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An ethics blog for IP attorneys

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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For Your Eyes Only: IP Atty’s Who Misuse Confidential Documents Face Sanctions, Discipline

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

Patent and other high technology litigation invariably involves the disclosure of highly confidential technical and financial information.  One of the first orders usually entered in such cases is a protective order, which enables parties to designate and disclose to a limited universe of people what the producing party considers to be confidential information.  Typically, protective […]

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This Post Could Save Your Patent Law License

By Michael E. McCabe, Jr. | June 1, 2017

Some patent attorneys and agents are under the impression that once they have passed the Patent Bar exam and have earned a PTO registration number, they are essentially registered for life, with no further action required on their part.  If you are one of those people, then you should read on. One of the jobs […]

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Greenberg Traurig Avoids Former Client’s DQ Motion By Consenting To Withdrawal

By Michael E. McCabe, Jr. | May 22, 2017

Greenberg Traurig has apparently decided that discretion is the better part of valor.  The law firm has agreed voluntarily to withdraw as counsel from a litigation rather than face a disqualification motion in which it was charged with a conflict of interest for trying to invalidate patents it helped prosecute.  We previously reported here that […]

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Atty’s Final Act For Porn Film Copyright Shakedown Scheme: Disbarment

By Michael E. McCabe, Jr. | May 21, 2017

Once upon a time, John Steele, the founder of the law firm formally known as Prenda Law, believed he had found the perfect recipe for a successful niche copyright law practice. First, monitor certain file-sharing websites containing porn and obtain the IP addresses of individuals who downloaded or attempted to download said porn. Next, file […]

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Litigators Beware: Bad News Can Trigger USPTO Ethics Investigation

By Michael E. McCabe, Jr. | May 16, 2017

Bad news sells.  As the author Douglas Adams observed, “Nothing travels faster than the speed of light with the possible exception of bad news, which obeys its own special laws.” Take IP litigation, for example.  The mainstream IP media regularly reports on both allegations and court decisions regarding issues relating to attorney conduct–or alleged misconduct. […]

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Is Mommy More Ethical Than Daddy?

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

A former female colleague asked me once why nearly all of my clients are men. Frankly, I had never given the matter any thought.  It took me awhile even to accept my colleague’s conclusion that nearly all of my clients were, in fact, of the male variety.  So I pulled out my list of clients […]

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