An ethics blog for IP attorneys

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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To Encrypt, Or Not To Encrypt, That Is The Question

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

The ABA has dived head first into the pool of law firm cybersecurity.  On May 11, 2017, the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Ethics and Professional Responsibility issued Formal Opinion 477 (here), which addresses a broad range of issues that lawyers must consider to protect client confidential information from “nefarious actors throughout the internet.” […]

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New Lawsuit Accuses IP Counsel Of Attacking Same Patents It Prosecuted

By Michael E. McCabe, Jr. | May 9, 2017

It is Ethics 101 that a law firm cannot use its former client’s confidential information in a substantially related matter on behalf of a different client directly adverse to the former client, at least not without the former client’s informed consent.  The reason for this common sense rule, which prohibits “side-switching,” is that a lawyer’s […]

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PTO Suspends PTAB Atty Who Filed Multiple TM Apps For Cannabis Client

By Michael E. McCabe, Jr. | April 24, 2017

The USPTO has suspended a PTO-employed attorney for thirty (30) days for practicing trademark law before the Office for private clients, in violation of federal conflicts of interest laws.  See In re Tara K. Laux, Proc. No. D2016-39 (USPTO Dir. Mar. 9, 2017).  According to a settlement agreement reached with the OED Director, attorney Tara […]

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Untying The IP Ethics Knot

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

Do you worry about ethics in your IP practice?  If not, you should.  There is way too much going on out there, and not knowing what is happening can leave you exposed to ethics and malpractice risk. If you can spare 90 minutes, tune in tomorrow from 1:00-2:30 pm EST for the ABA-IPL Landslide Webinar Series, […]

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