Patent Attorney Wins Dismissal of Malpractice Suit

A Texas patent attorney recently won a summary judgement ruling that there was no lawyers malpractice committed in the engagement in question.  The Texas Attorney, Harold Flanders, was engaged to file a patent application for Eric Sanders of Georgia.  Although multiple applications were filed on behalf of Sanders, the lawsuit alleged that Flanders failed to notify Sanders of the numerous office action rejections that were received.  Instead, Flanders allowed the application to be abandoned.

The fifth Circuit Court ruled in summary judgement that any errors possibly made were only part of the issue at hand.  The court explained that they had to be proof that the attorney’s actions were also the direct cause of damages.  Because Sanders could not prove that his applications would have been accepted or the outcome any different had the objections been addressed, the court ruled that no lawyer’s malpractice liability existed.

This case highlights that the practice of patent law remains high risk.  Even in the absence of identifiable damages, the lawyer spent time in court and money in defense of the matter to get the case resolved.  Most insurance companies will not offer professional liability insurance terms on patent lawyers because of the high risk and unique nature of the work.  It is important to work with a broker who understands which carriers will offer these terms so that a firm has multiple options to compare.  Contact us to discuss ways to make sure that your firm is well protected in the years to come.