CLE, Fees, and the USPTO

By David Hricik

Mercer Law School

The listservs I’m on have exploded lately with concern, and some anger, about proposed fees on practitioners, and the potential for CLE requirements. Today, I happened to be reading an article, in a peer reviewed journal, by Frank Fagan, that purportedly shows that every one-hour of CLE decreases charges brought to state bars by 10%. ┬áThe article is here.

I don’t know about the quality of the analysis, and so would be curious what you all think on the merits and generally.


About David

Professor of Law, Mercer University School of Law. Formerly Of Counsel, Taylor English Duma, LLP and in 2012-13, judicial clerk to Chief Judge Rader.

6 thoughts on “CLE, Fees, and the USPTO

  1. 6

    Still not seeing a lot of pushback on the practitioner fee angle (although one of the list servs I see has raised some interesting admin law angles that the entire fee package does not accord with the powers of the patent office (only able to charge for its actual services and then, only on an actual cost recovery basis)

    (by the way, the masked anon is not me, although the associated image is pretty cool)

  2. 5

    The article notes: “As mentioned in Section 1,there is a strong public choice component to CLE inasmuch as it offers benefits to bar associations through course fees and increased attendance at bar conventions (Rhode and Ricca 2014). If changes to CLE policy are driven exclusively by lobbying and are independent of growth in charges of attorney misconduct,then the use of GMM-style instruments for MCLE training requirements would lead to specification problems. FN13. The same issue would arise if states set minimum [MPRE] scores on the basis of industry standards, path dependence, or lobbying by MPRE education providers, for instance, and the score level is independent of charges.”

  3. 4

    I did not read the article, but note that the Title and Abstract only refer to Ethics CLE credits, not CLE credits in general.

  4. 3

    I have no issues with CLE requirements, in fact I think it would be a good idea. However, I would have issue with member fees. I already pay bar dues to my State Bar and they really don’t give me all that much considering my area of practice. To pay 2 Bar dues every year would really put an encumbrance for solo practitioners, imho

  5. 2

    I am indifferent on the value of PTO bar dues. CLE requirements are an excellent idea.

  6. 1

    I have seen somewhat muted responses on the listservs (and blogs) THIS time around.

    Perhaps there is a very real “wearing down” of the patent bar, given that this is the THIRD attempt in recent memory of the USPTO attempting to extract “member fees.”

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