NOTE 1 – I used to title these blog posts regarding “Quarterly” meetings, but during the last 18 months or so the TPAC committee meetings have been held three times a year, not four. (See meeting archives here.)
NOTE 2 – The USPTO seeks nominations for its Patent and Trademark Advisory Committees. See USPTO Press Release 14-19 here.
The Trademark Public Advisory Committee (TPAC) met at the USPTO headquarters in Alexandria, VA last week on Friday, June 20, 2014. The handouts from the meeting are at the bottom of the post. Below is a summary of the key points discussed at the meeting:
The next meeting of TPAC will be Thursday October 16, 2014, the day before the 2014 USPTO Trademark Expo.
Legislative Update – Dana Robert Colarulli, Office of Government Affairs Director
- While there have been a variety of IP bills put forward and hearings held, it is unlikely that much or anything will happen this year due to the Congressional elections in the fall.
Budget Update – Tony Scardino, CFO
- Total trademark financial collections are up from FY 2013 and in the range predicted for FY 2014.
- USPTO currently seeking comments on its proposal to reduce certain fees. Final rule is expected to be public in October 2015, and to be implemented in January 2015.
Trademark Operations Update – Deborah Cohn, Commissioner for Trademarks
- USPTO currently has 433 trademark examiners, with a total of 407.6 Full-Time-Equivalent positions.
- USPTO expects to hire 30-35 new trademark examiners next fiscal year.
- TMEP was updated in April, and includes among the updates a much more detailed section on trade dress (TMEP Sect. 1202.2(b)).
- The Section 8 specimen pilot test is almost complete. A “surprising number” of registrants when challenged about use of all their goods/services deleted some of them.
- USPTO held a roundtable recently on amendments to identifications due to changing technology evolution,and will likely propose to permit a small number of changes but must balance the public having full notice of the registered goods/services. USPTO will be seeking comments on its proposal soon.
- The “Timeout” period for TESS users was recently increased from 15 minutes to 20 minutes.
- The USPTO is working on being able to send out Section 8 reminder emails to registrants on the first day of the 5th year following the registration.
TTAB Update – Gerard Rogers, Chief Administrative Judge
- Filings have increased over FY 2013 — in particular Petitions to Cancel rose 12.7%
- Pendency has been reduced in most areas.
- New “Deputy Chief Administrative Judge” position has been created and the position should be filled over the summer.
- TTAB has funding to hire several new judges in its budget for next fiscal year.
- Judge Rogers did not comment on the recent Redskins decision since the case may be appealed.
- TTAB will likely hold a roundtable in the fall on regarding the possibility of leveraging some of the ACR efficiencies into the rules for all cases.
- TBMP update will be published in the next month or so.