fee-splitting

Ethical Fee-Splitting for IP Practitioners & New ABA Guidance

Some IP practitioners are unaware of the ethical rules regulating the practice known as “fee-splitting.” In this context, “fee-splitting” refers to the situation where a first USPTO practitioner divides a portion of a client’s fee with a second practitioner who is from a different firm as the first. According to 37 C.F.R. Section 11.105(e), a …

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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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USPTO Disciplines Attorney For Billing $1,000 Hourly “Relationship Fee”

The USPTO settled a disciplinary action filed against a non-patent attorney who billed a client thousands of dollars, at a rate of $1,000 per hour, to prepare a patent application and then, without his client’s knowledge or consent, outsourced the legal work to an unaffiliated patent attorney for a fraction of the fee paid by the client.   In re Lehat, No. …

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