An ethics blog for IP attorneys

Why Your IP Law Firm Needs A Risk Management Audit

By Emil Ali | June 16, 2023
Risk Management of IP firms

As lawyers, we help clients solve problems, get results, but also advise them on risk.  Clients rely on their lawyers for their expertise in the area—as well as their advice that is generally devoid of emotions.  But who advises lawyers and law firms on their risks?  Following the same thought process, and the adage of […]

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Departing Ethically – 5 Things IP Lawyers and Law Firms Should Evaluate When Transitioning Firms

By Emil Ali | April 26, 2023
Lady lawyer

Lawyers no longer stay at one firm their entire career.  Some may desire to leave a firm to join another firm, while other may choose to transition to a role in government, in-house, non-profit, or even retire.  What is extremely clear under the ethics rules is that lawyers have a right to leave, and the […]

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Office of Enrollment and Discipline Offers Anonymous Ethics Hotline for PTO Practitioners

By Michael E. McCabe, Jr. | March 18, 2023

Who are you going to call if you have a question about whether your conduct as a patent or trademark attorney is ethical?   Many state bars offer “ethics hotlines” to aid their members in their understanding of, and compliance with, their obligations under applicable rules of professional conduct. Although the USPTO does not advertise a […]

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Shots On The House: Above The Law’s State of the Union Drinking Game A Hangover For Lawyers

By Michael E. McCabe, Jr. | February 8, 2023

Above the Law claims it provides legal analysis and relevant commentary on the legal industry.  After reading senior editor Joe Patrice’s recent missive, Finally, A Reason to Drink!! Here’s your guide to making the State of the Union bearable, it seems ATL has discovered a new mission: encouraging attorneys to consume copious amounts of alcohol. […]

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USPTO Reminds Patent Practitioners Regarding Their Duty Of Disclosure Obligations (And Inequitable Conduct)

By Emil Ali | October 3, 2022

When I tell my law students about their future fiduciary duties to clients, I sum them up as loyalty and confidentiality,  but that is not the whole story.  This is because lawyers have other enumerated duties to clients, courts, and the profession as a whole. However, patent attorneys have another duty that could be correlated […]

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Lawyers Who “Dabble” In USPTO Trademark Matters Face Nightmare Of OED Ethics Investigations, Discipline

By Michael E. McCabe, Jr. | July 20, 2022

“A man’s got to know his limitations”  – Clint Eastwood, Magnum Force  (1973) The USPTO’s Office of Enrollment and Discipline has become increasingly active in the last several years, particularly in investigating business or general practice attorneys who dabble in trademark law.  Many have learned the hard way–through an ethics inquiry and possible disciplinary decisions–regarding […]

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Federal District Court dismisses claims against the USPTO by former Patent Examiner refused Registration to Practice

By Emil Ali | June 20, 2022

Co-Authored by Aditi Kulkarni and Emil J. Ali On April 26, 2022, The United States District Court for the Eastern District Court of Virginia dismissed a former patent examiner’s complaint and petition for review of the USPTO’s decision denying an application for registration to practice as a registered patent agent in a reasoned decision. The […]

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Speak No Evil: When Must You Self-Report Your Misconduct To The USPTO

By Michael E. McCabe, Jr. | May 25, 2022

A court rules a patent attorney engaged in inequitable conduct. A client sues its trademark attorney for malpractice. A state bar files ethics charges against a patent practitioner. The police arrest a patent agent for domestic violence. A litigator is sanctioned by the PTAB under Rule 11.18 for making a frivolous argument. These are situations […]

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Trademark Ethics: 5 Things That Might Keep You Up At Night

By Michael E. McCabe, Jr. | May 5, 2022

Emil Ali has been keeping very busy representing trademark practitioners in USPTO ethics investigations and disciplinary proceedings.  Next Thursday, May 12, Emil will be sharing his insights into the perilous ethical landscape faced by trademark counsel, in a live online webinar.  Every trademark practitioner should watch and learn from the mistakes others have made!  This […]

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USPTO Orders Six-Month Suspension For Patent Agent Who Lied To Client About Design App And Failed To Cooperate With OED

By Michael E. McCabe, Jr. | April 25, 2022

The USPTO has ordered a registered patent agent who allowed a patent application to go abandoned, failed to communicate with his client, and failed to cooperate with the Office of Enrollment and Discipline’s ethics investigation to serve a six-month license suspension and one-year probation.  This case presents a cautionary tale for IP practitioners and teaches […]

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