USPTO ethics

CAFC Finds Patent Holder’s Position On Standing “Unreasonable” And “Remarkably Weak,” Affirms Atty Fees Award

On January 25, 2017, the Federal Circuit ruled a district court did not abuse its discretion when it awarded the prevailing party’s attorneys’ fees under 35 U.S.C. § 285 based upon the losing party’s conduct with respect to responding to one particular issue in discovery. In National Oilwell Varco, L.P. v. Omron Oilfield & Marine, …

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USPTO Reciprocal Discipline Case Illustrates Flaw In Rules

A recent disciplinary decision published by the USPTO Director illustrates a serious flaw in the Office’s rules governing reciprocal discipline.  In re Sanjeev Kumar Dhand, D2016-17 (USPTO Dir. Nov. 16, 2016). California Discipline The factual background of the Dhand case is eerily similar to our post from yesterday (link here).   This matter involves California-based patent …

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Lessons in Ethics: Lying About CLE Attendance Is Just So Wrong

An IP attorney continued his legal education the hard way.  He falsely represented to the California Bar that he had completed the mandatory minimum of 25 hours of continuing legal education.  In truth, he had completed zero hours of CLE.  The result: a one-year suspension. This matter involved California-based patent attorney Jens Edward Hoekendijk.  In …

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5 Myths About USPTO Ethics Investigations and Disciplinary Complaints

Many IP practitioners are misinformed about the function of the USPTO’s Office of Enrollment and Discipline (OED). Here are the top 5 myths about OED ethics investigations and attorney discipline at the USPTO. Myth #1 – The OED Only Cares About Practice Before the USPTO There is a perception that the USPTO only cares about …

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USPTO Director Reverses ALJ In Disciplinary Case, Rules In Favor Of Attorney

On August 5, 2016, the USPTO Director issued a Final Order reversing an administrative law judge’s initial decision, which had suspended a practitioner for 18 months. The Final Order held the OED Director violated USPTO precedent and mandatory rules regarding reciprocal discipline—37 C.F.R. § 11.24.  The Final Order is significant because it not only confirms the …

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What Can Johnny Manziel Teach Lawyers About Ethics? (Plenty)

Part 1 of a 3-Part Series Ex-Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel has been in the news a lot lately. And none of it has been good. The former Heisman Trophy winner and 2014 first round NFL draft pick was “much watch” sports TV for his prowess on the gridiron. His professional career, which began with such …

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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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Caveat IP Lawyer – Beware The Office of Enrollment and Discipline Violating The USPTO’s Reciprocal Discipline Rules

At first glance, the USPTO’s most recently published disciplinary decision seems relatively bland and altogether innocuous. The case of In re Juliet M. Oberding, Proceeding No. D2016-06 (USPTO Dir. Feb. 12, 2016) involves a California-based trademark attorney who told a client on several occasions, over the course of roughly 18 months, that the client’s trademark …

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