Lisa A. Dolak


The implementation of post-grant trial proceedings in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is one of the most significant aspects of the Leahy-Smith America Invents Act. Practitioners have a great deal of new subject matter to master, including the governing statutes and rules, and instructive Patent Trial and Appeal Board decisions. All of this new law is superimposed, however, on an existing legal landscape relating to the practitioner’s duty of candor and potential consequences for candor violations. Furthermore, the new law creates additional candor and disclosure obligations specifically applicable in post-grant contested proceedings.

This paper discusses the “old” and “new” candor obligations of practitioners – their sources, their reach and applicability, and the potential consequences for their breach – in the context of the representation of clients in the new USPTO post grant contested proceedings. It identifies several examples of statements and conduct in post-grant proceedings that may particularly implicate the practitioner’s duties of candor and/or disclosure and, accordingly, warrant heightened care on the part of practitioners (registered and unregistered) and parties who participate in the new proceedings.