Patent Law Updates | New Statutes, Regulations and Rules

October 18, 2012

USPTO Proposes Updated Professional Conduct Rules

Changes to Representation of Others Before the United States Patent and Trademark Office
37 CFR Parts 1, 2, 7, 10, 11 and 41, Docket No. PTO–C–2012–0034, RIN 0651–AC81, 10/18/2012

USPTO Proposes Updated Professional Conduct Rules

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced today its proposal to update the USPTO Code of Professional Responsibility to conform to the Model Rules of Professional Conduct of the American Bar Association (ABA), versions of which have been adopted by 49 states and the District of Columbia.

The USPTO is seeking public comments on the proposal for a period of 60 days, ending December 17, 2012.

This proposed rule package adopts most ABA provisions wholesale or with minor revisions and codifies many professional responsibility obligations that already apply to the practice of law.

Changes approved by the ABA House of Delegates in August 2012 have not been incorporated in these proposed rules. The Office also proposes to revise the existing procedural rules governing disciplinary investigations and proceedings.

Specifically, the proposed rules will streamline practitioners’ professional responsibility obligations, bringing USPTO obligations in line with most practitioners’ state bar requirements. The package also proposes to eliminate the annual practitioner maintenance fee.

The bars of 50 U.S. jurisdictions including the District of Columbia have adopted the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct or a modification thereof. The USPTO’s notice of proposed rulemaking sets out its proposed Rules of Professional Conduct.

The changes from the existing USPTO Code of Professional Responsibility are intended to bring standards of ethical practice before the Office into closer conformity with the Rules of Professional Conduct adopted by nearly all States and the District of Columbia, while addressing circumstances particular to practice before the Office.

By adopting professional conduct rules consistent with the ABA Model Rules and the professional responsibility rules of 50 U.S. jurisdictions, the USPTO both would provide attorneys with consistent professional conduct standards, and would provide practitioners with large bodies of both case law and opinions written by disciplinary authorities that have adopted the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct.

View a PDF of the rule

Also See:

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Bipartisan Bill Introduced to Protect Businesses From Patent Lawsuit Abuse

Demand Letter Transparency Act to Tackle Growing Problem of Patent Trolls

FTC Finalizes Amendments to the Premerger Notification Rules Related to the Transfer of Exclusive Patent Rights in the Pharmaceutical Industry

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Companies Mentioned

Patent Law

The following companies are mentioned in Patent Law Updates:

Boston Scientific Corp.

Microsoft Corp.

Boston Scientific Scimed, Inc.

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

Samsung Electronics America, Inc.

Stryker Corp.

Cordis Corp.

Swisa, Inc.

K-Mart Corp.

Motorola, Inc.

Dror Swisa

Sears Holding Corp.

Ranbaxy, Inc.

Nokia, Inc.

SmithKline Beecham Corp. d.b.a GlaxoSmithKline

SmithKline Beecham PLC

Prometheus Laboratories, Inc.

Sanyo North America Corp.

Glaxo Group Limited d.b.a. GlaxoSmithKline

Mayo Collaborative Services d.b.a. Mayo Medical Laboratories

Scimed Life Systems Inc.

Smithkline Beecham Corp. (d.b.a. GlaxoSmithKline, plc.)

Johnson & Johnson, Inc.

United States Patent and Trademark Office

Honeywell International, Inc.

HT Window Fashion Corp.

Mylan Laboratories, Inc.

Mylan Pharmaceutical, Inc.

Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical, Inc.

Acumed, LLC

Audiovox Communications Corp.

Stryker Sales Corp.

Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc.

Glamourmom LLC

Target Corp.

McKesson Information Solutions, Inc.

Stryker Orthopaedics

Howmedica Osteonics Corp.

Kohl’s Department Stores, Inc.

Bridge Medical, Inc.

J.C. Penney Company, Inc.

Smith & Nephew, Inc.

Cohesive Technologies, Inc.

Waters Corp.

Elizabeth Lange LLC d.b.a. Liz Lange Maternity

Association for Molecular Pathology

LG Electronics, Inc.

Quanta Computer, Inc.

Federated Department Stores

Egyptian Goddess, Inc.

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