In response to a growing number of fraudulent trademark applications, the USPTO in 2012 established a pilot program to audit existing registrations. The audit found that for over half of the marks audited, the mark owners and/or their attorneys could not submit sufficient evidence of use.
- Scotland's space technology industry is booming, with a 12-fold increase in published space tech patents since 1969.
- Facebook was recently issued a patent to enable moderators to more easily censor content posted in groups. The tech includes a feature that would limit questionable content so that only the poster can see it.
- Nintendo's recent IP filings suggest new features for the Switch.
- Ford Motor Company's newest trademark suggests the company will soon offer new off-road packages. Check out the trademark application here.
The Great Outdoors
- Glowing rocks found on the banks of Lake Superior are creating trademark disputes.
- The historical names of different sites in Yosemite National Park are being restored after a long trademark battle.
- Yeti Coolers has filed a lawsuit for trademark infringement against Yetti Outdoors.
Listen to the Music
- Music streaming company Spotify settled two copyright infringement lawsuits and will shell out more than $40 million to songwriters.
- Universal Music Group, which owns the famous "Motown" trademark, is looking to prevent boy band O-Town from continuing to use their name.
- Is there a legal loophole that leaves famous guitar riffs without copyright protection?
After first publishing a proposal to require foreign-domiciled applicants and registrants to use a U.S. licensed attorney in February, the USPTO has made the rule official. Starting on August 3, 2019, filers residing and businesses headquartered outside the United States—including those in Canada—will have to be represented by an attorney licensed in the United States.
The new rule will also mean that Canadian patent agents will no longer be able to represent trademark applicants, and while Canadian attorneys may continue to be deemed “additionally appointed practitioners,” the USPTO will no longer correspond directly with them.
Generally, this is part of a series of changes that the USPTO is making to ensure that filings are accurate and comply with USPTO expectations and help “safeguard the integrity of the U.S. trademark register.”
Notably, this also applies to any non-US filers whose applications are assigned office actions, even if their applications were filed or their office actions were assigned before the effective date. Those applicants whose application dates were before August 3rd and whose applications are otherwise satisfactory will be granted registration.
Welcome back to Beyond the Docket! This time we are back to interview Steven Weigler of EmergeCounsel. Steve is a business and trademark attorney who worked in a Fortune 50 tech company before starting his own firm. We talk about his background at a big tech company, the mission-driven company he founded to help at-risk youth, and his journey to starting and running his own firm.
Sitting on Capitol Hill
- Yesterday, the Supreme Court ruled that banning "immoral" or "scandalous" trademark registrations violates the First Amendment.
- Senator Marco Rubio wants to continue the fight against Chinese tech company Huawei and prevent it from ever receiving patent damages in US courts.
- Senators Chris Coons and Thom Tillis reflect on what they learned at the patent eligibility hearings.
Welcome back to Beyond the Docket! This time we are back to interview Shannon Montgomery of Montgomery Law, PLLC. Shannon is a small business attorney with a focus on trademarks and small business transactions. We talk about her background as a bodybuilder/powerlifter and her blog, which includes a series about the law and social media.
- A European court sided with Zara, finding a safari company's trademark application was too similar to the fast fashion brand's registration.
- Supreme Italia, a counterfeit organization involved in ongoing legal battles with Supreme, is losing trademark registrations in China.
Last week, we teamed up with Wolters Kluwer to hold an event at the INTA annual meeting in Boston. The event was held at GrandTen Distilling, along with some delicious tacos from Taco Party Truck. Thanks to everyone who came out and made it such a wonderful event! Check out some of the photos from the event below.
Early yesterday evening, the USPTO announced the immediate shutdown of the TSDR API, one of the primary and most complete sources of USPTO trademark data. The USPTO made this change in response to bad actors scraping the TSDR, which caused usability limitations and outages.