Disposition: Public reprimand and six (6)-month period of probation. Final decision here.
Procedure: Settlement pursuant to 37 C.F.R. § 11.26
Related to USPTO Practice? Yes
Misconduct: Unintentional financial misconduct.
Summary: A patent practitioner who submitted eight (8) dishonored non-trust account check payments to the USPTO on behalf of a number of clients entered into a settlement agreement pursuant to which he agreed to be publicly reprimanded and placed on probation for six (6) months for violating 37 C.F.R. § 11.103 (requiring reasonable diligence and promptness in representing a client), 37 C.F.R. § 11.804(c) (conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit or misrepresentation), and 37 C.F.R. § 11.804(i) (engaging in other conduct that adversely reflects on the practitioner’s fitness to practice) of the USPTO Rules of Professional Conduct.
Facts: This matter arose from a patent practitioner’s submission of eight (8) checks to the USPTO in eight (8) different client matters in 2014 and 2015. The checks were drawn from the attorney’s non-trust account. The checks were returned for insufficient funds from the attorney’s checking account.
Mr. Ekstrand, the patent attorney, had no prior disciplinary history before the USPTO during the forty-one (41) years he had been registered as a patent practitioner. In addition, Mr. Ekstrand voluntarily attended a Continuing Legal Education (“CLE”) course on running a small legal practice.
USPTO Ethics Rules: 37 C.F.R. § 11.103; 37 C.F.R. § 11.115; 37 C.F.R. § 11.804(c); and 37 C.F.R. § 11.804(i).