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TPAC Quarterly Meeting Summary – February 2014

Posted by ipelton on: March 7th, 2014

The Trademark Public Advisory Committee (TPAC) met at the USPTO headquarters in Alexandria, VA last week on Friday, February 28, 2014. Erik M. Pelton & Associates staff member Nick Santucci attended in person. The handouts from the meeting are at the bottom of the post. Below is a summary of the key points discussed at the meeting:

New (TPAC) Members this January

  • Anne Chasser (Returning for another term)
  • Deb Hampton (Returning for another term)
  • Bill Barber (New TPAC Member)

Deputy Director’s Comments – Michelle K. Lee, USPTO Deputy Director

  • The USPTO was named number one out of 300 agency subcomponents in the 2013 Best Places to Work in the Federal Government rankings released in 2013 by the non-profit Partnership for Public Service.
  • Now that the USPTO has made it to the top of the list, the goal in 2014 is to figure out how to stay there.

Legislative Update – Dana Robert Colarulli, Office of Government Affairs Director

  • Unlike many issues in Congress, IP protection consistently receives bipartisan support.
  • Copyright Issues
  • SOPA and PIPA created a high hurdle for any future proposal for statutory changes to copyright law.
  • Patent Issues
    • President’s State of the Union Address, January 28, 2014
    • “…let’s pass a patent reform bill that allows our businesses to stay focused on innovation, not costly and needless litigation.”
    • Lots of of White House, Congressional, and USPTO activity surrounding abusive patent litigation legislation.
  • Trademark Issues
    • Marks Consisting of Flag, Coat of Arms, and Other Official Seals
      • H.R. 3713 – “To amend the Trademark Act of 1946 to provide for the registration of marks consisting of a flag, coat of arms, or other official insignia of the United States or of any State or local government” (Rep. Jeffries, D-NY-8, introduced 12/12/2013).
      • S. 1816, Sen. Klobuchar, D-MN (introduced 12/12/2013 – Senate Companion)
    • Non Disparagement of Native American Persons; H.R. 1278 – “Non-disparagement of Native American Persons or Peoples in Trademark Registration Act of 2013” (Faleomavaega, D-AS) & 19 cosponsors (introduced 4/15/2013)
    • Trademark Caucus forming in Congress
  • Opening USPTO satellite offices in Denver, Dallas, Detroit, and Silicon Valley.
  • USPTO to keep all fees it collects for FY 2014.

Budget Update – Tony Scardino, CFO

  • Full year appropriations bill signed January 17, 2014
  • USPTO funded at 3.1% above FY 2013 level
  • FY 2014 fee collections through January 31, 2014: $89.4M (Trademarks)
  • FY 2014 spending January 31, 2014: $101.5M (Trademarks)
  • FY 2013 Performance and Accountability Report can be accessed: http://www.uspto.gov/about/stratplan/ar/

Trademark Operations Update – Deborah Cohn, Commissioner for Trademarks

  • 30 Trademark Examining Attorney’s hired, 15 to start in March 2014 and 15 in May 2014
  • USPTO to hold identification of goods and services “boot camp” for examining attorneys
  • Trademark Expo to be held at the USPTO on October 17-18, 2014
  • USPTO to hold roundtable on April 11, 2014 on proposed rulemaking allowing post-registration changes to identifications of goods and services

Policy Update – Sharon Marsh, Deputy Commissioner for Trademark Policy

  • Surprisingly few people use IdeaScale to comment on USPTO proposed rulemaking

TTAB Update – Gerard Rogers, Chief Administrative Judge

  • The 2014 revision of the TBMP will be out in June
  • The TTAB is on target for meeting all of its 2014 goals

Trademark Next Generation Update – Raj Dolas, TMNG Portfolio

  • Examining attorney software will shift to entirely web-based access
  • Successfully deployed Trademark Reporting and Datamart 1.3 in December 2013
  • Release included refinements to employee productivity and form paragraphs

Upcoming TPAC Meetings

  • Friday, June 20, 2014
  • Thursday, October 16, 2014 (Thursday so as not to conflict with the Trademark Expo beginning on October 17)

Handouts from the USPTO Trademark Public Advisory Committee meeting on February 28, 2014

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