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