Russell W. Warnock of Asheville was censured by the Grievance Committee of the North Carolina State Bar on August 15, 2014.
Warnock was retained in 2011 by J.F. to file a patent application. J.F. emailed Warnock in May 2012 to inquire into the status of the application, to which Warnock replied after a long delay that the application was moving forward. In May 2013, Warnock told J.F. in an email that the “patent application is in the queue but needs an updated Inventor statement.” After further delays, J.F. asked Warnock to return all of his files in November 2013. Warnock did not respond to this request or return anything to J.F. In March 2014, J.F. learned that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office had in fact abandoned his patent in April 2012 due to Warnock’s failure to submit necessary drawings, despite Warnock’s assurances that the application was moving forward.
The Grievance Committee found that Warnock neglected J.F.’s case in violation of Rule 1.3 of the North Carolina Rules of Professional Conduct. Further, Warnock failed to keep J.F. informed about the status of the application in violation of Rule 1.4(a) and misrepresented the application’s status in violation of Rule 8.4(c).
Finally, Warnock did not respond to multiple letters sent in the course of the Grievance Committee’s investigation. Failure to cooperate with such an investigation is a violation of Rule 8.1(b) and Rule 8.4(d).
View the full disciplinary order below.