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An ethics blog for IP attorneys

SCOTUS Threatens Sanctions Against Patent Attorney: Is USPTO Ethical Discipline Next?

By Michael E. McCabe, Jr. | December 17, 2014

Last week, the United States Supreme Court turned more than a few heads when it issued an attorney discipline order against Howard Shipley – a partner at Foley & Lardner, LLC – for his conduct relating to a (denied) petition for writ of certiorari.  The Supreme Court is demanding that, within 40 days, Shipley show cause “why […]

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IP Ethics – Upcoming CLE Event

By Michael E. McCabe, Jr. | December 7, 2014

On Wednesday, December 10, 2014, the New Jersey Intellectual Property Law Association (NJIPLA) will hold its first ever seminar dedicated exclusively to ethical issues in the practice of intellectual property law.  The half-day program, entitled Ethics in IP, will feature speakers covering a range of ethics topics specifically tailored for the IP practitioner.  Whether your practice is litigation, prosecution, or counseling, […]

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USPTO Disbars Attorney For Engaging In Pattern Of Client Neglect, Deceit, And Misappropriation

By Michael E. McCabe, Jr. | December 1, 2014

Never lie, never cheat, never steal. – John Wooden Patent attorney Rodney K. Worrel should have listened to the sage advice of UCLA’s legendary basketball coach. The California-based attorney has been excluded from practice before the USPTO for engaging in a pattern of misconduct that involved multiple acts of neglect, deceit, and conversion of client […]

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Sony Alleges Conflict Of Interest, Wants Acacia In-House And Outside Patent Litigation Counsel DQ’d

By Michael E. McCabe, Jr. | November 24, 2014

Motions to disqualify opposing counsel are not uncommon, especially in patent litigation. In many cases, disqualification is sought based on an alleged former client conflict of interest. Former client disqualification motions normally allege that an attorney working in the law firm representing one of the parties to a litigation previously represented the opposing party in […]

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IP Law Firm Pushes Back Against Lawsuit Alleging It Fraudulently Procured Confidential Inventions

By Michael E. McCabe, Jr. | November 23, 2014

Intellectual property law firm Kilpatrick Townsend is fighting back against accusations in a recent complaint accusing the firm and its client, Omnicell, Inc., of conspiring to fraudulently obtain confidential information about a third-party’s inventions and then using that information to acquire patents for Omnicell naming only an Omnicell employee as the inventor. MV Circuit Design, Inc. v. Omnicell, Inc., et al., No. 1:14-cv-02028-DAP (Sept. 12, 2014 N.D. […]

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Fired Trademark Attorney And Husband Arrested For Stabbing Law Firm Managing Partner

By Michael E. McCabe, Jr. | November 14, 2014

Job counselors always seem to be full of advice for people who are fired from their jobs.  “Go out gracefully” and “don’t burn bridges” are common suggestions for the newly-unemployed. Recently-fired intellectual property attorney Alecia Schmuhl might have benefitted from such words of wisdom.  Instead, she sits in a jail cell charged with malicious wounding and abduction while her victims–the managing […]

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Can IP Litigation Counsel Be Jointly Liable Or Ethically Disciplined For Their Clients’ Intentional Destruction Of Evidence?

By Michael E. McCabe, Jr. | November 10, 2014

On October 29, 2014, ALJ Thomas B. Pender issued an order in Certain Opaque Polymers (Inv. No. 337-TA-883) granting a default judgment of trade secret misappropriation as a sanction for the respondent’s spoliation of electronic evidence and imposing sanctions of $1.9 million against the respondent and its counsel.  The joint liability determination raises troubling legal issues regarding the propriety […]

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CAFC Disciplines Patent Litigator Who Forwarded Former Chief Judge’s “BFF” Email To Clients

By Michael E. McCabe, Jr. | November 6, 2014

On November 5, 2014, the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued an order publicly reprimanding IP litigator Edward R. Reines.  See In re Edward R. Reines, 14-MA004 (Fed. Cir. Nov. 5, 2014) (en banc).  The discipline is the latest chapter in an unusual saga surrounding an email to Reines from former Chief Circuit Court Judge […]

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After the Protostorm – Court Restricts Intellectual Property Firm’s Spending Following $8 Million Malpractice Judgment

By Michael E. McCabe, Jr. | November 1, 2014

In the wake of a multi-million patent malpractice verdict against Antonelli Terry Stout & Kraus LLP, a federal judge has imposed “temporary” financial restrictions on the Virginia-based IP firm. Protostorm LLC et al. v. Antonelli Terry Stout & Kraus LLP, No. 1:08-cv-00931 (E.D.N.Y.) As discussed in our October 13, 2014 post, Protostorm LLC engaged the Antonelli firm […]

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After Winning Decade-Long Battle To Fix One-Day Late Filing Error, Pharma Company Sues Former IP Counsel For Patent Malpractice

By Michael E. McCabe, Jr. | October 31, 2014

What a difference a day made Twenty-four little hours Brought the sun and the flowers Where there used to be rain – Dinah Washington In the world of pharmaceutical patents, every day of exclusive rights can translate into millions of dollars in additional revenue. Global biopharmaceutical company The Medicines Company (MDCO) knows this all too […]

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