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I have an Invention ... Now What?
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   What is with agents & attorneys
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   Author  Topic: What is with agents & attorneys  (Read 3083 times)
Bill Richards
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Re: What is with agents & attorneys
« Reply #10 on: Jun 22nd, 2006, 12:09pm »
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Belinda,
Well, hopefully your impression has changed for the better.  And, as you can see, there's plenty of good information here and none of it costs you anything.  Finally, many (but not all) patent attorneys/agents will give you a brief consultation without charge.
Good luck!
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William B. Richards, P.E.
The Richards Law Firm
Patents, Trademarks, and Copyrights
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TataBoxInhibitor
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Re: What is with agents & attorneys
« Reply #11 on: Jul 8th, 2006, 7:24am »
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on Jun 22nd, 2006, 8:13am, JSonnabend wrote:
I, too, am not rude (at least by my measure, but I am from Brooklyn).  I'd be happy to discuss your matter by telephone and give you an honest initial impression as well as price quote/estimate.    
 
Also, note that I'm a patent attorney, and so you need not worry about confidentiality.  Our conversation would be covered by the attorney client privilege, and I would lose my license if I wilfully violated it.
 
- Jeff

 
Sidenote:
 
Wouldnt your conversation be covered by the Duty of Confidentiality?   I think if you took the case, you then the attorney-client privilege would apply.
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JimIvey
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Re: What is with agents & attorneys
« Reply #12 on: Jul 8th, 2006, 9:36am »
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We're getting far afield from what I do professionally, but I think the attorney-client privilege applies even if the attorney isn't hired yet.  My understanding of the distinction between confidentiality and the privilege, the sole meaningful distinction, is that the privilege applies in court -- a court can't compel disclosure of the confidence.  In law school, the hypotheticals always involved someone making self-incriminating statements to a criminal defense attorney before hiring the attorney.  I may be remembering this wrong, but I think those statements are privileged, as well as confidential.
 
Let's get a little closer to my practice.  Suppose someone comes to me as says they want to file a patent application on an idea by a software development contractor and don't want to name her as an inventor.  I'd tell them about 35 USC 102(f) and refuse to help them do it -- also letting them know about the Declaration and perjury.  Suppose further they leave without hiring me.
 
Suppose years later, I learn that they filed the application using another practitioner and I'm now being deposed about what I discussed with them in my initial consultation.  I think I'd have to refuse and assert privilege.  I think I'd have to have a judge compel me to testify before I would testify.
 
An interesting side bar: having found myself in deposition, I learned that outside the Northern District of California, there is no privilege for patent attorneys.  The theory is that patent application preparation is not in anticipation of litigation.  I was astonished.  I said that every patent is something to be litigated, no less so than a contract.  Apparently, outside ND Calif., the law doesn't see it that way.  Fortunately for me and my client, the deposition was for a case in, where else?, ND Calif.
 
Regards.
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Bill Richards
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Re: What is with agents & attorneys
« Reply #13 on: Jul 8th, 2006, 10:58am »
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The A/C privilege attaches when the, even potential, client interacts with the attorney as an attorney.  Thus, the conversation on the courthouse steps, where the attorney gets stopped by someone, is privileged.
As for the fraud, wouldn't this be an ongoing fraud that is an exception to the A/C privilege/confidentiality?  Having said that, I'd also wait for the court to compel.
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William B. Richards, P.E.
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Isaac
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Re: What is with agents & attorneys
« Reply #14 on: Jul 8th, 2006, 5:30pm »
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on Jul 8th, 2006, 10:58am, Bill Richards wrote:
The A/C privilege attaches when the, even potential, client interacts with the attorney as an attorney.  Thus, the conversation on the courthouse steps, where the attorney gets stopped by someone, is privileged.
As for the fraud, wouldn't this be an ongoing fraud that is an exception to the A/C privilege/confidentiality?  Having said that, I'd also wait for the court to compel.

 
The confidentiality limits are state specific.  In many jurisdictions (for example DC) there is no exception allowing the attorney to reveal  client secret to prevent commission of a fraud or other crimes not involving bodily harm, even though the attorney has an obligation not to participate in the crime.  In North Carolina an attorney is allowed to reveal info to prevent commission of a crime or even to correct a past fraud in some cases.  I believe VA rules require the attorney to reveal info to prevent commission of a crime if the attorney cannot dissuade the client.
 
In some cases federal law may require revealing a confidence that state law prohibits revealing.
 
 
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Isaac
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