The following is an edited transcript of my video Top Trademark Trends of 2023.

2023 might be considered the busiest year in the world of trademark developments in a long time.

The Supreme Court heard a trademark case involving a trademark application for the phrase “Trump too small”, that it has not yet ruled on. The case relates to First Amendment issues and whether the bar on trademark registration that features the name of an individual is valid. stay tuned in 2024 as the Supreme Court issues their rulings to see what happens.

The Supreme Court decided a case that Jack Daniels brought against a dog toy that was a parody of a Jack Daniels bottle. Jack Daniels won with a finding that the dog toy bottle infringed their trademark. The Supreme Court did not use the First Amendment to analyze the parody–which is what the defendant had hoped for–and that’s how the case turned and was ultimately decided.

Another big story from this year was the USPTO’s rollout of a new search system. This happened on the last day of November, and the new search system is working well. It is more robust, more complex–and it is not easy to learn all the advanced features–but it is a big development that impacts not only the examiners at the USPTO, but also attorneys and users of the USPTO system, and how we search for trademarks there. The old system had been launched in was either 2000 or 2002, so it had a very long lifetime.

Unfortunately, 2023 also saw more new scams targeting trademark applicants and owners. We saw new scams where people called applicants on the phone pretending to be from the USPTO and asking for money and filing fees. This is obviously extremely worrisome. You can watch other videos in our playlist at to learn more about trademark scams.

Another big story from 2023 was about the fees at the USPTO. The filing fees the USPTO has proposed will be increased for the most part in 2024. They started the process with a hearing and a request for comments in 2023. There will likely be another more refined proposal coming out in spring 2024, and then new fees (mostly increases) to be rolled out in the fall of 2024.

The USPTO also saw continued lags and delays in many areas for trademark owners, applicants and registrants. Things are taking longer than ever because of the filing surge back in 2020-2021, and the USPTO is still getting out from under the burden of that surge, even though filings have been down a little bit each year since then. Filings are still at near record highs and there are still tremendous backlogs at the USPTO –such that a new application right now at the end of 2023 is unlikely to even be opened and examined for about nine to nine and a half months after it gets filed.

There were many trademark stories in the news and social media throughout the year, like the change from Twitter to X, Meta’s launch of Threads as a competitor to X, and Taco Tuesday.

You may have heard about Taco Bell’s challenge to the Taco Tuesday trademark registrations. Taco Tuesday had been registered for restaurant services for many years. It is no longer registered, so now everybody is free to use the phrase Taco Tuesday when talking about dining on Tuesdays at restaurants, although we all know that most everybody was using that phrase already.

To wrap up 2023 in the world of trademarks is Taylor Swift. She in many ways ruled pop culture in 2023 with her tour and movie (along with Beyonce’s tour and movie as well). Taylor Swift is a master at branding and at trademark protection. We sadly lost Jimmy Buffett, who passed in 2023. His trademark empire contained many hundreds of trademark registrations and brands. And Taylor Swift is on her way to catching up to his empire with an incredible number of trademark registrations, trademark filings, and overall great branding and brand protection.

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