Upon motion for an oral hearing, the Trademark Trial and Appeal will hear arguments in cases before it. Our firm has appeared before the judges of the TTAB in many cases. Being local, I have always felt that it is advantageous to have an opportunity to have a dialogue about the case – and the facts and the law – with the judges. Much of the benefit of the hearing is getting questions from the judges and being able to respond to them.
The Board’s rules manual says:
An oral hearing is optional and is scheduled only if a timely request therefor is filed by a party to
the proceeding. The oral hearing provides a party with one last opportunity to emphasize its
strongest arguments, and to refute its adversary’s arguments. It is particularly useful in cases
with complex issues or a complex record, or where the defendant needs to respond to arguments
in the plaintiff’s reply brief. If neither party requests an oral hearing, the case will be decided
on the evidence made of record during the testimony periods. TBMP Sect. 802.01.
Some more details about TTAB hearings:
Hearings are generally before a panel of three judges.
In an inter partes proceeding, each party is allowed up to 30 minutes for its argument.
In a hearing on ex parte appeal of a USPTO refusal to register a trademark, the appellant is allowed 20 minutes to argue and the Examining Attorney is given 10 minutes.
The party arguing first may reserve time for rebuttal. When there is a counter-claim, the defendant/counter-plaintiff may also be able to reserve time for rebuttal solely with regards to the counter-claim.
The Board can arrange for parties to appear at the hearings via video conference if necessary. Otherwise, the hearings are generally in a courtroom at the offices of the Board in Alexandria, Virginia.
When a hearing is requested and then scheduled, the Board issues a notice. See example below.
For more details about TTAB hearings, see Trademark Trial and Appeal Board Manual of Procedure (TBMP), Section 802.
Occasionally, the TTAB will hold a live hearing in a more public venue, usually a bar association conference. We are honored to be participating in such a case in September at the fall meeting of the Virginia State Bar’s 23rd Annual Intellectual Property Fall CLE Weekend Seminar. See details in the hearing notice below.
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Trademark Trial and Appeal Board – Notice of Oral Hearing