U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Clears the Way for Innovation

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The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will implement the Trademark Modernization Act of 2020 (TMA) on Dec. 18, 2021. According to the agency, this will give individuals, businesses and the USPTO tools to clear away unused registered trademarks.

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"The new ex parte expungement and reexamination proceedings provide a faster, more efficient and less expensive alternative to a contested inter partes cancelation proceeding at the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB)," the USPTO reported. More specifically, per the Federal Register Final Rule, proceedings will be established for the cancellation of a registration when the required use in commerce of the registered mark has not been made; provides for a new nonuse ground for cancellation before the TTAB; establishes flexible office action response periods; and amends the existing letter-of-protest rule to indicate that such protest determinations are final and non-reviewable.

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In addition, the rule sets fees for petitions requesting said proceedings and for requests to extend USPTO action response deadlines. The rules governing the suspension of USPTO proceedings and attorney recognition in trademark matters are also amended, and a new rule is added to address procedures regarding court orders cancelling or affecting registrations.

See the Final Rule to learn more about these changes.

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