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An ethics blog for IP attorneys

PTO Excludes Patent Attorney Who Paid Client To Deep-Six Ethics Complaint

By Michael E. McCabe, Jr. | January 18, 2018

Money can buy many things.  When a lawyer and client have a dispute, such as a client’s claim for legal malpractice, money often can buy “peace.”  And when clients and their lawyers settle such a  dispute, it is common for the parties to agree by contract to dismiss—or refrain from filing—a civil complaint. But a […]

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Owner Of Phony Patent Law Firm Wants Colorado UPL Case Dismissed

By Michael E. McCabe, Jr. | January 15, 2018

The owner of a fake IP law firm that is being sued in Colorado for allegedly engaging in the unauthorized practice of law has filed a motion to have the case dismissed for alleged lack of subject matter and personal jurisdiction. Dak Steiert, the owner of “Intelligent Patent Services,” which purports to be a “patent […]

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May The LegalForce Be With You: California IP Firm Sues To Stop LegalZoom’s Unauthorized Practice Of Trademark Law

By Michael E. McCabe, Jr. | December 19, 2017

A California IP law firm today filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking to stop LegalZoom for what it alleges are the on-line company’s pervasive and unabated unauthorized practice of trademark law (UPL), in violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct, antitrust law, and state and federal unfair competition law, among other causes of action. […]

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Fake Law Firm Misappropriated Practitioners’ Identities To Deceive Inventors: Complaint

By Michael E. McCabe, Jr. | December 11, 2017

From its website, “Intelligent Patent Services, LLC” (or IPS) appeared to have all of the trappings of a legitimate patent law firm.  The website included lots of content to back its self-proclaimed status as a “Patent Law Firm.”  The website boasted of supposed connections with legitimate organizations, claiming  its co-founders worked for Stanford University’s Office […]

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Intellectual Ventures Prevails In Capital One Antitrust Suit

By Michael E. McCabe, Jr. | December 2, 2017

On Friday, a Maryland federal judge granted summary judgment in favor of Intellectual Ventures on Capital One’s claims that IV’s acquisition and enforcement of patents relating to banking services violated U.S. antitrust law.  In a 53-page memorandum Opinion, Judge Paul W. Grimm found that IV’s conduct in obtaining and enforcing its patents was immune from […]

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OED Launches Diversion Program As Alternative To Traditional Attorney Discipline

By Michael E. McCabe, Jr. | November 3, 2017

In a welcome response to the growing epidemic of drug and alcohol abuse among members of the legal profession, the Office of Enrollment and Discipline (OED) of the USPTO announced today it has initiated a new disciplinary diversion program that focuses on treatment rather than punishment.  The OED’s Diversion Program, which will initially begin as […]

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So These Two Lawyers Walk Into A Bar . . . .

By Michael E. McCabe, Jr. | September 25, 2017

What sounds like the start of a joke is no laughing matter–at least not for two White House attorneys. As widely reported last week, Don McGahn and Ty Cobb, President Trump’s lawyers, were overheard at a popular D.C. restaurant discussing/arguing about a highly confidential matter concerning their client: namely how cooperative The White House should […]

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Breadth Of PTO Ethics Opinion Could Alter How IP Firms Interact With Foreign Associates

By Michael E. McCabe, Jr. | September 14, 2017

This post is the last of a three-part series reviewing how the USPTO interprets and applies its ethics rules to IP practitioners who represent patent and trademark clients through non-practitioner intermediaries. Where Are We Now: Evolution of PTO Ethics Opinions Thirty years ago, the PTO issued (in 1987 and 1988) ethics opinions regarding very discrete […]

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Better Late Than Never: PTO Updates, Expands Ethics Advice On Client Intermediaries

By Michael E. McCabe, Jr. | September 13, 2017

This post is the second in a three-part series reviewing how the USPTO interprets and applies its ethics rules to U.S. patent and trademark practitioners who represent clients by working through non-practitioner client intermediaries. In re Mikhailova and USPTO’s Expanded Ethics Guidance Three decades after the OG Notices, the USPTO published a final order in […]

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Are Your Firm’s Foreign Associate Practices Ethical?

By Michael E. McCabe, Jr. | September 12, 2017

It is commonplace for IP law firms in the United States to receive referrals for patent and trademark application filing, prosecution, and related services from sources other than the actual client.  In one of the most common scenarios, patent and trademark services are directed to a U.S. IP law firm through an intermediary, such as […]

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