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 to signature practices on trademark and patent filings.

Our panelists will address why signatures have become an issue of interest particularly to the Office of Enrollment and Discipline (OED), which investigates alleged violations of the USPTO’s professional conduct rules. Joining me in our discussion will be:

  • Emil J. Ali, Partner, Carr Butterfield, LLC
  • Robert J. Lavache, Senior Attorney, USPTO
  • Kathleen Cooney-Porter, Senior Advisor, USPTO

Our panelists will address why signatures on USPTO documents have become a matter of interest, particularly with respect to trademark documents that have allegedly been signed by someone other than the named signatory. We will also address the various ethical issues that may be implicated as a result of an improperly-executed patent or trademark filing.

In particular, the OED has been proactive in investigating patent and trademark practitioners for their declaration filings with the USPTO, from the veracity of those filings to the placement of signatures in filings. What can we learn from the USPTO’s disciplinary decisions about how to ensure our conduct comports with the USPTO Rules of Professional Conduct? The panelists will discuss the best practices to follow to ensure your patent and trademark filings comply with The PTO’s ethics rules as interpreted and applied by OED.

The webinar is available free of charge to members of the ABA IP Law Section. The ABA charges $105 for non-members to attend (or $75 for ABA members who are not also members of the IP Law Section). Our program was originally scheduled to be presented live in April at the ABA IPL Spring meeting, which was cancelled due to the pandemic. For more information on registration for our program, please go to the link here or directly to the ABA website.

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