Trademark ethics

USPTO Responds to OIG Report – Continues to Blame Attorneys and Foreign Agents

Last week, we provided commentary regarding a scathing report issued by the Inspector General of the Department of Commerce (“OIG”).  Since that time, the USPTO published a blog post, penned by Drew Hirshfeld, performing the functions and duties of the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director, and David Gooder, Commissioner for Trademarks.  …

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DOC OIG Slams USPTO’s Handling of Foreign Trademark Filings, U.S. Counsel Rule

On August 11, 2021, the Inspector General of the Department of Commerce (“OIG”), which oversees the USPTO, issued a scathing report on the state of the USPTO’s control over the integrity of the Trademark Register.  The report discussed a number of areas of concern, including the enforcement of the U.S. Counsel rule, as well as …

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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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Trademark Signature Best Practices and OED

The letter comes in the mail from OED asking you a few questions about a handful of trademark applications, including whether each form was electronically signed by the respective applicant or attorney. The light bulb still has not hit—you ask yourself who is OED, and why are they asking about signatures. You read further into …

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New IP Ethics CLE: A Look at the USPTO’s Focus on Declarations

On Monday, June 1, 2020, I will be moderating an ethics webinar panel discussion on behalf of the ABA’s Intellectual Property Law Section (for which I serve as Chair of the Ethics and Professional Responsibility Committee). The webinar is entitled “A Look at the USPTO’s Focus on Declarations” and will focus on ethics issues relating …

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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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“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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