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17 October 2014

The trademark challenges awaiting the incoming USPTO director

The announcement that the White House has nominated Michelle Lee to be the next Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director at the USPTO means that the wait for a permanent replacement to David Kappos may soon be over. Should she occupy the top seat, however, a number of challenges await Lee – not least ensuring that the trademark side of operations receives as much attention as patents.

09 September 2014

Search on for a new USPTO Commissioner of Trademarks

It’s hiring time at the USPTO. While the wait goes on for a permanent Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director at the agency, the vacancy list just got longer with the news that the incumbent, Deborah Cohn, plans to retire.

11 August 2014

Assumptions in recent trademark studies slammed

New research has challenged the assumptions used in recent studies evidencing the positive economic impact of intellectual property. The paper is specifically critical of US research projects that it claims make a “substantial leap from the fact that IP exists within a particular industry to the conclusion that job creation and employment in that industry hinge on strong IP protections”.

11 July 2014

Commissioner of Trademarks under fire as OIG criticises USPTO hiring practices

An investigation by the Office of the Inspector General has accused the USPTO’s Commissioner of Trademarks of improperly using her position to facilitate the hiring of a family member’s fiancé, while criticising wider hiring practices at the office. Meanwhile the search for a permanent successor to David Kappos, previous director of the USPTO, continues to stutter.

16 October 2013

What a USPTO shutdown would mean for trademark counsel

With the first US government shutdown in 17 years entering its third week, attempts to find a remedy before tomorrow’s deadline for raising the debt limit continue apace. At present, the USPTO has continued operations relatively unaffected but, should a solution not be found by the end of next week (or should a short-term solution lead to later shutdowns), the prospect of the office closing its doors will become a reality. So how big an impact would it have on trademark counsel?

01 October 2013

CADNA responds to ‘SOPA for trademarks’ concerns

The Coalition Against Domain Name Abuse has responded to concerns that its proposals to strengthen US anti-cybersquatting legislation would give trademark owners an unfair advantage over domainers in disputes regarding domain ownership.

19 August 2013

US on the search for a new ‘IP czar’ as Espinel leaves role

In issue 43, WTR predicted the people and events most likely to shape the trademark world in the next 18 months – with ‘IP czar’ Victoria Espinel one of the names singled out to watch. Strike one for WTR then, as it has emerged that Espinel left the role this month, with the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs’ Howard Shelanski taking up the hot-seat until a new coordinator is named.

23 July 2013

The statistics showing that social media is taking centre stage for trademark counsel at big brands

A recent study highlights how social media has rapidly increased in importance to the United States’ biggest brand owners in recent years. That can only mean one thing for trademark counsel...

02 July 2013

US urged to ‘ease up’ over IP piracy in China

An article published by the Council on Foreign Relations has suggested that efforts to push China to change its approach to IP law are not worth the political and diplomatic capital the United States is spending on it. For those battling piracy, the key question is how likely a change in stance actually is.

21 June 2013

New US study into the economic impact of IP due in December

The Executive Office of the President of the United States released its 2013 strategic plan for IP enforcement yesterday. Following the release last year of the US Department of Commerce study into the impact of IP-intensive industries, the White House promises a regular, annual report into the economic benefits of IP and calls for enhanced public engagement on the issues of counterfeiting and piracy.

18 June 2013

Opinions split over New York bill to tackle counterfeit demand

Proposals to make the knowing purchase of counterfeit goods a criminal offence have been the subject of debate by New York council's Public Safety Committee – with opinions split over the best way to tackle demand for fake goods.

06 June 2013

Following the trolls: could judges lead anti-trademark bullying efforts?

Following a White House communication outlining ways to tackle ‘patent trolls’, a call has been made for judges to shift the cost burden of litigation abuse from the defendant to the plaintiff. Could such an approach also be adopted in cases of trademark bullying?

20 May 2013

USPTO responds to trademark bullying report criticism

The issue of trademark bullying remains divisive and the USPTO has written to WTR to respond to criticism of follow-up activities to the Department of Commerce’s report on litigation tactics. The split in opinions illustrates the continued challenge in creating a coherent industry stance on bullying.

04 December 2012

USPTO sets out the trademark challenges facing Kappos’ successor

Last week, WTR reported on the news that David Kappos, Director of the USPTO, is to step down from his post next month. While no official announcement has yet been issued, this week saw the release of the agency’s performance and accountability report for fiscal year 2012, which identified some of the challenges awaiting his successor.

27 November 2012

Kappos to exit USPTO, agency looks to the future

David Kappos, under secretary of commerce for intellectual property and director of the USPTO, is to leave the office by the end of January 2013. The reasons for his decision, which came to light last night, are sketchy at present – Kappos informed staff by email of his decision to leave the office but, at the time of writing, no official statement has been released by the agency. All eyes will now be on possible replacements – and the impact he or she may have for trademark practitioners.