duty to supervise

Narrow Scope of “Patent Agent Privilege” Creates Ethical Traps for the Unwary

The Federal Circuit’s 2-1 decision yesterday in In re Queen’s University at Kingston resolved a split in the district courts over whether a “patent agent”-client privilege exists independent from the attorney-client privilege. The majority held it does. While the court’s holding provides clarification in this case of first impression, patent agents, their law firm employers, …

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Get Out Of Town: The Ethical Perils Of Outsourcing IP Services

Many IP lawyers engage other lawyers or nonlawyers as independent contractors, directly or through intermediaries, to provide various legal and nonlegal support services. The outsourcing market, often referred to as the “legal process outsourcing” market or “professional employer organization” market, is a multi-billion dollar industry. While there is nothing per se unethical about a lawyer outsourcing …

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The Ethical Risks of Paraprofessionals Providing IP Legal Services (Part 2 of 2)

In this part, we continue to address some of the ethical risks involving delegation of intellectual property legal services to non-lawyer paraprofessionals. Ethical Responsibilities of Practitioners Regarding Paraprofessionals The USPTO ethics rules state the responsibilities of practitioners over non-practitioners as follows: First, a practitioner who is a partner, and a practitioner who individually or together with …

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After Winning Decade-Long Battle To Fix One-Day Late Filing Error, Pharma Company Sues Former IP Counsel For Patent Malpractice

What a difference a day made Twenty-four little hours Brought the sun and the flowers Where there used to be rain – Dinah Washington In the world of pharmaceutical patents, every day of exclusive rights can translate into millions of dollars in additional revenue. Global biopharmaceutical company The Medicines Company (MDCO) knows this all too …

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“Super Lawyer” Resigns From USPTO Bar Following Ethics Complaint

Warning to all patent and trademark practitioners—allowing a non-practitioner to “ghost sign” your name on papers filed with the USPTO can be hazardous to your law license. So learned the named partner of a large IP boutique firm who routinely allowed a non-attorney assistant to sign his name on documents filed with the Office. In …

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