Patent Office To Update Conduct Rules to Meet ABA Standard

Written July 31, 2020

The US Patent and Trademark Office on July 30, 2020, issued a proposed rule to update its professional conduct rules to more closely align with American Bar Association guidelines. 85 Fed. Reg. 45812. According to the Federal Register notice, the update would let PTO practitioners, in some circumstances, disclose information involving client representation in order to find and resolve conflicts of interest stemming from a change in the practitioner’s employment, or changes in a law firm’s ownership or composition. Another change would require practitioners to make “reasonable efforts” to prevent unauthorized access or disclosure of information regarding a client’s representation. The Office also proposes a process for revoking an attorney’s registration to practice there in certain circumstances, such as if they failed to disclose material like a felony conviction in their application.