Thursday, November 18, 2010

USPTO Issues Performance and Accountability Report for Fiscal Year 2010

The United States Patent and Trademark Office has issued its Performance and Accountability Report for Fiscal Year 2010 (pdf here).

At page 22-23, the Report discusses our favorite tribunal, the TTAB:

Objective 4: Enhance Operations of Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.

In FY 2010 the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) issued more than 50 precedential decisions on a wide variety of substantive and procedural issues. TTAB's precedential decisions on appeals provide guidance not only to the Agency's trademark examining attorneys, but also to trademark owners and the trademark bar. TTAB's precedential decisions in opposition and cancellation proceedings provide guidance to trademark owners and the bar regarding both the Trademark Rules of Practice and substantive issues. In this regard, TTAB has been working on a new edition of the Trademark Board Manual of Procedure to incorporate materials related to the recent amendments to the rules of practice and recent precedential cases. The revised manual will be posted online, and it will be in searchable form for the first time. Thus the revised manual will be not only be easier to use but easier to revise more regularly. The new edition is currently under review. We expect to issue it early in the next fiscal year. Also, TTAB has been working closely with the bar to refine our Accelerated Case Resolution policy. We have already seen increased use of this procedure to expedite the disposition of cases. Finally, TTAB has begun discussion with the bar regarding the possibility of TTAB involvement in settlement discussions.

Note also the Summary of Contested Trademark Cases at page 149 and the list of the top 50 trademark applicants and registrants at page 154.

TTABlog note: A keen-eyed reader has questioned the veracity of Table 23 (page 149), regarding contested cases. The Table says that 80 interferences were pending at the TTAB as of 9/30/2010. Both she and this writer are aware of no TTAB interference proceedings over the past several decades. Perhaps more shockingly, the Table says there were no oppositions pending as of 9/30/09! And 1,518 concurrent use proceedings! Good grief!! Are any of the data in Table 23 correct?

TTABlog postscript: I am informed by a knowledgeable source that the data in Table 23 are correct, it's just the column headings that are wrong. The "Oppositions" heading should be second from the left, after "Ex Parte," and the other headings should be shifted one place to the right.

Text Copyright John L. Welch 2010.


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