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Toronto hosted the American Bar Association’s Annual Meeting last week. I had the opportunity to speak at the conference, but also to listen to some great programs. Commissioner for Trademarks Deborah Cohn spoke, as did Chief Administrative Trademark Judge for the TTAB, Gerard Rogers. Here are the highlights of the new information presented:

Commissioner Cohn:

  • The USPTO in July issued its 4,000,000th trademark registration!  (The mark is POCKET SOCKET)
  • Application pendency is approximately 2.6 months to first office action and a “disposal pendency” (from date of filing to NOA, registration, or abandonment – excluding suspended and inter partes cases) for 10.6 months.
  • TDR 2.0 now contains the full file of all live registrations. TDR 1.5 has been retired.
  • The USPTO recently hired 10 new examining attorneys (the first new hires in several years) who will be starting work next month.
  • 90% of Examining Attorneys telework from home.
  • 70% of all new registrations issued are the result of an entirely electronic application processes. 
  • Approximately 98% of new application filings are made electronically.
  • The Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS) will see enhancements in October providing for:
    •     the entry of up to 4 additional email addresses for receipt of ‘courtesy’ copies
    •     new electronic applications will be able to accept sound and video file formats
  • The Trademark Information Network from the USPTO now features 10 videos available to the public at USPTO.gov and facebook.com/USPTO.gov. The videos provide basic information about a variety of trademark application and registration issues.
  • Application filings in FY 2011 are expected to increase approximately 4.4% over FY 2010 (which saw a 4.8% increase over FY 2009).
  • The USPTO’s Trademark Expo this year will feature almost twice as many exhibitors as last year. It will be October 14 and 15 at the USPTO headquarters. [Disclosure: I represent the City of Falls Church Economic Development Office, one of the exhibitors, and will be participating.]

Judge Rogers:

  • Judge Rogers spoke primarily on the differences in procedure between the opposition/cancellation processes in the United States and in Canada. There are many differences : )
  • The TTAB’s recent request for comments on potential Board involvement in settlement discussions yielded comments from
    •     3 law firms
    •     4 individuals
    •     4 bar organizations (ABA Section on Intellectual Property Law, AIPLA, INTA, and IPO)
  • The TTAB continues to explore how to best measure its performance and pendency and will likely seek input from the bar on this issue.

Besides hearing from the USPTO and networking with colleagues, my highlight was speaking on a “Brand 2.0” panel that featured a lively discussion from an audience including Facebook’s “Chief Privacy Advisor”!

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