PTO Ethics Decisions

May The LegalForce Be With You: California IP Firm Sues To Stop LegalZoom’s Unauthorized Practice Of Trademark Law

A California IP law firm today filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking to stop LegalZoom for what it alleges are the on-line company’s pervasive and unabated unauthorized practice of trademark law (UPL), in violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct, antitrust law, and state and federal unfair competition law, among other causes of action. …

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Better Late Than Never: PTO Updates, Expands Ethics Advice On Client Intermediaries

This post is the second in a three-part series reviewing how the USPTO interprets and applies its ethics rules to U.S. patent and trademark practitioners who represent clients by working through non-practitioner client intermediaries. In re Mikhailova and USPTO’s Expanded Ethics Guidance Three decades after the OG Notices, the USPTO published a final order in …

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USPTO Suspends Second Ex-Niro IP Attorney For 18 Months

It’s deja vu all over again: a second ex-Niro IP attorney has received an 18-month suspension from practice before the USPTO. Attorney Paul C. Gibbons, one of four attorneys from the now defunct Niro, Haller & Niro who were sanctioned for vexatious litigation arising from the firm’s representation of NPE Intellect Wireless, settled a disciplinary …

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USPTO Suspends Former Niro IP Attorney For 18 Months Following Patent Litigation Sanctions

The fallout from the Niro, Haller & Niro law firm’s doomed litigation on behalf of Intellect Wireless continues.  For patent litigator David J. Mahalek, the most junior member of the Niro litigation team, the disciplinary shoe of the USPTO did not just drop–it kicked him in the teeth with an 18-month suspension of his law …

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“The Trademark Company” Pivots To A Copyright Company

“The Trademark Company,” whose owner Matthew Swyers agreed last month to give up his license to practice before the USPTO, ending a three-year ethics battle, appears to be alive.  While still operating under the old name, logo and URL, The Trademark Company has shifted gears away from offering trademark-related services and is now offering only …

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Epic Ethics Legal Battle By Trademark Company Owner Ends Quietly With Resignation

The three-year ethics saga between Matthew Swyers, owner of The Trademark Company, and the USPTO’s Office of Enrollment and Discipline (OED), ended with a whisper, with Mr. Swyers agreeing to resign from practicing before the USPTO.  By entering into what is called an “exclusion on consent” agreement, Mr. Swyers voluntarily gives up the ability to provide U.S. trademark-related legal services for a minimum of five (5) years.  …

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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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PTAB And District Court Litigators Risk USPTO Ethical Discipline For Protective Order Violations

In patent litigation, one of the first orders of business is entry of a protective order protecting the participant’s confidential information. While protective orders come in all shapes and sizes, such orders uniformly prohibit a receiving party from disclosing a producing party’s confidential information except to a limited universe of defined individuals. In addition, a …

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