Blog

Posts Tagged ‘USPTO’

TPAC Meeting Summary – February 2015

Posted by ipelton on: March 2nd, 2015

Last 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 (while I was not in attendance, associates and intern from the firm were):

This was the first TPAC meeting of Commissioner Mary Boney Dennison since taking her post in January. Three new (or returning for new terms) members were introduced: Jonathan Hudis, Jody Drake, and Tim Lockhart.

Legislative Update – Dana Robert Colarulli (Director, Office of Governmental Affairs)

  • Quite a bit of activity (hearings and proposed bills) recently on capitol hill related to IP issues, particularly patent and copyright issues

USPTO Budge Update – Frank Murphy (Deputy Chief Financial Officer)

  • Reduction of certain trademark fees implemented January 17, 2015; impact has been anticipated
  • FY2016 budget released in February. Includes using some funds from USPTO operating reserves.
  • FY2016 includes plans for to hire 37 net trademark examining attorneys.
  • FY2016 budget includes a decrease in the IT spending for Trademark Next Generation.
  • USPTO is conducting a bienniel review of all its fees, including some proposals to adjust trademark and TTAB fees.

Trademark Operations – Commissioner Dennison

  •  Application filings thus far in FY2015 are up more than 7% over the prior year
  • New trademark application fees and electronic filing option took effect January 17, 2015
  • The TM-5 group is working on some new collaborations
  • USPTO will be hosting their annual meeting in November

Trademark Trial and Appeal Board – Chief Administrative Trademark Judge Gerard Rogers

  • Two recent round tables were held, one on ESTTA and the other on possible rules changes
  • A proposal for possible rules changes could be issued in the near future

USPTO TPAC Agenda – February 27, 2015

The USPTO is supposed to be an American symbol and repository of technology, entrepreneurship and innovation. But it is now 2015 and the USPTO website is still not available from a mobile phone (yes, there is a Beta update to the website, but many pages on it are not mobile formatted, including most pages with any specific file information or filing processes). And there is no app, and no app on the horizon to my knowledge.

According to the USPTO website, “The USPTO is at the cutting edge of the nation’s technological progress and achievement.”

Really? The USPTO should invest the appropriate resources immediately to create and app and format all of its pages and systems and data for use across all screens. The more people that can use the USPTO systems, and the easier they are to use, the more informed the public will be and the more complete the patent and trademark registers will be. In other words, making the USPTO website and filings available to more people in more ways has a direct impact on the economy and the protection and strength of US intellectual property .

United States Patent and Trademark Office

In 2013, a total of 326,306 trademark applications were filed with the USPTO.  The number of trademark filings increased in 2014, to 336,239. [These numbers come from a T.E.S.S. search conducted on January 6, 2015.]

The number of registrations issued in 2014 also grew over the prior year.

Registrations issued in 2014: 204,624

Registrations issued in 2013: 194,274

Registrations issued in 2012: 187,527

With the rate of growth in application filings and registrations issued, the USPTO trademark register indicates steady and increasing growth in the economy. There are currently more than two million ‘live’ US trademark registrations! (2,008,878 to be exact)

[Note – data retrieved from USPTO.gov on 01/06/2015]

Related posts:

Top Trademark TrendsSM of 2014

By Erik M. Pelton & Associates® – The Nontraditional Trademark Lawyers®

Once again, trademarks and pop culture collided frequently in 2014. For example, more than 50 “JOHNNY ____” applications were filed this year as quarterback Johnny Manziel was drafted by the Cleveland Browns including JOHNNY MAN’Z ALE, JOHNNY CLEVELAND, JOHNNY HOCKEY, JOHNNY PIGSKIN, and JOHNNY BENCHWARMER. Another football trademark story made big news as the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) ruled in a case to cancel the Redskins trademark registrations.  Other big news stories, like the ebola outbreak, also were reflected the trademark filings. Another remarkable trademark story from 2014 was the Supreme Court, for the first time in several years, hearing a trademark case (B&B Hardware, Inc. v. Hargis Industries, Inc.). The case involves the differences in proceedings before the USPTO’s trademark appeal board and the Federal courts, and the Court will likely rule on it in the spring of 2015. Here is a summary of the year’s major trademark related developments:

Washington, DC Professional Football Team Trademark. In June, the USPTO’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board granted a request filed by several Native Americans to cancel those trademarks that feature the term “Redskins.” However, the decision is now on appeal and the ongoing dispute, which has lasted for over a decade, continues. Following the decision, many other applicants filed trademark applications for potential team names, such as WASHINGTON AMERICANS, WASHINGTON NATIVES, WASHINGTON FEDSKINS, WASHINGTON WARRIORS.

