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An ethics blog for IP attorneys

All In The Family: The Tricky Ethics Of Corporate Affiliate Conflicts

By Michael E. McCabe, Jr. | February 26, 2019

If you represent a corporation, do you represent all entities in the corporate family? For example, if you represent a parent company, does that mean you also represent the parent’s subsidiaries? Does it matter if a subsidiary is wholly-owned vs. partially owned? How about if you represent a subsidiary–does that mean you also represent its […]

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Colorado Supreme Court Shuts Down Sham “Expert” Patent Law Firm

By Michael E. McCabe, Jr. | February 18, 2019

On February 6, 2019, the Colorado Supreme Court shuttered a Colorado business, which once billed itself as an “expert patent law” firm, and its owner, for engaging in the unauthorized practice of law. According to the Court’s order (here), Intelligent Patent Services, LLC (IPS) and its non-lawyer owner, Dak Steiert, are enjoined from engaging in […]

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Patent Prosecution Malpractice: Minimizing the Risk of Claims

By Michael E. McCabe, Jr. | February 14, 2019

Malpractice in patent prosecution can be an expensive (very expensive) and time-consuming proposition. Defense costs alone can run well into the seven figures. No patent prosecutor or law firm wants to face that kind of exposure. On February 21, 2019, I will be presenting a 90-minute CLE webinar hosted by Strafford on best practices for […]

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FAQs For IP Practitioners Who Receive A Request For Information and Evidence Under 37 CFR 11.22(f) From USPTO/OED

By Michael E. McCabe, Jr. | October 8, 2018

I am frequently contacted by patent and trademark practitioners who have been served with a “Request for Information and Evidence Under 37 C.F.R. 11.22(f)” from the Director of the Office of Enrollment and Discipline (OED) of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO).   In Fiscal Year 2018, the OED Director issued over 100 such “Requests” […]

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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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