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An ethics blog for IP attorneys

OED Investigates TM Attys Who File Altered Or Fake Specimens: The China Syndrome

By Michael E. McCabe, Jr. | October 3, 2018

What does the Chinese government’s decision to pay its citizens to apply for and register trademarks with the USPTO have to do with IP attorney ethics?   Plenty, as it turns out. As recently reported by the American Bar Association, see article doctored-trademark-specimen, the USPTO is experiencing “a plague of fake, doctored and digitally altered specimens” […]

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Leaving South Tahoe: Will Your Advance Conflict Waiver Survive Sheppard Mullin v. J-M Manufacturing?

By Michael E. McCabe, Jr. | September 3, 2018

On Friday, August 30, 2018, the California Supreme Court ruled that a blanket advanced conflict waiver signed by two current clients, which purported to authorize lawyers from Sheppard Mullin to accept an unrelated representation of one client adverse to another, was void against public policy because the firm failed to obtain informed consent.  Even though […]

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ABA Approves Changes To Attorney Advertising Ethics Rules

By Michael E. McCabe, Jr. | August 7, 2018

The American Bar Association’s House of Delegates approved on Monday an overhaul to its ethics rules governing attorney advertising and solicitation.  The ABA vote on Monday capped a four-year effort to modernize ethics rules promulgated in the 1980s–long before the Internet forever changed how lawyers market their services and communicate with prospective clients. The ABA’s […]

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Seeking National Uniformity, California (Finally) Adopts New Ethics Rules

By Michael E. McCabe, Jr. | May 11, 2018

California is an outlier no more–at least when it comes to its ethics rules. On May 10, 2018, the California Supreme Court issued an order approving the adoption of a new set of Rules of Professional Conduct patterned after the ABA Model Rules, which were first published in 1983.  The court’s ruling means that California […]

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Don’t Let The Screen Door Hit You: The Ethics Of Switching Firms

By Michael E. McCabe, Jr. | April 3, 2018

You are sitting at your desk when the phone rings.  It’s a head hunter. The caller tells you about an amazing opportunity with another firm across town.  That call starts a series of calls and meetings.  Eventually, the new firm offers you a position.  There are, however, two strings attached.  First, the new firm expects […]

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Ethical Considerations for Young Lawyers

By Michael E. McCabe, Jr. | March 7, 2018

Many situations arise in the work place where young lawyers find themselves facing real ethical dilemmas. For example, your supervisor has asked you to do something that you believe may violate the Rules of Professional Conduct.   Or you become aware that another lawyer has engaged in conduct already that may be unethical.  Or a close […]

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Practitioner Beware: Outsourcing Patent Applications May Be Illegal

By Michael E. McCabe, Jr. | March 3, 2018

I am solicited on an almost daily basis by overseas organizations offering deeply-discounted patent application drafting services.  It may very well be that such services, which typically originate from countries where there is an abundant supply of technically-skilled labor, can offer a competitive product at significant cost savings compared to fees charged by U.S. patent […]

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Email To Bar Counsel To “Go F*#k Yourself!!!” Surefire Way To Attorney Discipline (Even In New Jersey)

By Michael E. McCabe, Jr. | March 2, 2018

Like voluntarily sticking one’s head into a lion’s den, communicating with Disciplinary Counsel can be a risky proposition.  Whatever the reason for the communication, attorneys should be mindful not only about what they are saying but how they are saying it.  This is not a difficult concept for most to grasp, but the Bar expects […]

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Putting Teeth Into The PTAB’s Sanctioning Powers: Is Mohawk A Sign Of Things To Come?

By Michael E. McCabe, Jr. | February 28, 2018

For federal court practitioners, sanctions have long existed as a deterrent to litigation misconduct and a weapon against gamesmanship.  The federal rules of civil procedure provide a range of tools for litigators who believe their opponents are not abiding by their obligations: Rule 11 checks improper pleadings and other court filings; Rules 26, 30 and […]

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

By Michael E. McCabe, Jr. | February 12, 2018

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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