Mark A. Cohen


“Parallel Play: The Simultaneous Professional Responsibility Campaigns Against IP Practitioners by the United States and China” describes efforts by the United States Patent and Trademark Office and the China National IP Administration to discipline trademark and patent practitioners through contemporaneous campaign-style approach directed to bad faith filings. At the USPTO, many of these bad faith filings have originated from China. In both countries, these bad faith activities have imposed significant burdens on IP agencies, the courts, and legitimate rights holders. The campaign is likely the largest professional responsibility campaign undertaken by an IP agency, and the largest cross-border IP disciplinary campaign undertaken by a US bar. By comparing the disciplinary and other actions of both the Chinese and US bars, this article contributes to scholarship on IP-related campaigns, attorney discipline, choice of law in attorney ethics, the differing approaches of disciplinary authorities in the United States and China, and the continuing importance of cross-border cooperation in addressing common challenges. The article suggests numerous potential areas of reform, including such areas as increased ethics education of dual-admitted (United States/Foreign) IP lawyers in the United States, reform to USPTO practices in handling conflict of law issues in attorney discipline, greater transparency of Chinese attorney regulatory authorities, and an enhanced role for civil remedies. The article also demonstrates how two countries have quietly observed and learned from each other, and how they could benefit from greater interaction on areas of common concern.