USPTO Ethics Investigation

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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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 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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Sue-And-Settle NPE Patent Litigation Tactics May Violate USPTO Ethics Rules

Non-practicing entities who engage in a pattern of filing numerous lawsuits without any intention of testing the merits, solely to extract low ball settlements, should take note that the USPTO’s Office of Enrollment and Discipline (OED) takes a keen interest in such conduct.  A recent “exceptional case” decision in a patent case from federal court …

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PTO Suspends PTAB Atty Who Filed Multiple TM Apps For Cannabis Client

The USPTO has suspended a PTO-employed attorney for thirty (30) days for practicing trademark law before the Office for private clients, in violation of federal conflicts of interest laws.  See In re Tara K. Laux, Proc. No. D2016-39 (USPTO Dir. Mar. 9, 2017).  According to a settlement agreement reached with the OED Director, attorney Tara …

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2016 USPTO Disciplinary Decisions – The Year In Review

To all of you who have been dying to know what happened in the world of ethics and discipline at the USPTO in the past year, I am pleased to say your wait is finally over.  I have written, “2016 USPTO Disciplinary Decisions — The Year in Review.” Why was The 2016 Year in Review …

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The Danger Of Failing To Cooperate In A USPTO Ethics Investigation

“What we’ve got here is failure to communicate.”  Cool Hand Luke A law school professor once told me the easiest question to grade on an exam is the one where the student fails to provide any answer at all.  So too is the case for the IP practitioner who chooses to ignore a USPTO ethics …

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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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