As the USPTO has yet to communicate any information about the study prepared for congress on “trademark litigation tactics” (aka the “bullies study”), I am writing to Senator Patrick Leahy, chair of the Senate Committee on Judiciary and author of the relevant provisions of The Trademark Technical and Conforming Amendment Act of 2010 (Pub. L. No. 111-146, 124 Stat. 66 (2010) to request Congressional hearings.
The body of my letter is presented below. If you agree and would like to support this request for hearings, download this PDF (for small business) or this PDF (for attorneys), sign it and email (to: info at erikpelton dot com) or fax it (to 703-997-five-three-four-nine) back to me so that I may attach it to my letter. I will mail out the letter on Friday afternoon.
Body of letter:
Dear Senator Leahy:
I write to urge the Senate Judiciary Committee to hold public hearings on the findings of the Administration’s recent study of abusive trademark litigation tactics that was mandated by Congress pursuant to The Trademark Technical and Conforming Amendment Act of 2010 (the “Study”). Pub. L. No. 111-146, 124 Stat. 66 (2010). I am a small business owner as well as a trademark attorney who has represented hundreds of small businesses in trademark matters. Congress ought to review the findings of the Study and investigate the disadvantages faced by small businesses seeking registration and protection of their legitimate trademark rights.
Given your longstanding service to the Judiciary Committee, your leadership in intellectual property policy and reform, and your commitment to fairness for small businesses that led to creation of the Study, I know that you understand the important role that trademark rights play in the American economy and in the growth and success of new businesses, large and small. However, it is my understanding that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) has recently completed the Study but has not made the results public. Furthermore, and despite the importance of the issue, the USPTO, Department of Commerce, Office of the U.S. Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator (“IPEC”), and other involved agencies have conducted little, if any, public discussion in the preparation of the Study. To my knowledge, the Study was only on the agenda of a single USPTO public forum in Detroit and was the subject of a USPTO “Request for Comments” that was published with little attention. No other public roundtables or hearings were conducted. To ensure that the trademark system balances the needs of both small and big businesses, it is important that Congress make certain that the Study has adequately taken into account the experiences of small businesses and entrepreneurs and has considered what changes might be necessary.
I therefore urge the Committee to conduct open hearings regarding abusive trademark litigation tactics; their affect on small businesses, innovation, and growth; and those steps that Congress, the USPTO, IPEC, and others may take to address this issue.
Thank you for your leadership on this issue, and I look forward to your response.