On Friday, the Trademark Public Advisory Committee (TPAC) met at the USPTO headquarters in Alexandria, VA. The handouts/slides from the meeting are at the bottom of the post. Below is a summary of the key points discussed at the meeting:
The Friday meeting marked the first meeting for two new members, Eileen Tannen and Brian Winterfeld. For their bios, see TPAC page here.
Legislative Update – Dana Robert Colarulli (Director, Office of Governmental Affairs)
- The 115th Congress just began, and it is difficult to predict legislation for now.
- The current budget “Continuing Resolution” runs through April 28, 2017. It is quite possible that the rest of the fiscal year will also be via a continuing resolution.
- The USPTO provided testimony on December 7, 2016, in a hearing on”Time and Attendance Abuse at the USPTO.”
International Policy – Amy Cotton
- Ms. Cotton provided a ‘tour’ of the USPTO’s work in South America, including their work on issues such as
- Chile food labeling law.
- Geographic indicator issues in several counties.
- Establishing contact with the Cuban intellectual property office.
- Brazil’s plans to join the Madrid Protocol.
Trademark Operations – Commissioner Mary Boney Dennison
- Trademark filings in FY2016 represented 530,270 classes.
- For FY2017, the USPTO in projecting filings to increase 7.5 percent.
- There are 517 Examining Attorneys, with an additional 44 starting in January.
- 77% of Examining Attorneys telework.
- The telework act is set to expire at the end of 2017; USPTO is making contingency plans in case it is not renewed.
- Customer experience improvements are being implemented following report from Deloitte, including the hiring of two plain language writers, and a Chief Customer Experience Officer.
- 99.7% of application filings are made electronically.
- 85.6% of applications are handled entirely electronically end-to-end.
- Trademark fee changes went into effect on January 14, 2017.
- for full details, see https://www.uspto.gov/trademark/fees-payment-information/trademark-fee-changes
- The USPTO’s pilot program to permit some post-registration identification changes based on technology changes has received 97 petitions since September 2015.
- USPTO hopes that a final rule-making regarding the “deadwood” proof of use will be published before January 20th. If it is not published this week, it may get held up in the change of administrations.
- Revised declaration formatting will be displayed on electric filings.
- USPTO continues to work on possible expedited cancellation proceedings based on non-use.
- The Commissioner noted that the USPTO continues to take steps to attempt to warn users about and crack down on scams targeting trademark applicants and registrants.
USPTO Budge Update – Tony Scardino (Chief Financial Officer)
- Not a lot to report given the time of year and the change in administrations this month.
Trademark Trial and Appeal Board – Chief Administrative Trademark Judge Gerard Rogers
- Judge Ellen J. Seeherman retired in December.
- Robert H. Coggins is the newest TTAB judge.
- TTAB filings increased last year, and additional increases projected for FY2017.
- New TTAB rules went into effect on January 14, 2017.
- Judge Rogers indicated that the Rules revisions may lead to fewer ACR cases since some ACR features are now incorporated in the rules for all cases.
OCIO / TMNG Update – John Owens and Rob Harris
- The rollout of new Examiner computer systems is ongoing.
- eFiling enhancements are not expected until the end of FY2018
- No mention was made of improvements to T.E.S.S. or mobile formatting of USPTO web trademark systems.
The next TPAC meeting is scheduled for May 5, 2017.