The following is an edited transcript of my video 4 Tips for a TTAB Hearing.

TTAB hearings can be important tools in a trademark dispute or appeal at the USPTO. I’ve watched dozens of hearings, and participated in many myself. Here are my key tips:

  1. Know the rules of the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB): the rules for evidence, for the case, and for the hearing. They’re very similar to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, but they have their own nuances and it’s important to know what those are.
  2. Know the evidence of record in the case. Generally, I always prepare for the hearing by making a binder full of all the evidence in the case. At the hearing, I have the entire binder organized and tabbed with me so that if I need to refer to specific evidence in the record, I can show the judges that the evidence is tangibly in the record. Saying there’s evidence about a particular fact is one thing, knowing there’s evidence is better, but knowing there’s evidence and pointing directly to the page number of that evidence is far and away the best and most convincing.
  3. Stand. With so many things on zoom or video, people have a tendency to sit at their desk. I strongly recommend investing in a standing desk. Standing has much better energy, better eye level and focus for the camera, and makes your performance while thinking on your feet that much better. When people are sitting, they tend to slouch, look down at their materials, and have lower energy. Standing up is a simple but key tip.
  4. When to request a hearing: Request a hearing when you have something important to say about evidence that’s hard to explain in the brief, about the story of the party and the history of the case, about a new law issue that’s never been examined or decided before. When you have something to say, it’s worth doing a hearing and can only strengthen your advocacy for the client before the TTAB.

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