What conflict of interest pitfalls might there be if a patent attorney who helps a client obtain a patent subsequently acts for the same client in legal proceedings to enforce the patent? This is one of a large number of different ethical dilemmas considered by David Hricik and Mercedes Meyer in their book Patent Ethics: Prosecution. The authors discuss in depth the ethical issues associated with professional representation of patent applicants in the US.
Some of the other ethical issues considered include: when advising a client might amount to unauthorized practice of law; determining which potentially conflicting ethical standards apply in a jurisdiction; identifying who the client actually is, and when representation starts and stops; duties owed to current and former clients; the duty of candor; and the meaning and consequences of inequitable conduct. An annotated version of the Patent and Trademark Office Code of Professional Conduct is included as an appendix, and another appendix contains numerous useful forms and checklists.
While the material contained in the book is essential knowledge for US patent practitioners, much of it is also important knowledge for patent attorneys in other countries whose clients inevitably seek to obtain US patents. Many of the ethical dilemmas presented will provide good material for vigorous debate in the profession. The book is written in a clear, concise style.