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An ethics blog for IP attorneys

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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Portus Drops Subject Matter Conflict Claim Against Kenyon; Alleges Firm’s Prosecution Malpractice Shortened Patent Term By 3+Years

By Michael E. McCabe, Jr. | July 30, 2017

For the past year, Portus Singapore Pte. Ltd. (“Portus”), a former client of the now-defunct Kenyon & Kenyon (“Kenyon”) law firm, has been trying to get a claim for legal malpractice to stick against its former IP counsel.   So far, Portus’ efforts have been unsuccessful.  On July 28, 2017, Portus took its third bite at […]

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Mandatory Ethics Training For Patent Agents Is Long Overdue

By Michael E. McCabe, Jr. | July 17, 2017

What formal ethics training is required of a U.S. patent agent?  None. What minimal level of competency in ethics must a patent agent demonstrate in order to qualify for a license to practice patent law before the USPTO?  Again, the answer is “None.” For attorneys, ethics training is of considerable importance.  It starts in law […]

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Law, Drugs, Addiction, Death.

By Michael E. McCabe, Jr. | July 17, 2017

The addiction crisis and its impact on the legal profession are the subjects of two recently published articles. The first is The Lawyer, The Addict, published on July 16 in The New York Times (sub. req.).  It is a powerful story written by the ex-wife of a Silicon Valley-based IP partner.  She recounts her former […]

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Disciplinary Actions Rise Against Lawyers Who Commit Acts of Domestic Violence: Know The Warning Signs

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

The statistics of reported cases of domestic violence are stunning.  According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), 1 in 3 adult women and 1 in 4 adult men have been victims of some form of physical violence by an intimate partner.  Moreover, 1 in 4 women have been victims of “severe physical violence by […]

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Sue-And-Settle NPE Patent Litigation Tactics May Violate USPTO Ethics Rules

By Michael E. McCabe, Jr. | July 10, 2017

Non-practicing entities who engage in a pattern of filing numerous lawsuits without any intention of testing the merits, solely to extract low ball settlements, should take note that the USPTO’s Office of Enrollment and Discipline (OED) takes a keen interest in such conduct.  A recent “exceptional case” decision in a patent case from federal court […]

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Finnegan Henderson Committed Legal Malpractice By Favoring Marking Blade Inventor Over Corporate Patent Client: Lawsuit

By Michael E. McCabe, Jr. | July 6, 2017

Who is an IP firm’s patent prosecution client when the firm represents a limited liability company and one of its members is the sole inventor?  Does the answer change if the LLC is never actually formed, and no one ever advises the law firm?  Those are just two questions that appear to be at the […]

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