The following is a summary of some of the key points discussed at this month’s meeting of the Trademark Public Advisory Committee (TPAC) of the USPTO. I was in attendance in person at the USPTO headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia. The handouts from the meeting are available in PDF below.
- Three members of the Committee were at the final meeting of their term. They were thanked for their service and provided certificates of appreciation.
- Ann Chasser
- Deb Hampton
- Cheryl Black
CFO UPDATE – Tony Scardino, CFO
- The USPTO continued operations during the government shutdown based on their ability to spend fees collected from prior to the end of the last fiscal year.
- The trademark reserves are bigger than the patent reserves.
- The USPTO is currently operating in FY2014 on a continuing resolution which funds it until 01/15/2014.
- The budget for FY2015 has been present to O.M.B.
- The USPTO’s Draft 2014-2018 strategic plan was recently released. Public comments can be submitted until 11/25/2013. There will be a public forum on the strategic plan on 11/05/2013.
- Trademark revenue in FY2013 was $264m.
- Trademark spending in FY2013 was $226m.
- trademark operations has an operating reserve of $156m.
TRADEMARK OPERATIONS UPDATE – Commissioner Deborah Cohn
- In FY2013, trademarks met or exceeded all of its performance goals.
- 79% of trademark filings are now handled completely electronically without any paper incoming or outgoing.
- The USPTO will be working in the next year to continue to try to increase the number of all electronic filings.
- There are currently 409 trademark examiners, and the equivalent of 389 full time examiners.
- An update to the TMEP will be released on 10/30/2013. It will include a section on handling #HASTAG trademarks along with other updates.
- The USPTO’s draft examination guide on gTLD trademrsk is currently up for comment on IdeaScale.
- The ID manual is being redesigned. The USPTO is also looking to update the descriptions in rapidly changing industries such as social media and is discussing with outside constituents.
- There is a new tool available called “ID Assist” in the online TEAS applications that helps check whether an ID is acceptable.
- The USPTO has posted a request for comments on changes to post-registration identifications based on changes in technology. Comments are due by 12/01/2013.
- The electronic Official Gazette was deployed on 09/24/2013 and has been well received.
- The USPTO’s public outreach on trademark issues continues. A new 42 minute video has been released “Trademark Basics: What Every Small Business Should Know Now, Not Later“
INTERNATIONAL AND POLICY UPDATE – Sharon Marsh, Amy Cotton
- An examination guide on internet specimens for service marks will be out soon
- The Section 8/15 specimen pilot program related to possible “deadwood” on the register is still ongoing; the USPTO will review and report once all the information is received.
TTAB UPDATE – Chief Judge Gerard Rogers
- 49 precedential decisions were issues by the Board were issued in FY2013 (22 were ex parte / 27 inter partes).
- The number of new TTAB cases increased in FY2013.
- The Board has made progress on decreasing the pendency of final decisions and motions.
- 6 ACR cases were decided in FY2013.
- Board will host a roundtable on 12/03/13 on “end to end processing” of Board appeal and trial cases. More details will be announced soon.
OCIO UPDATE – Raj Dolas & John Owen & Marcie Lovett
- Progress on TMNG (‘trademarks next generation’) with internal and external systems continues