Grant E. Coffield
Sent: Tuesday, February 10, 2004 9:43 AM
To: ethicsrules comments
Subject: Comments on proposed ethics rules
Please read the attached comments urging that the proposed ethics rules not be adopted and that they be withdrawn. Thank you.
Grant E. Coffield
Registration Number 52,758
Please see the attached:
(See attached file: j0778724.doc)
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In response to the notice of proposed rule making published at 68 C.F.R. 69442, it is submitted that, while it is important to emphasize ethical conduct on behalf of practitioners practicing before any government agency not only the USPTO, that the proposed rules are unnecessarily complex and burdensome.
As a newly registered patent attorney, one key area of concern I have is with the proposed requirement for PTO specific continuing legal education. It is submitted that this would impose an ineffective and overly burdensome requirement for patent attorneys resulting in patent attorneys being required to participate in separate CLE Programs for both the Office and for their home states. Specifically, it is unlikely that state CLE requirements will be modified to accept specialized PTO training in lieu of state mandated courses. Accordingly, as the proposed rules are currently written, patent attorneys would likely be required to take an extra dose of CLE, which is a substantial, unnecessary burden of time and money. There is not likely to be any real benefit resulting from this added burden.
To be frank, the benefits of even the current state CLE requirements do not begin to justify the cost and time involved. It is, therefore, submitted that the same would be true with respect to adding the additional requirement of additional or "limited-approval" CLE requirements for patent attorneys. It would make practice before the Office unduly burdensome. The goal of keeping all individuals that practice before the Office up to date and abreast of all current rules and practices is a very important one. However, it is a goal that will not be met by the proposed rules.
Another area of the proposed rules with which I take issue is with respect to patent attorneys who assume a voluntary inactive status, as upon full or partial retirement, extended absence in a foreign country or the like. Under the proposal, reinstatement can only take place by meeting the same requirements as a new applicant for registration coupled with completion of all CLE programs required for the previous six years, presumably in lieu of the present examination. This, and many other areas of the proposed rules, which were not addressed in this comment, are too harsh and overly burdensome.
While the overall premise of requiring ethical conduct
before the Office is certainly an agreeable and justified
one, it is submitted that the proposed rules, as currently
written need to be seriously reworked taking into
consideration comments such as this one, which are submitted
those currently practicing before the Office. It is urged that the proposed rules be withdrawn at this time.