Office of Enrollment and Discipline

Speak No Evil: When Must You Self-Report Your Misconduct To The USPTO

A court rules a patent attorney engaged in inequitable conduct. A client sues its trademark attorney for malpractice. A state bar files ethics charges against a patent practitioner. The police arrest a patent agent for domestic violence. A litigator is sanctioned by the PTAB under Rule 11.18 for making a frivolous argument. These are situations …

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USPTO Orders Six-Month Suspension For Patent Agent Who Lied To Client About Design App And Failed To Cooperate With OED

The USPTO has ordered a registered patent agent who allowed a patent application to go abandoned, failed to communicate with his client, and failed to cooperate with the Office of Enrollment and Discipline’s ethics investigation to serve a six-month license suspension and one-year probation.  This case presents a cautionary tale for IP practitioners and teaches …

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China skyline

Top Three Things IP Practitioners Must Know When Working With Foreign Associates

As we noted in a prior post, the USPTO has gone on record allowing U.S. practitioners to partner with foreign attorneys by way of ownership of law firms, without violating the USPTO Rules of Professional Conduct.  However, practitioners continue to be surprised when they are told that practitioner relationships with foreign associates and agents outside …

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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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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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OED Investigates TM Attys Who File Altered Or Fake Specimens: The China Syndrome

What does the Chinese government’s decision to pay its citizens to apply for and register trademarks with the USPTO have to do with IP attorney ethics?   Plenty, as it turns out. As recently reported by the American Bar Association, see article doctored-trademark-specimen, the USPTO is experiencing “a plague of fake, doctored and digitally altered specimens” …

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OED Launches Diversion Program As Alternative To Traditional Attorney Discipline

In a welcome response to the growing epidemic of drug and alcohol abuse among members of the legal profession, the Office of Enrollment and Discipline (OED) of the USPTO announced today it has initiated a new disciplinary diversion program that focuses on treatment rather than punishment.  The OED’s Diversion Program, which will initially begin as …

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