Partnership works towards harmonized trademark applications

International

The Japan Patent Office, the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market and the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), working together as the Trademark Trilateral Partnership, have agreed to use a uniform list of approved identifications and classifications of goods and services for trademark applications. The partnership has developed a list of over 7,000 designations that will be accepted in trademark applications filed in any of the three offices. Additional designations will be added as agreed to by the offices.

Practitioners and trademark owners have often expressed frustration as to the difficulty in finding commonly acceptable descriptions of goods and services in trademark applications filed in the three jurisdictions. The USPTO has been particularly assiduous in insisting on specific detailed lists of goods and services, and generally has not allowed registrations to cover all of the goods and services in a particular class. The USPTO maintains a highly detailed manual setting forth acceptable descriptions.

The result of the agreement, according to representatives of the partnership, will be a faster and more efficient trademark examination process for applicants who specify approved designations. The measure of certainty, observers say, will facilitate business and encourage trademark owners to obtain IP protection globally.

Jason Mazur, Arent Fox PLLC, Washington DC

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