Erik Pelton tracks trademark trends
My friend Erik Pelton reviewed the big news in trademarks during 2017 in this post from the first week in January. Highlights, compressed by me — save for the one set out as a quote in its entirety — with my own bit of spin:
- Supreme Court allows registration of ‘disparaging’ trademarks Notwithstanding the excitement over these developments experienced by the holders of trademarks such as THE SLANTS, REDSKINS and the one in Brunetti, Erik observes that, “While brands will continue to be edgy, these cases are unlikely to affect 99% of trademark owners.” I concur.
- Scams continue despite warnings. “Scams preying on trademark owners continued to flourish, including solicitations from outfits calling themselves Patent & Trademark Resource Center; Global Patents & Trademarks; World Organization of Trademarks; and International Patent & Trademark Agency. One scam even comes from a “Patent & Trademark Office” in New York (the real USPTO is Alexandria, Virginia).” And nothing seems to stop them.
- Large growth in USPTO filings. An increase in over 10%, which seems to me to have more to do with the accessibility of online trademark registration application to non-lawyers, unskilled lawyers, unskilled non-lawyers (such as LegalZoom) and, in general, the stupid than anything else.
- Newsworthy trademarks. Citing trending words and phrases such as fidget spinners, blockchains and covfefe that translate into attempts (by members of the groups listed in the last bullet point) to register words related to them by people having virtually nothing to do with them (inevitably invoking garbagio goods), Erik expects more of the same pretty much forever. Which at least helps fund the PTO.
USPTO’s trademark technology continues to stagger. In 2010, the USPTO launched the “Trademarks Next Generation” project to upgrade and modernize its software, IT, and technology both internally and for trademark applicants. While some progress has been made, the costs and delays have continued to grow. Many features common to other systems and databases are nonexistent. For example, a dearth of mobile apps or mobile pages for TESS, TSDR and more; core trademark search functions are rather complex and arcane; no visual searching; and Office Actions and TTAB opinion documents are not easily searchable.
- Trademark fee changes and TTAB rule updates. Nothing got cheaper.
Erik keeps track of this stuff so I don’t have to. Take a few minutes and read the whole post.