New Rule of Professional Conduct 1.2.1 and the Cannabis Lawyer: A Dilemma Unresolved?

How do California’s revised Rules of Professional Conduct affect the ethical dilemma of a lawyer who is asked to provide legal services to a cannabis enterprise?

The revised rules include a new Rule 1.2.1, which essentially follows the language of American Bar Association (“ABA”) Model Rule 1.2 (d) and makes it unethical for a lawyer to “assist a client in conduct that the lawyer knows is criminal, fraudulent or a violation of any law...” Although the laws of California and many other states have become more lenient with respect to cannabis—including by the passage of Proposition 64, which allowed the recreational use of cannabis beginning on January 1, 2018—new Rule 1.2.1 may make the lawyer’s ethical position more difficult.

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U.S. Supreme Court Upends More than a Century of Restrictions on Disparaging Trademarks

On June 19, 2017, the United States Supreme Court unanimously affirmed a Federal Circuit ruling that held the "Disparagement Clause" of Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act (15 U.S.C. § 1052(a)) unconstitutional on its face. Under the Supreme Court's decision in Matal v. Tam1, the United States Patent and Trademark Office ("PTO") can no longer refuse federal registration to trademarks that "disparage... persons... institutions, beliefs, or national symbols, or bring them into contempt or disreput...

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Business Methods Patents: Still Searching for a Simple Test

Ever since the 1998 decision of the Federal Circuit in State Street Bank,1 the question of whether business methods and related software are eligible for patent protection has bedeviled the courts. Although the United States Patent Office has granted thousands of patents in the field since then and the courts have issued numerous decisions on the validity of those patents, clear guidance remains elusive.  Section 101 of the Patent Act provides that a patent may be issued for any "new and us...

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Does the First Amendment Guarantee the Right
to Register Disparaging Trademarks?

Can the government refuse to grant its blessing—and the economic benefits that go along with it—to trademarks that disparage individuals or groups? By overruling its own long-standing precedents, the Federal Circuit may have made this issue ripe for determination by the Supreme Court and may have indirectly saved the trademarks of the Washington Redskins from cancellation. At stake is the constitutionality of Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act1, which allows the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office...

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Amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure: Is “Proportionality” the Cure for Discovery Abuse?

Since before 1980, the drafters of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure have been trying to devise procedures and standards that would reduce discovery abuse in federal civil litigation. Yet, despite amendments in 1980, 1983, 1993, 2000, and 2006, surveys and studies continue to show pervasive concern about discovery abuse. Although the Rules have long empowered and encouraged the courts to limit excessive discovery and to impose sanctions for discovery abuse, lawyers have been reluctant to ask ...

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