Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Paul Reidl Files Comments Re Proposal for TTAB Involvement in Settlement Discussions

Today is the deadline for filing comments concerning the extent to which the TTAB "should become more directly involved in the settlement discussions of parties to inter partes proceedings." [TTABlogged here]. Paul W. Reidl, former INTA President and current trademark expert, filed his thoughtful comments yesterday. [pdf here]. Have you filed your comments?

Paul states: "Based on my [30 years of] experience, I do not believe that requiring Board involvement in settlement discussions at any stage of a proceeding would materially increase the likelihood of settlement nor would it be a good allocation of the Board’s scarce resources."

"For at least six reasons, it is doubtful that Board involvement would have a material impact on the settlement dynamics:
  1. There is no possibility of a damages or an attorneys’ fees award.
  2. There is no risk of making the Judge angry by being unreasonable.
  3. Telephone settlement conferences are useless, and the Board cannot compel the parties to appear in person.
  4. The Administrative Trademark Judges have expertise in the law of registration, but the law frequently is not the dispositive factor in settlement.
  5. There is no penalty to adopting a low cost “rope-a-dope” strategy in Board proceedings.
  6. Board proceedings are frequently proxies for a marketplace issue."

I agree with Paul. As I've said before, I think Board involvement in settlement discussions will only complicate matters with minimal beneficial effect.

Text Copyright John L. Welch 2011.


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