USPTO heads into uncharted waters

By Tim Lince

While trademark applications at the US Patent and Trademark Office continue to rise, a new administration and the unexpected resignation of Director Michelle Lee have raised questions as to how its future looks

The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is a key trademark protection destination for brand owners across the world. While applications and registrations continued to rise last year, the inauguration of US President Donald Trump in January triggered widespread uncertainty as to whether USPTO Director Michelle Lee would remain in the post or whether there would be a fresh political appointment. That uncertainty ended when Lee resigned unexpectedly in June after four years in the role, confirming that new leadership at the USPTO is now certainly on the cards. At the time of going to press, Joseph Matal – an associate solicitor at the USPTO – has been named as interim director following Lee’s departure, but this is expected to be a temporary measure.

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Issue 72