Kingsland v. Dorsey 18 8212 19, 1949, No. 53

CourtUnited States Supreme Court
Writing for the CourtPER CURIAM; DOUGLAS; JACKSON
Citation70 S.Ct. 123,338 U.S. 318,94 L.Ed. 123
PartiesKINGSLAND, Commissioner of Patents, v. DORSEY. Argued Oct. 18—19, 1949
Decision Date21 November 1949
Docket NumberNo. 53

338 U.S. 318
70 S.Ct. 123
94 L.Ed. 123
KINGSLAND, Commissioner of Patents,

v.

DORSEY.

No. 53.
Argued Oct. 18—19, 1949.
Decided Nov. 21, 1949.
Rehearing Denied Jan. 9, 1950.

See 338 U.S. 939, 70 S.Ct. 341.

Mr. Robert L. Stern, Washington, D.C., for petitioner.

Mr. William E. Leahy, Washington, D.C., for respondent.

PER CURIAM.

Acting under the provisions of § 487 of the Revised Statutes, 35 U.S.C. § 11, 35 U.S.C.A. § 11, the Commissioner of Patents found after hearings that petitioner, an attorney, had been guilty of gross misconduct, and entered an order

Page 319

barring him from practice before the United States Patent Office. Pursuant to authority granted by the same provisions, the District Court reviewed the Commissioner's order. Concluding that the hearings had been fairly conducted after due notice of charges and that there was substantial evidence to support the findings and action of the Commissioner, the District Court affirmed the order. 69 F.Supp. 788. The Court of Appeals reversed, 84 U.S.App.D.C. 264, 173 F.2d 405, 410. A majority of that court thought the notice of charges inadequate and the proceedings before the Commission unfair. It also held that the District Court had too narrowly restricted its scope of review in holding that substantial evidence was sufficient to support the findings. It apparently drew a distinction between the phrases 'substantial evidence' and 'substantial probative evidence.' Measuring the findings by the latter phrase, it held that the Commissioner's findings were not supported by 'substantial probative evidence.' Judge Edgerton, dissenting, thought the hearings had been fairly conducted and 'the result just.' He agreed with the District Court that 'substantial evidence' would have been sufficient but went on to say that he thought the 'proof conclusive.'

The statute under which the Commissioner acted represents congressional policy in an important field. It relates to the character and conduct of 'persons, agents, or attorneys' who participate in proceedings to obtain patents. We agree with the following statement made by the Patent Office Committee on Enrollment and Disbarment that considered this case: 'By reason of the nature of an application for patent, the relationship of attorneys to the Patent Office requires the highest degree of candor and good faith. In its relation to applicants, the Office * * * must rely upon their integrity and deal with them in a spirit of trust and confidence * * *.' It was the Commissioner, not the courts, that Congress

Page 320

made primarily responsible for protecting the public from the evil consequences that might result if practitioners should betray their high trust. Having serious doubts as to whether the Court of Appeals acted properly here in nullifying the Commissioner's order, we granted certiorari.

After an examination of the record we are satisfied that the findings were amply supported whether the measure be 'substantial evidence' or 'substantial probative evidence.' The charge of unfairness in the hearings is, we think, wholly without support.

Since the narration of evidence and discussion of the proceedings sufficiently appear in the District Court's opinion, reiteration here can serve no good purpose either for the parties or for the law.

The judgment of the Court of Appeals is reversed, and that of the District Court affirmed. It is so ordered.

Judgment of Court of Appeals reversed.

Mr. Justice DOUGLAS took no part in the consideration or decision of this case.

Mr. Justice JACKSON, whom Mr. Justice FRANKFURTER joins, dissenting.

I agree that the privilege of practicing before the Patent Office is one that may and should be withdrawn for professional misconduct. In defense of his privilege it also is true that the lawyer may not demand that conclusiveness of proof or invoke all of the protections assured to an accused by the criminal process. But while society may expect that his judges will show him no favor because he has lived respectably for eighty years and devoted fifty-nine of them to practice of his profession without blemish, an accused lawyer may expect that he will not be condemned out of a capricious self-righteousness or denied the essentials of a fair hearing.

Page 321

The court below thought Dorsey had not been fairly judged and indignantly reversed his disbarment. Dorsey v. Kingsland, 84 U.S.App.D.C. 264, 173 F.2d 405. All questions of fact seem to have been resolved against Dorsey by his departmental triers, and I shall not here review all of those issues, even if on some of them Dorsey would seem entitled to prevail. Accepting the findings against him at their full face value, I think the disbarment order was properly set aside.

