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.
USPTO Trademark Public Advisory Committee slide – January 13, 2017 by erik5733 on Scribd