Prepared by Cislo & Thomas LLP Attorney Mark D. Nielsen, Ph.D.
1. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) gave legitimate trademark applications a gift by sanctioning a Chinese company and its director for submitting over 15,000 bogus trademark applications that violated various USPTO rules. The sanction was to terminate all of the trademark applications submitted by the Chinese company and its director, and blocked them from corresponding with or submitting materials to the USPTO in the future. Fraudulent trademark applications have been a focal point for the USPTO for the last several years, and this is a significant step by the USPTO that will hopefully deter such activities in the future.
2. The USPTO also gave trademark owners a gift through the Trademark Modernization Act legislation passed in 2020, but with its rulemaking taking place in 2021. The Trademark Modernization Act provides procedures within the Trademark Office for reexamination, expungement, or cancellation of trademark registrations that are not in use or were never in use. Importantly, it also, among other things, restores the presumption of irreparable harm in connection with injunctive relief in trademark infringement actions making it easier for trademark owners to prevent others from using their marks.
3. At the end of 2020, and based on rulemaking during 2021, the United States Copyright Office gave copyright owners a gift by providing them a mechanism in the Copyright Alternative in Small-Claims Enforcement (CASE) Act for resolving smaller disputes without having to file suit in federal court. It appears that the Copyright Claims Board (CCB) is about ready to go, and that claimants with smaller copyright disputes will be able to begin filing their matters with the CCB in the very near future.
Now that we have opened our “gifts” from Congress, the USPTO, and the Copyright Office, I want to wish everyone a great holiday season, a time of refreshment, and a positive, optimistic outlook for 2022. We all have had some challenging times the last few years, and this is time to put those things aside, rejoice with those we love, and freshen up because 2022 will be here before we know. Be well, and see you all in early 2022.