Back in 1926 the Haftford-Empire Co. conceived and executed a scheme to prepare and publish, over the signature of an apparently disinterested labor leader, an article to be published and then used in support of the company's pending patent application. Such a dissertation, entitled, 'Introduction of Automatic Glass Working Machinery; How Received by Organized Labor,' was prepared. It purported to be authored by one Clarke, president of a glass workers' union. It was published in a trade journal and then presented to the Patent Office as recognition by a 'reluctant witness' of the success of the device under consideration. Several years later, involved in litigation testing the validity of its patent, Hartford-Empire took steps to suppress evidence of the real authorship of the Clarke essay. It made a gift of $8,000 to Clarke, who had told investigators...

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59 practice notes
  • Practice and procedure: Patent and trademark cases rules of practice; representation of others before Patent and Trademark Office,
    • United States
    • Federal Register December 12, 2003
    • December 12, 2003
    ...may not counsel or assist a client in conduct that is criminal or fraudulent. See proposed Sec. 11.102(d). See also Kingsland v. Dorsey, 338 U.S. 318 [[Page (1949) (sustaining disbarment of attorney for deceiving Office as to real author of article presented in support of pending applicatio......
  • Part II
    • United States
    • Federal Register December 12, 2003
    • December 12, 2003
    ...may not counsel or assist a client in conduct that is criminal or fraudulent. See proposed Sec. 11.102(d). See also Kingsland v. Dorsey, 338 U.S. 318 [[Page (1949) (sustaining disbarment of attorney for deceiving Office as to real author of article presented in support of pending applicatio......
  • Therasense Inc. (now Known As Abbott Diabetes Care Inc.) v. Becton, Nos. 2008–1511
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
    • May 25, 2011
    ...applicants, the Office ... must rely upon their integrity and deal with them in a spirit of trust and confidence....” Kingsland v. Dorsey, 338 U.S. 318, 319, 70 S.Ct. 123, 94 L.Ed. 123 (1949). Because the PTO lacks the investigative and research resources to look behind representations by a......
  • Warner-Jenkinson Co. v. Allied Chemical Corp., No. 76 Civ. 2744.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • July 31, 1979
    ...897, 97 S.Ct. 260, 50 L.Ed.2d 181 (1977); Frantz Mfg. Co. v. Phenix Mfg. Co., 457 F.2d 314, 325 (7th Cir. 1972); cf. Kingsland v. Dorsey, 338 U.S. 318, 319, 70 S.Ct. 123, 124, 94 L.Ed. 123 (1949) ("By reason of the nature of an application for patent, the relationship of attorneys to the Pa......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
57 cases
  • Therasense Inc. (now Known As Abbott Diabetes Care Inc.) v. Becton, Nos. 2008–1511
    • United States
    • United States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
    • May 25, 2011
    ...applicants, the Office ... must rely upon their integrity and deal with them in a spirit of trust and confidence....” Kingsland v. Dorsey, 338 U.S. 318, 319, 70 S.Ct. 123, 94 L.Ed. 123 (1949). Because the PTO lacks the investigative and research resources to look behind representations by a......
  • Warner-Jenkinson Co. v. Allied Chemical Corp., No. 76 Civ. 2744.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • July 31, 1979
    ...897, 97 S.Ct. 260, 50 L.Ed.2d 181 (1977); Frantz Mfg. Co. v. Phenix Mfg. Co., 457 F.2d 314, 325 (7th Cir. 1972); cf. Kingsland v. Dorsey, 338 U.S. 318, 319, 70 S.Ct. 123, 124, 94 L.Ed. 123 (1949) ("By reason of the nature of an application for patent, the relationship of attorneys to the Pa......
  • Hercules Inc. v. Exxon Corp., Civ. A. No. 3439.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 3th Circuit. United States District Court (Delaware)
    • July 29, 1980
    ...are irrelevant. Hazel-Atlas Glass Co. v. Hartford Empire Co., 322 U.S. 238, 64 S.Ct. 997, 88 L.Ed. 1250 (1944), and Kingsland v. Dorsey, 338 U.S. 318, 70 S.Ct. 123, 94 L.Ed. 123 (1949), involve the duty to disclose the authorship of favorable articles that the applicants cited to the examin......
  • Halvonik v. Dudas, No. CIV.A. 99-863.
    • United States
    • U.S. District Court — District of Columbia
    • August 8, 2005
    ...Although Breese involved a criminal proceeding, the Court notes that the standard in this case is less exacting. See Kingsland v. Dorsey, 338 U.S. 318, 320, 70 S.Ct. 123, 94 L.Ed. 123 (1949) (Jackson, J. dissenting) ("I agree [with the majority] that the privilege of practicing before the P......
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