Unauthorized Practice of Law

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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Colorado Supreme Court Shuts Down Sham “Expert” Patent Law Firm

On February 6, 2019, the Colorado Supreme Court shuttered a Colorado business, which once billed itself as an “expert patent law” firm, and its owner, for engaging in the unauthorized practice of law. According to the Court’s order (here), Intelligent Patent Services, LLC (IPS) and its non-lawyer owner, Dak Steiert, are enjoined from engaging in …

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Colorado Man Stole Lawyer’s Identity To Create Fictional Online Law Firm: Criminal Complaint

Prosecutors in Eagle County, Colorado have filed a five-count criminal complaint against Dak Steiert, alleged mastermind behind a fictitious IP law firm.  According to state prosecutors, Steiert stole the identities of a real patent lawyer and two others to create a fake law firm which he used to lure unsuspecting inventor “clients” into paying thousands …

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Owner Of Phony Patent Law Firm Wants Colorado UPL Case Dismissed

The owner of a fake IP law firm that is being sued in Colorado for allegedly engaging in the unauthorized practice of law has filed a motion to have the case dismissed for alleged lack of subject matter and personal jurisdiction. Dak Steiert, the owner of “Intelligent Patent Services,” which purports to be a “patent …

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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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Fake Law Firm Misappropriated Practitioners’ Identities To Deceive Inventors: Complaint

From its website, “Intelligent Patent Services, LLC” (or IPS) appeared to have all of the trappings of a legitimate patent law firm.  The website included lots of content to back its self-proclaimed status as a “Patent Law Firm.”  The website boasted of supposed connections with legitimate organizations, claiming  its co-founders worked for Stanford University’s Office …

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Breadth Of PTO Ethics Opinion Could Alter How IP Firms Interact With Foreign Associates

This post is the last of a three-part series reviewing how the USPTO interprets and applies its ethics rules to IP practitioners who represent patent and trademark clients through non-practitioner intermediaries. Where Are We Now: Evolution of PTO Ethics Opinions Thirty years ago, the PTO issued (in 1987 and 1988) ethics opinions regarding very discrete …

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