Posted by ipelton on: February 15th, 2016
On Friday, the Trademark Public Advisory Committee (TPAC) met at the USPTO headquarters in Alexandria, VA. The handouts from the meeting are at the bottom of the post. Below is a summary of the key points discussed at the meeting:
The committee was meeting for the first time in 2016 and FY2016.
- New chairperson: Dee Ann Weldon-Wison
- New members:
- Mei Lan-Stark
- Lisa Dunner
- Other members:
- Jody Drake
- Ann Chasser
- Timothy Lockhart
- Jonathan Hudis
- Deborah Hampton
- William Barber (vice-chair)
OCFO Budget Update (Frank Murphy, Deputy Chief Financial Officer)
- The FY17 budget was released by the White House last week.
- Includes hiring of 63 new trademark examiners and 1 TTAB administrative judge.
- Decreases IT funding from FY16 by $4.6 million.
- The FY16 budget currently estimates $279.8 million in trademark fees.
- Trademark fees through 12/31/2015 were down 1% over the prior FY.
- The USPTO is already beginning to plan or the FY18 budget.
- USPTO is currently drafting the notice of proposed rule making (NPRM) regarding fee increases, and it will be published in the spring.
- The rulemaking is anticipated to have an effective date of January 2017.
Legislative Update – Dana Robert Colarulli (Director, Office of Governmental Affairs)
- Commissioner Denison testified on February 11, 2015, regarding the HAVANA CLUB trademark issues.
- There is unlikely to be any real movement on legislative issues in this presidential election year.
Trademark Operations – Commissioner Mary Boney Dennison
- Major USPTO power outage event in December was not caused by an IT issue.
- It affected all USPTO computer systems.
- Pendency goals meet on exceed targets.
- Q1 FY2016 filings were up 12.6% over the prior year.
- USPTO is predicting a 7% increase in filings for the entire fiscal year.
- USPTO has seen a 3% increase (to approx. 84%) in number of applications that are prosecuted entirely electronically from start to finish.
- TEAS RF accounts for approximately 50% of all new applications.
- There are 474 Examining Attorneys currently, approximately 85% of them telework full time
- 43 new attorneys were hired in FY2015.
- USPTO plans to hire 60 in FY2016 (20 began in November, and other 20 or so start this month).
- USPTO recently hired Deloitte Consulting to help examine and improve customer service.
- Fee increase proposal
- A 60 day comment period will follow the NPRM this spring.
- Some changes to the proposals have been made following feedback in the fall.
- Post-registration amendments to identifications due to technology evolution:
- Since September 1, 32 petitions have been received.
- 11 examples have been posted by USPTO.
- Post-registration use pilot update: the pilot, which studied the actual use of marks for their registered goods upon filing of Section 8 renewals, will be the subject of an upcoming proposed rulemaking to make random audits of Section 8 filings a permanent practice, as well as to increase the solemnity of the Section 8 affidavit.
- The USPTO is still considering other options including a shortened expungement proceeding.
- The USPTO has conducted several “Trademark Tuesdays” featuring live video chats with interested users at the USPTO’s regional offices.
Trademark Trial and Appeal Board – Chief Administrative Trademark Judge Gerard Rogers
- The TTAB currently has 23 Administrative Judges and 13.5 interlocutory attorneys.
- TTAB new case filings are up the first quarter of FY2016 over the numbers from prior year, and expected to remain up throughout the fiscal year.
- Details regarding current pendency measurements are in the slides (below).
- Notice of Proposed Rulemaking featuring a new Rules packaged is expected to be published in March. There are four main goals/elements:
- Leverage the use of technology and electronic communications.
- Remove plaintiff’s obligations to serve notice on the defendant.
- Discovery changes, including encouraging earlier completion of discovery and moving the deadline for filing a motion for summary judgment to prior to the first date to serve pre-trial disclosures.
- Add trial testimony efficiencies, for example allowing parties to submit testimony by affidavit (instead of deposition) but subject to possible cross-examination.
- The Board will be doing outreach this spring regarding the new rules.
IT Update – Chief Information Officer John Owen II & Manager Raj Dolas
- Explained the details regarding the power outage, and recovery, in December.
- No data was lost, unless there was a transaction “in process” at the time of the outage it is possible that it was not recorded.
- Eventually, all systems will be moved to the cloud as that reduces vulnerability. But ‘legacy systems’ cannot be moved to cloud.
Trademark Public Advisory Committee meeting slides | Feb. 12, 2016 by Erik Pelton