Patent Bar Character with Theft Conviction

(On Campus Interviews, Summer Associate positions, Firm Reviews, Tips, ...)
Forum rules
Anonymous Posting

Anonymous posting is only appropriate when you are revealing sensitive employment related information about a firm, job, etc. You may anonymously respond on topic to these threads. Unacceptable uses include: harassing another user, joking around, testing the feature, or other things that are more appropriate in the lounge.

Failure to follow these rules will get you outed, warned, or banned.
Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Oct 02, 2013 2:27 pm

Patent Bar Character with Theft Conviction

Postby ucbboy » Wed Oct 02, 2013 2:52 pm

I have put quite a bit of study into getting ready to take the patent bar exam in the next couple of months. While attempting to register, I learned that a prior conviction for gross misdemeanor conspiracy to commit theft would trigger a determination of whether or not I had good moral character. I'm well aware that I'll almost certainly be required to pay the $1600 registration fee for a crime of moral turpitude instead of the $40 regular fee. I'm just trying to figure out what my chances of being determined able to sit for the exam are.

Here are some details:
I was arrested at age 18 a few months after high school graduation. I was charged with felony aiding and abetting theft and felony conspiracy to commit theft. A plea bargain knocked it down to a gross misdemeanor conspiracy charge. I was convicted at age 19. I had a bunch of jail time and fines stayed, did lots of court-mandated community service, and two years of probation. The case was finally closed at age 21. I have since gotten a BS summa cum laude, BA, left the state I was convicted in, and am nearing completion of my PhD at a top research school. I'm nearly 27 years old, so the case has been closed for over 5 years. I haven't been arrested or charged in any state or country since. I'm also now eligible to have the crime pardoned and am actively pursuing that. However, a pardon will take at least another 9 months, if it ever happens at all.

I'd like to register for the patent bar exam and make a showing of good moral character, but I don't want to drop $1600 just to get rejected. My reading of 37 CFR 11.7(i) suggests that the factors work this way:

(1) Involved moral turpitude - not in my favor; isolated incident - in my favor.
(2) Age and education at time of conduct - in my favor (young and dumb); age and education now - in my favor (older and highly educated).
(3) Length of time since misconduct - unknown.
(4) Resitution - unknown; I paid court fees and did community service, but never for the victim.
(5) Expungement - not in my favor.
(6) Successful completion of probation/parole - in my favor;
(7) Abstinence from drugs/alcohol - irrelevant
(8) Mental disease - irrelevant
(9) Payment of fine - in my favor, I think; does it matter that most of the fine was stayed pending probation?
(10) Correction of behavior - in my favor, I think; I certainly haven't done it since.
(11) Involvement in programs to provide social benefits - not sure; haven't volunteered on my own that much, but I've taught and tutored (for pay) a ton.
(12) Changes in attitude - not sure; I can certainly provide a statement; my family as well, though I'm sure that doesn't count for much; maybe a probation officer that I never really saw or a former shrink.

I'm also thinking about references. My adviser doesn't know about this, but I think I could probably get him to write up something. I had a pretty good relationship with a former student's father who is a trial judge (any ethical code that prevents him from writing a character reference). Beyond that, I could get former employers and such.

Any thoughts on this? Write this up as is? Wait for a pardon determination in 9 months? I'd like to get this wrapped up ASAP since I've spent a ton of time studying already and am most likely graduating in less than 9 months. Does anyone know of any petitions to the Director of USPTO that had a similar fact pattern? Involved a theft conviction at a relatively young age? Know of an attorney (preferably in the San Francisco Bay Area, but elsewhere if that's all I can get) who has experience in these kinds of things?


Posts: 7
Joined: Wed Oct 02, 2013 11:12 am

Re: Patent Bar Character with Theft Conviction

Postby Allenowen » Wed Oct 02, 2013 2:56 pm

No one is really qualified to give you any sound advice on this. Talk with a lawyer or your counselor at school.

Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Oct 02, 2013 2:27 pm

Re: Patent Bar Character with Theft Conviction

Postby ucbboy » Wed Oct 02, 2013 4:20 pm

I'm sure that there must be someone who knows of some USPTO petitions related to this or about a lawyer who might have some experience with this type of thing. This is a rather arcane area of the law and I'd much rather consult with someone with experience than a general practice attorney.

Plenty of answers were provided about a similar question involving a different offense:

Posts: 3
Joined: Wed Oct 02, 2013 2:27 pm

Re: Patent Bar Character with Theft Conviction

Postby ucbboy » Wed Oct 02, 2013 4:39 pm

And by "someone with experience", I just mean a lawyer (preferably in the SF Bay Area) who has dealt with OED at the USPTO. I obviously don't expect to find someone who's had an exactly analogous case. I'm hoping someone might have a connection.

Return to “Legal Employment”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.