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25 October 2011

Paving the way for a trademark bullying clearinghouse

The USPTO’s study into trademark litigation tactics failed to shed any new light on the issue of bullying, but a public meeting has been set to discuss the potential role industry associations can play in providing legal education programs on trademark policing. At the same time, a new initiative aims to establish a trademark bullying clearinghouse. The first challenge will be defining when enforcement becomes bullying.

29 June 2011

USPTO’s new commissioner of trademarks sets out clear objectives

When Lynne Beresford retired from her post as US commissioner of trademarks at the end of last year, she left behind a well-oiled trademark office that was the envy of the patent profession. So how does Debbie Cohn, the new commissioner, feel about filling Beresford’s shoes? “I’m very lucky,” she told WTR recently. “Our customers seem to be very happy with our work, both in timeliness and quality. So in terms of operations, our job is to keep on going.”

09 May 2011

USPTO silent as attorneys pour scorn on trademark bullies study

While many trademark attorneys and academics across the United States continue to brand the study into trademark litigation tactics as “worthless”, the USPTO has said it “will not comment” on the criticism.

19 January 2011

USPTO set to review relative grounds examination this year

The United States Patent and Trademark Office hopes to publish research into the costs and benefits associated with trademark examination on relative grounds before the year is out, WTR has learnt.

18 October 2010

Will the USPTO be able to identify the trademark bullies?

Seven months ago President Obama gave the green light to a study into mark owners' litigation tactics, with commentators wondering whether it would be able to reach any concrete conclusions on the emotive issue of trademark bullying. While the answer has moved a step closer following a request for comments on the issue, it is crucial that large brand owners engage with the consultation period to ensure any recommendations are based on a wide spectrum of views.

22 September 2010

Canada's police force sounds ready to give up on IP enforcement

Read Canada's newly published report on the extent of the counterfeiting problem and you would think that the Canadian police are so overwhelmed by fakes that they are about to give up the fight. In fact, the police might just be throwing a political football to the government as a way of asking for help – but is this call for help going to fall on deaf ears?

09 September 2010

USPTO: trademarks will get as good a data deal as patents

The USPTO this week announced its attractive and valuable Data Visualization Center, which displays for attorneys live statistics about the performance of the office. While patent attorneys cheered the initiative, trademark lawyers could have been forgiven for feeling left out. But they will soon be able to join in too: the USPTO has told WTR of plans to extend the service to the trademark side of its business.

07 September 2010

Google investigation must consider trademarks and AdWords

The news that Google is being investigated on antitrust concerns is perhaps not surprising, but the fact that regulators may study Google's keywords policies certainly is. However, the possibility that it will consider the impact of AdWords policies – set to change in Europe next week – is why trademark owners should watch this investigation unfold.

22 June 2010

USPTO looks beyond the Next Generation

It was three months ago that David Kappos, director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, unveiled the Trademark Next Generation project, asking for suggestions on the IT functionality users would like to see as the the agency moved towards end-to-end electronic processing. This week, in an exclusive interview with WTR, Kappos outlined the approach being taken to create a system that will continue to change with the times.

04 June 2010

USPTO powers up for futuristic trademark services (with help from Google)

Keen readers of this blog will be familiar with the push for free trademark data. Over the past year, we have reported on various initiatives to open up trademark registers around the world. Today WIPO launches its free WIPO Gold service to provide IP data to the public via a web portal that is reminiscent of an old WTR front cover. In the US, following our revelation that the USPTO was searching for a partner that could open up the US trademark database, the organization looked no further than info-troll Google, which has just published bulk US trademark data for all to see.

02 June 2010

Is Canada finally preparing to join the 21st Century?

The wheels at the Canadian IP Office are grinding forward - but they are moving at least. Long regarded as one of the most backward IP offices among its peers in the G8 countries, CIPO is now pushing for amendments to Canada's Trademarks Act. The goal, top officials recently told WTR, is accession to the Madrid Protocol and the Singapore Treaty on the Law of Trademark.

10 May 2010

It looks like the USPTO desires free trademark data for all, too

Here's a gentle whisper from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). It appears that the agency is searching for a partner that can help it open up its trademark register to the public free of charge. The USPTO, which already operates a searchable trademark database, made noises last year about developing its technology in the interests of transparency and user experience.

30 April 2010

Is the Special 301 Report out of date?

The Special 301 Report is starting to look tired. Not only will ACTA be a much stronger instrument in stopping the counterfeit trade, but the White House plan to fight IP theft through better stakeholder coordination sounds like a much more sensible approach to the problem.

24 March 2010

USPTO turns to trademarks and consults users on IT overhaul

USPTO director David Kappos has finally turned his attention from patents to trademarks, revealing plans to offer full service electronic processing. The IT overhaul provides trademark owners with a rare opportunity to present a wish list of demands to the organization.

22 March 2010

Obama green lights US trademark study

Last week President Obama signed into law a new US trademark act that contains the provision for a study into mark owners' litigation tactics. But the big question is: will the study uncover anything that mark owners don't already know?