On Thursday, July 27, 2023, the Supreme Court of California issued two years probation and 90 days suspension to attorney Kathy Qi Hao for professional misconduct found in another jurisdiction.

The case is entitled “In the matter of Kathy Qi Hao”, and was bought by the State Bar of California with case no. S279947.

The charges cited California Rules of Professional Conduct, rules 1.1(a), 1.3(a), 1.4(a)(2), 1.4(b), 3.3(a)(1), 3.3 (a)(3), 3.4(f), 8.4(d), and Business and Professions Code section 6106 and 6068(d).

Attorney Kathy Qi Hao had admitted to violating several statutes and Rules of Professional Conduct in a disciplinary proceeding overseen by the United States Postal and Trademark Office (USPTO). The procedural background unfolded as follows: On September 15, 2021, the USPTO’s Office of Enrollment and Discipline (OED) filed a complaint against Hao for multiple violations. Respondent Kathy Q. Hao, who had been admitted to both the California and Washington Bars, had provided legal services to foreign national merchants in trademark applications filed with the USPTO. The infractions had encompassed violations of diverse regulations, including those concerning competent representation, reasonable diligence and promptness, client communication, client safeguarding upon termination, false statements, adherence to tribunal rules, assistance in unauthorized practice, and conduct prejudicial to justice.

The final order had approved a proposed settlement agreement, incorporating stipulated facts, conclusions of law, and disciplinary actions. Allegedly, Hao permitted others to electronically sign trademark applications in her name, which violated USPTO rules requiring personal signatures. Over 4,300 applications filed between October 2019 and October 2021 had featured improper signatures.

The stipulation states:

“After respondent inserted her signature into the electronic file and returned the file electronically to the Companies, a person other than respondent would then enter the information into the trademark application via the Trademark Electronic Application System (“TEAS”), enter respondent’s electronic signature, and submit that application to the USPTO, along with the required fees.”

Notably, Hao expressed remorse, engaged in pro bono work, and severed ties with the involved companies. As a consequence, Kathy Qi Hao is suspended from practicing law in California for a two-year term; however, the execution of this suspension is stayed. Kathy Qi Hao will be put on probation for 2 years. During the first 90 days of probation, she will be suspended from practicing law.

The Disposition states:

“The court orders that Kathy Qi Hao (Respondent), State Bar Number 243231, is suspended from the practice of law in California for two years, execution of that period of suspension is stayed, and Respondent is placed on probation for two years.”

According to apps.calbar.ca.gov, Mr. Hao had been practicing at TCW Global Legal Group. He practices in Pasadena, California. He is licensed in California.

A copy of the original filing can be found here.