Monday, August 28, 2006

PTO Strategic Plan Calls for 60-80 Precedential TTAB Decisions Per Year and Citability of Non-Precedentials

The PTO's draft five-year strategic plan (for the years 2007-2012), released on August 24, 2006, calls for an "enhanced level of TTAB precedential decisions (60-80 per year.)." (Plan found here; PTO press release here). [So far the Board is on course to meet that goal in 2006, having issued some 40 citable decisions to date]. The plan also proposes that citation of non-precedential decisions in briefs be permitted no later than FY 2007, "with use of those citations to identify needs for precedential decisions beginning in FY 2008" [page 32].

The draft plan also calls for the implementation of "TTAB Case Resolution" to effect a reduction in the number of appeals filed with the TTAB and a reduction in the overall pendency of opposition and cancellation proceedings [page 24]. In particular, it looks to reduce the average pendency of contested trademark oppositions by at least two months by FY 2008, with continued reductions in average pendency in subsequent years.

A public hearing on the plan will be held on September 26, 2006, at PTO Headquarters.

TTABlog comments: The distinction drawn by the PTO between "precedential" decisions and "citable" decisions deserves some thought. If a decision is not "precedential," its value as a citable case is certainly limited. In other words, what's the point here?

As to the implementation of "TTAB Case Resolution," if this means mediation, then the past history of the TTAB's efforts to establish such a program leaves one in doubt that this goal will be achieved.

Text Copyright John L. Welch 2006.


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