Federal Appeals Court Rules Company In-house Attorney May Bring Claim Under New Jersey Whistleblower Law

Employment Attorneys Serving Northern and Central New Jersey

The federal  3rd Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia yesterday overturned the dismissal of an in-house patent lawyer's claim that he was fired because he refused to participate in conduct that would have violated the New Jersey Rules of Professional Conduct governing attorneys and the rules of the United States Patent and Trademark Office.  In that case, a  French beauty company required patent in-house counsel to satisfy a quota of patent applications which if not met, would result in termination.  Plaintiff objected that he could not submit applications that did not have a good faith basis to be patentable which violated NJ RPC’s and the US Patent and Trademark RPCs. He was ultimately fired.  The in-house attorney filed his case in NJ federal district court which dismissed the case ruling that he did not make out a viable claim under New Jersey's Conscientious Employee Protection Act.  The Third Circuit reversed and reinstated the claim.  The decision can read by clicking on this link.

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