Here is a summary of some of the key points discussed at this week’s meeting of the Trademark Public Advisory Committee (TPAC) of the USPTO. While, I did not attend, representatives from our firm did. The handouts from the meeting are available in PDF below
LEGISLATIVE UPDATE – Dana Colarulli, Director, Office of Gov’t Affairs
Recent heraing on patent and copyright issues
White House issued a “Patent troll” package of proposals – 5 white house executive actions and proposed 7 legislative actions
Bill introduced to exempt USPTO from sequester; administration is reviewing and has not taken a position yet
- “Redskins” bill – HR 1278 – “Non Disparagement of Native American Persons or People in Trademark Registration Act of 2013”
- New Secretary of Commerce – Penny Pritzker – sworn in last week
- Ray Chen – former PTO solicitor – nominated to Federal Circuit – approved by judiciary committee, pending full senate vote
CFO UPDATE – Tony Scardino, CFO
- Fee collections on Trademark side are very close to projections (below by 1.5%)
- Expenditures were further below projections ($13.5M) due to sequestration
- FY14 Budget: Virtual certainty that USPTO will operate on a continuing resolution at FY13 levels
- Sequestration affects USPTO:
- Spend 5% less in FY 2013 budget
- Estimated $13.5 of Trademark fee resources will be unavailable to be spent
- Still do not know exactly what it means for FY14
TRADEMARK OPERATIONS UPDATE – Commissioner Deborah Cohn
- Performance related Data – Close to or meeting most targets
- E-Gov – percentage of apps processed end to end electronically. Currently 79%.
- No longer measure percentage of applications filed electronically because it is now above 98%
- Application filings are on target for the estimate of 4.3% growth above last years filings
- 412 Examining Attorneys as of end of May, including 29 recent hires
- Planing on hiring similar size group in FY2014
- First Action pendency – 3.0 months – right on target
- Pendency to Disposal – If include suspended and interpartes cases, average 12.3 months. If you exclude suspended/inter partes, it moves down to 10.5 months.
- Efficiency/Cost – target cost is $621 per disposal. Currently $543 per disposal; 12.6% better than target.
- TMEP was recently updated
- New Exam guides on Geographical Certification marks posted to IdeaScale for comments recently
- Examining Attorney training-
- Periodic training for EA’s – recently completed advanced 2(d) training. Mandatory for every EA. Planning to have a more robust training program, which cycles through the primary substantive issues on a regular basis.
- INTA coordinated training on gTLDs. Part of ongoing effort to educate employees on important issues affecting TM owners, even if not directly related to examination.
- Next week (July 18), holding annual Industry Training Day. Held in conjunction with INTA to have industry experts come in and speak to examiners. Focusing on entertainment this year. Reps from Fox, WWE, and others will be coming in.
- Next workshop is on configuration marks.
- Electric Official Gazette (eOG)
- Beta launched recently, will be posted until end of August
- Still posting PDF version of Gazette for now as well
- Outreach to Stakeholders and the Public
- Held ABA Day (April 24) – speakers on topics that USPTO does not usually discuss such as Letters of Protest. Planning another event last year.
- Continuing INTA Roundtables – 25 people discussion groups, around the country. Going to Richmond, Minneapolis, NYC, and St. Louis. More to follow.
- Craig Morris has been leading initiative to conduct education and outreach to the public and has been speaking to many groups, including:
- Business schools. When he asks a room whether they have a business plan, everybody raises their hands. But when he asks if it includes a TM component, the hands drop. He also stresses the importance of getting TM counsel.
- Also speaks to SCORE organizations who do training for small business owners. Speaking to SCORE in Charlottesville in the next week
INTERNATIONAL AND POLICY UPDATE – Sharon Marsh, Amy Cotton
- Madrid Protocol
- New members:
- India became full member of Madrid on July 8th
- Rwanda will become participating member on August 17.
- Madrid Goods and Services Database
- Large WIPO project
- Goal is to have national offices go in and identify those that are acceptable for level of specificity.
- Translating into 10 languages and should become a very valuable resource for those with Madrid Applications.
- Online ID Manual: Recent feature is a new status ‘X’ which you can exclude with Boolean logic. We’ve only begun the large task of identifying them.
TTAB UPDATE – Chief Judge Gerard Rogers
- TTAB Filings statistics – current projection is that appeals, extensions to oppose, and oppositions will be higher than last Fiscal Year. Cancellations will be just about the same.
- TTAB Dashboard: http://www.uspto.gov/dashboards/TTAB/main.dashxml
- TTAB New Filings & Pendency Measures: http://www.uspto.gov/trademarks/process/appeal/TTAB_New_Filings_and_Performance_Measures.jsp
- Total Pendency (end-to-end) – measure of average total pendency from commencement to completion of various categories of cases.
- Appeals– 50.9 weeks, down from last year’s 76.8 weaks
- Trial Cases – 187.4, down from 203.3 weeks last FY.
- ACR Trial Cases – 98.7 wks, down from 140.8 last FY.
- Pendency to Final Decision – hand out has cumulative 3 quarter average of 20 weeks, but the most recent quarter for this year was down to 13.9 weeks and we hope to keep that up for Q4
- Pendency for Contested Motions – Average pendency currently appears to be going up over course of year, but that’s because Board has focused on working off older cases.
- The makeup of the inventory has changed. As of July 1 Board is down to only 1 case that is older than 6 months; back in January there were a few dozen. Goal is to have none over 6 months and only several that are older than 14 weeks. Should allow pendency to shrink even quicker.
- Inventory at end of Q3 – 200 contested motions waiting to be decided. Target is to get down to 170 by end of FY.
- ACR: Transcript from last year’s ACR roundtable has been posted. Posted email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) for anyone who would like to offer additional comments on the roundtable discussion.
OCIO UPDATE – Raj Dolas, Porfolio Manager
- TEAS Petitioner template enhancement to be deployed 7/12
- Infrastructure upgrade – TESS and XSearch migrated to IPV5, Post-deployment issues resolved
- TEAS Form Enhancement – Tenative 8/17 deployment date
- Trademark ID Manual Enhancements – Updates to ID checker and IDML editor (tentatively) scheduled for deployment this weekend 7/12. Added “X” status for original IDs (not from suggested IDs)
- Electronic Office Gazette:
- Can filter by many fields and even select fileds to display in layout
- Ability to play audio and display motion marks
- Can save results of any page in either PDF or XML. Can share a link to displayed results. Can even go directly to ESTTA to file an opposition or extension of time to oppose.
- Permits keyword search by particular data element
- Building “collections” – Check off particular records as you review the result to add them to collection. Then you can download or send link that includes only records added to collection.
- Address: http://eog-test.etc.uspto.gov/
The next TPAC meeting will be Friday, October 18, 2013.