Popular Terms: Selfie, Drone, Weed, Vape, and more. Once again, the most popular words and phenomena in pop culture made their way into many trademark filings. The 2014 word of the year, according to Oxford English Dictionary, is “Vape.”  And business owners certainly agree as more than 300 applications were filed at the USPTO featuring the word VAPE. Other popular trademark terms in 2014 included SELFIE (140+ applications), DRONE (100+ applications), and WEED (150+ applications). More than 100 filings in 2014 contain the “#” hashtag symbol. Online and environmental branding trends from the last few years contained in 2014 as SOCIAL remained popular (400+ applications), along with CLOUD (700+ applications), while more than 1,000 applications were filed featuring GREEN.

Logo Trends. As even more business and advertising moves online and via mobile devices, logos are trending to simpler smaller designs, which make them faster to load and easier to see on mobile screens. Terrific logo redesigns from popular online businesses include those from FOURSQUARE , PayPal, and AirBnB.

 PayPal Logo

Ebola. The spread of ebola was certainly a big story in 2014. At the USPTO, there were several applications filed for ebola related treatments and products including ZMAPP (Pharmaceutical preparations for treatment of Ebola virus infections), EBOLAHOL (antiviral disinfectant products for Ebola), EBOLAWAY (Antibacterial and antiviral sprays and wipes for eliminating bacteria and virii), and EBOLA OUTBREAK MAP.

Controversial Trademark Filings. The ALS Association rode a wave of viral social media activity last summer to raise more than $100 million dollars. Most of the activity was the result of the “ice bucket challenge.” The Association made quite a stir later in the summer when it applied to register four trademarks featuring the phrase, including ICE BUCKET CHALLENGE and #ICEBUCKETCHALLENGE. However, following a rapid backlash questioning the charitable intent and legality of claiming sole ownership and control of the phrase, the Association withdrew the applications.  Other questionable trademark filings included names related to tragedies, such as the MH17 and MH370 airplanes.  Last year’s trends noted the numerous BOSTON STRONG trademark application filings; as of today all but one of them has been abandoned.

Trademark scams continue. Despite one law firm’s successful quest to shutdown an operation preying on trademark holders, such scams from numerous companies offering negligible or questionable services remain prolific. Join a petition to “Request USPTO Investigation and Action Regarding Trademark Scams” here.

What to look for in 2015. Expect even more trademark disputes to go viral via social media, building upon the success of EAT MORE KALE fending off a claim from Chik-fil-A and Eat Mor Chikin. Also expect the number of nontraditional trademark filings to continue to grow as more brands protect colors, sounds, shapes, and other indicators of source featuring more than words or logos.

EMPA Logo

subscribe to Tuesday Trademark TipSM

a short weekly email featuring key brand & trademark protection insights

 

© 2014 Erik M. Pelton & Associates, PLLC. All Rights Reserved.

About Erik M. Pelton: Erik Pelton® has been making trademarks bloom since 1999® as the founder of Erik M. Pelton & Associates, PLLC®, a boutique trademark law firm in Falls Church, Virginia. The firm has registered more than 2,000 U.S. trademarks for clients and has represented dozens of parties in trademark disputes. In 2014, Erik presented on trademark and branding issues to a variety of audiences, including the American Bar Association and a junior high school class.

Prior issues of Top Trademark TrendsSM

The USPTO announced last week, at the TPAC meeting, that it will begin sending notices via email to trademark registrants about upcoming deadlines for Section 8 declarations of continued use (due between the 5th and 6th anniversary of the registration) and Section 9 renewals (due every 10 years after registration).

Since these renewals will be sent via email, trademark registrants can only receive them if they have a valid email address on file with the USPTO.

The USPTO’s formal announcement is here: USPTO to Issue Courtesy Email Reminders of Registration Maintenance Filing Deadlines

TIP: Trademark registrants who obtained a USPTO trademark registration without having counsel, it would be wise to check the TSDR records and make sure that the correspondence information lists a valid email address. If no email address is listed, Registrants can file a “Change of Correspondence Address” electronically with the USPTO to include an email address and to check the box authorizing email communications.