Steve Nipper notes a number of changes in the US Patent and Trademark Office’s regulations that make it really obvious what a bad idea, and how sore they will be, if a non-patent-admitted attorney or other agent tries to get a piece of the patent action in any form.
Steve suggests these new rules are mostly aimed at invention promotion firms and “third-party patent application mills,” but to me they screamed out “don’t play patent lawyer” at prosecution time to lawyers who know a little bit about patents and would like to bill a little time on the file themselves.
UPDATE: Clinton Cusick of Muskin & Cusick notes, on the INTA List, “[Regarding] the new PTO rules about non-practitioners producing papers at least ‘contemplated’ to be filed with the PTO, . . . I read the new rules to encompass their TM services. It seems that the new language was primarily directed to invention submission companies, but trademark ‘submission companies’ seem to fit the language of the rules as well.”
Clinton also notes, speaking of “submission companies,” that a class action lawsuit claims that non-lawyer legal services hucksters LegalZoom “charges consumers a ‘U.S. Government Filing Fee (required)’ of $325 and a $159 service fee to file a trademark application with the USPTO. But LegalZoom pays $275, the actual fee for the USPTO’s TEAS Plus (Trademark Electronic Application Service), and has been overcharging consumers since July 2005, when the TEAS Plus application service [discount] took effect . . .”