Washington Law Review


Todd M. Becker


Patent attorneys play dual roles: they are simultaneously attorneys and patent practitioners. Their dual role causes problems when the rules that govern one role conflict with the rules that govern the other. One such problem is illustrated in Molins PLC v. Textron, Inc., where a patent attorney simultaneously representing two clients was caught between the Patent & Trademark Office's duty of candor and the attorney's duty of confidentiality imposed by the rules of professional responsibility. The Molins decision presents a problem because it creates uncertainty about whether confidentiality can be maintained by using the attorney-client privilege to defeat the duty of candor. This Comment examines the contours of the duty of candor and the attorney-client privilege, concludes that in some situations there is a conflict between the two, and argues that, when a conflict does exist policy considerations dictate that the attorney-client privilege override the duty of candor.

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