake” – Yogi Berra   Before his sentencing for orchestrating the largest Ponzi scheme in U.S. history, Bernie Madoff explained to the court he had “made a terrible mistake.”  To borrow a line from my 11-year old daughter: “No duh.” Madoff’s “mistake” led to a 150-year prison sentence. In bar disciplinary …

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Massachusetts Supreme Court To Tackle Thorny Issue Of Subject Matter Conflicts In Patent Prosecution

On December 26, 2014, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts issued the following Announcement in an appeal pending before the court: ANNOUNCEMENT: The Justices are soliciting amicus briefs. Whether, under Mass. R. Prof. C. 1.7, an actionable conflict of interest arose when, according to the allegations in the complaint, attorneys in different offices of the …

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IP Ethics – Upcoming CLE Event

On Wednesday, December 10, 2014, the New Jersey Intellectual Property Law Association (NJIPLA) will hold its first ever seminar dedicated exclusively to ethical issues in the practice of intellectual property law.  The half-day program, entitled Ethics in IP, will feature speakers covering a range of ethics topics specifically tailored for the IP practitioner.  Whether your practice is litigation, prosecution, or counseling, …

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Sony Alleges Conflict Of Interest, Wants Acacia In-House And Outside Patent Litigation Counsel DQ’d

Motions to disqualify opposing counsel are not uncommon, especially in patent litigation. In many cases, disqualification is sought based on an alleged former client conflict of interest. Former client disqualification motions normally allege that an attorney working in the law firm representing one of the parties to a litigation previously represented the opposing party in …

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