MPEP Q & A 177: Revealing Information Relating to the Representation of a Client When the Client has Not Given Informed Consent

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Question:

Can a patent practitioner ever reveal information relating to the representation of a client when the client has not given informed consent?

Answer:

Yes, a practitioner may reveal information relating to the representation of a client to the extent the practitioner reasonably believes necessary:

  • (1) To prevent reasonably certain death or substantial bodily harm;
  • (2) To prevent the client from engaging in inequitable conduct before the Office or from committing a crime or fraud that is reasonably certain to result in substantial injury to the financial interests or property of another and in furtherance of which the client has used or is using the practitioner’s services
  • (3) To prevent, mitigate or rectify substantial injury to the financial interests or property of another that is reasonably certain to result or has resulted from the client’s commission of a crime, fraud, or inequitable conduct before the Office in furtherance of which the client has used the practitioner’s services;
  • (4) To secure legal advice about the practitioner’s compliance with the USPTO Rules of Professional Conduct;
  • (5) To establish a claim or defense on behalf of the practitioner in a controversy between the practitioner and the client, to establish a defense to a criminal charge or civil claim against the practitioner based upon conduct in which the client was involved, or to respond to allegations in any proceeding concerning the practitioner’s representation of the client; or
  • (6) To comply with other law or a court order.

Chapter Details:

This question comes from the following supplement: Changes to Representation of Others Before the USPTO Final Rules. This is a special supplement that at the time of this recording is currently being tested on the Patent Bar exam. Depending on future changes to the supplement and the MPEP, the question and answer may not be applicable.

Section Summary:

This question comes from the following supplement: Changes to Representation of Others Before the USPTO Final Rules. It specifically comes from 11.106 which covers Confidentiality of Information.