The Trademark Public Advisory Committee (TPAC) met at the USPTO headquarters in Alexandria, VA last week on Friday, February 28, 2014. Erik M. Pelton & Associates staff member Nick Santucci attended in person. The handouts from the meeting are at the bottom of the post. Below is a summary of the key points discussed at the meeting:

New (TPAC) Members this January

  • Anne Chasser (Returning for another term)
  • Deb Hampton (Returning for another term)
  • Bill Barber (New TPAC Member)

Deputy Director’s Comments – Michelle K. Lee, USPTO Deputy Director

  • The USPTO was named number one out of 300 agency subcomponents in the 2013 Best Places to Work in the Federal Government rankings released in 2013 by the non-profit Partnership for Public Service.
  • Now that the USPTO has made it to the top of the list, the goal in 2014 is to figure out how to stay there.

Legislative Update – Dana Robert Colarulli, Office of Government Affairs Director

  • Unlike many issues in Congress, IP protection consistently receives bipartisan support.
  • Copyright Issues
  • SOPA and PIPA created a high hurdle for any future proposal for statutory changes to copyright law.
  • Patent Issues
    • President’s State of the Union Address, January 28, 2014
    • “…let’s pass a patent reform bill that allows our businesses to stay focused on innovation, not costly and needless litigation.”
    • Lots of of White House, Congressional, and USPTO activity surrounding abusive patent litigation legislation.
  • Trademark Issues
    • Marks Consisting of Flag, Coat of Arms, and Other Official Seals
      • H.R. 3713 – “To amend the Trademark Act of 1946 to provide for the registration of marks consisting of a flag, coat of arms, or other official insignia of the United States or of any State or local government” (Rep. Jeffries, D-NY-8, introduced 12/12/2013).
      • S. 1816, Sen. Klobuchar, D-MN (introduced 12/12/2013 – Senate Companion)
    • Non Disparagement of Native American Persons; H.R. 1278 – “Non-disparagement of Native American Persons or Peoples in Trademark Registration Act of 2013” (Faleomavaega, D-AS) & 19 cosponsors (introduced 4/15/2013)
    • Trademark Caucus forming in Congress
  • Opening USPTO satellite offices in Denver, Dallas, Detroit, and Silicon Valley.
  • USPTO to keep all fees it collects for FY 2014.

Budget Update – Tony Scardino, CFO

  • Full year appropriations bill signed January 17, 2014
  • USPTO funded at 3.1% above FY 2013 level
  • FY 2014 fee collections through January 31, 2014: $89.4M (Trademarks)
  • FY 2014 spending January 31, 2014: $101.5M (Trademarks)
  • FY 2013 Performance and Accountability Report can be accessed:

Trademark Operations Update – Deborah Cohn, Commissioner for Trademarks

  • 30 Trademark Examining Attorney’s hired, 15 to start in March 2014 and 15 in May 2014
  • USPTO to hold identification of goods and services “boot camp” for examining attorneys
  • Trademark Expo to be held at the USPTO on October 17-18, 2014
  • USPTO to hold roundtable on April 11, 2014 on proposed rulemaking allowing post-registration changes to identifications of goods and services

Policy Update – Sharon Marsh, Deputy Commissioner for Trademark Policy

  • Surprisingly few people use IdeaScale to comment on USPTO proposed rulemaking

TTAB Update – Gerard Rogers, Chief Administrative Judge

  • The 2014 revision of the TBMP will be out in June
  • The TTAB is on target for meeting all of its 2014 goals

Trademark Next Generation Update – Raj Dolas, TMNG Portfolio

  • Examining attorney software will shift to entirely web-based access
  • Successfully deployed Trademark Reporting and Datamart 1.3 in December 2013
  • Release included refinements to employee productivity and form paragraphs

Upcoming TPAC Meetings

  • Friday, June 20, 2014
  • Thursday, October 16, 2014 (Thursday so as not to conflict with the Trademark Expo beginning on October 17)

Handouts from the USPTO Trademark Public Advisory Committee meeting on February 28, 2014

Share this blog post >

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *