37 CFR § 11.110 - Imputation of conflicts of interest; General rule.

§ 11.110 Imputation of conflicts of interest; General rule.

(a) While practitioners are associated in a firm, none of them shall knowingly represent a client when any one of them practicing alone would be prohibited from doing so by §§ 11.107 or 11.109, unless:

(1) The prohibition is based on a personal interest of the disqualified practitioner and does not present a significant risk of materially limiting the representation of the client by the remaining practitioners in the firm; or

(2) The prohibition is based upon § 11.109(a) or (b), and arises out of the disqualified practitioner's association with a prior firm, and

(i) The disqualified practitioner is timely screened from any participation in the matter and is apportioned no part of the fee therefrom; and

(ii) Written notice is promptly given to any affected former client to enable the former client to ascertain compliance with the provisions of this section, which shall include a description of the screening procedures employed; a statement of the firm's and of the screened practitioner's compliance with the USPTO Rules of Professional Conduct; a statement that review may be available before a tribunal; and an agreement by the firm to respond promptly to any written inquiries or objections by the former client about the screening procedures.

(b) When a practitioner has terminated an association with a firm, the firm is not prohibited from thereafter representing a person with interests materially adverse to those of a client represented by the formerly associated practitioner and not currently represented by the firm, unless:

(1) The matter is the same or substantially related to that in which the formerly associated practitioner represented the client; and

(2) Any practitioner remaining in the firm has information protected by §§ 11.106 and 11.109(c) that is material to the matter.

(c) A disqualification prescribed by this section may be waived by the affected client under the conditions stated in § 11.107.

(d) The disqualification of practitioners associated in a firm with former or current Federal Government lawyers is governed by § 11.111.