Florida patent holders may find a recent lawsuit of interest. The case involves a legal malpractice claim made by the client of a law firm. However, the complaint does not address issues surrounding how the client was represented by the law firm. At the heart of the case is the accusation that members of the firm were allowed to improperly access and use confidential patent information to steal intellectual property from the client for the use and profit of family members.
The case begins with the selection of the law firm by a client who had several patent applications in play for a system that provides analysis of bodily fluids. The plaintiff claims that a member of the law firm was allowed to access these documents, after which the attorney's brother and father successfully obtained a patent for the same system. The plaintiff asserts that the attorney abused his access to the confidential documents of a client of the firm, and then used that information to being profit to family members.
The firm has responded to this accusation in statements that claim no wrongdoing in relation to this client. The argument is made that the attorney's family members were friends with family members of the plaintiff. That friendship allegedly led to the disclosure of information that was eventually used to obtain the patent in question.
As this case moves to court, additional information may become available. For Florida patent holders who utilize the services of a law firm to obtain, protect and defend their patents, the allegations made in this case are certainly disturbing. Clients place an enormous amount of trust in the legal professionals they choose, and when that trust is violated the best course of action may be a legal malpractice suit.
Source: typepad.com, "McDermott Facing Malpractice Lawsuit in Patent Dispute," Jan. 7, 2013