Patent Prosecution Issues

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For patent attorneys, the purest intentions are never an adequate shield against

ethical challenges. In the last few years both the number of malpractice cases and

the size of damage awards have soared. See, Bambrogi, Patent Malpractice

Claims Hit Firms, National Law Journal, (Dec 10, 2007). This has been fueled by

recent high-profile cases such as Fish & Richardson's $30M mistake in missing a

foreign filing deadline. These cases have piqued the interest of plaintiff's lawyers,

which has in turn raised insurance rates. Indeed, some insurers have stopped

underwriting the specialty altogether. The dynamics will inevitably make it more

difficult for individuals and smaller companies to afford patent representation.

Philosophical pros and cons aside, a patent attorney must sharpen their ethics

knowledge, fully educate their clients, and document everything. This article by Ober|Kaler's Roy Craig is the

first in a series designed to spotlight some of the ethical "grey areas."

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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