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JimIvey
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Re: Issues regarding collaborations
« Reply #15 on: Dec 2nd, 2004, 12:21am »
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on Dec 1st, 2004, 10:02pm, Isaac Clark wrote:
So given that and also given the PTOs rules which seem to say
that agents and attorneys can indeed partner up to practice
before the office....

I looked for that and didn't see it.  Can you cite something?
 
Thanks.
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James D. Ivey
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JimIvey
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Re: Issues regarding collaborations
« Reply #16 on: Dec 2nd, 2004, 12:35am »
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on Dec 1st, 2004, 10:14pm, Anon wrote:
... and that the code expressly permits partnerships among "practitioners" ...

Again, I don't see this.  A cite would help.
 
I see that 37 CFR 10.49 prohibits practitioners from forming partnerships with non-practitioners if the partnership is to represent clients in patent matters, but nowhere does it say that all partnerships involving only practitioners are explicitly authorized.  
 
And, to not lose the big picture, what happens if I'm wrong and I choose not to partner-up with an agent even though I could?  Nothing.  What happens if I'm right and I partner-up with an agent anyway?  Discipline by the State Bar of California -- anything ranging from reprimand to disbarment (the latter is unlikely, I think).
 
It's fine that a number of people come to a different conclusion.  But this much is important: anyone considering entering into such a partnership should consider what state rules of ethics might be implicated and to consider whether the arrangement comports with those rules to the extent they apply.  
 
One last thought:  if practitioners can't partner-up with non-practitioners, how do the many law firms with patent and non-patent partners do that?  Does it hinge on the language "consist of" rather than "comprise?"  Do they form professional corporations or LLCs instead?  Do they just ignore 37 CFR 10.49?
 
Just curious.
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James D. Ivey
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Re: Issues regarding collaborations
« Reply #17 on: Dec 2nd, 2004, 2:01am »
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on Dec 2nd, 2004, 12:35am, JimIvey wrote:

And, to not lose the big picture, what happens if I'm wrong and I choose not to partner-up with an agent even though I could?  Nothing.  What happens if I'm right and I partner-up with an agent anyway?  Discipline by the State Bar of California -- anything ranging from reprimand to disbarment (the latter is unlikely, I think).

 
Here we agree.   In fact I'd wager that your state bar might very well overstep their jurisdiction and come knocking on your shingle if you were to form such a partnership.  And I'd further agree with Isaac's statement that "I wouldn't pick that fight without a good reason" ... or unless you were really want one of those souvenir Supreme Court quill pens for your collection.  
 
on Dec 2nd, 2004, 12:35am, JimIvey wrote:

One last thought:  if practitioners can't partner-up with non-practitioners, how do the many law firms with patent and non-patent partners do that?

 
That's always stumped me too.   I'd love to hear the answer.
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Isaac
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Re: Issues regarding collaborations
« Reply #18 on: Dec 2nd, 2004, 3:49am »
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I don't know of any rule dealing with practioner partnering
up other than the one Mr. Ivey cited.  The rule does not go
explicitly say that agents and attorneys can form parterships
together and I am not sure a court or the PTO would interpret
the rule to say so.  Without federal law authorizing the
practice, the case would not be analogous to the facts in
Sperry v. Florida which was essentially just applied the
Supremacy Clause to elevate federal law above state law.
 
It's also true that some jurisdictions really push the envelop on
this issue.  For example Texas attempted to prevent attorneys
licensed in other states from practicing immigration law without
a Texas license despite federal law authorizing them to do so.
 
To me that adds up to fairly weak support for agent/attorney
partnerships where state law prohibits them.  I've encountered
at least one such partnership (I think), but I don't know
what the law is in the jurisdiction in which they practice.
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Isaac
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Re: Issues regarding collaborations
« Reply #19 on: Dec 6th, 2004, 1:18am »
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on Dec 1st, 2004, 6:53am, LJP wrote:
I don't know about the US but in Canada there is no rules against agents becoming partners. In fact many of the IP firms have agents as partners

 CheesyIt is the same in China.In most IP firms agents are the partners.
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