Improving the Accuracy of the Trademark Register: Request for Comments on Possible Streamlined Version of Cancellation Proceedings on Grounds of Abandonment and Nonuse, 22517-22519 [2017-09856]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 93 / Tuesday, May 16, 2017 / Notices U.S.C. 1852, a copy of the recording is available upon request. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Shasta McClenahan or Carrie Hubard, (301) 427–8401. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Dated: May 10, 2017. Tracey L. Thompson, Acting Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2017–09832 Filed 5–15–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648–XF367 Marine Mammals; File No. 20951 National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice; receipt of application. AGENCY: Notice is hereby given that Ann Zoidis, Ph.D., Cetos Research Organization, 11 Des Isle Avenue, Bar Harbor, ME 04609, has applied in due form for a permit to conduct research on marine mammals. DATES: Written, telefaxed, or email comments must be received on or before June 15, 2017. ADDRESSES: The application and related documents are available for review by selecting ‘‘Records Open for Public Comment’’ from the ‘‘Features’’ box on the Applications and Permits for Protected Species (APPS) home page, https://apps.nmfs.noaa.gov, and then selecting File No. 20951 from the list of available applications. These documents are also available upon written request or by appointment in the Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, 1315 East-West Highway, Room 13705, Silver Spring, MD 20910; phone (301) 427–8401; fax (301) 713–0376. Written comments on this application should be submitted to the Chief, Permits and Conservation Division, at the address listed above. Comments may also be submitted by facsimile to (301) 713–0376, or by email to NMFS.Pr1Comments@noaa.gov. Please include the File No. in the subject line of the email comment. Those individuals requesting a public hearing should submit a written request to the Chief, Permits and Conservation Division at the address listed above. The request should set forth the specific reasons why a hearing on this application would be appropriate. sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:42 May 15, 2017 Jkt 241001 The subject permit is requested under the authority of the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, as amended (MMPA; 16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.), the regulations governing the taking and importing of marine mammals (50 CFR part 216), the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA; 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), and the regulations governing the taking, importing, and exporting of endangered and threatened species (50 CFR 222–226). The applicant requests a five-year research permit to study cetaceans in the Gulf of Maine to determine population behavior, size, distribution, seasonal variations, habitat utilization, and trophic ecology. The research would target 17 species of cetaceans including the following endangered species: Blue (Balaenoptera musculus), fin (B. physalus), North Atlantic right (Eubalaena glacialis), sei (B. borealis), and sperm (Physeter macrocephalus) whales. Researchers would conduct vessel and unmanned aerial surveys for counts, biological sampling, observations, photography, and photogrammetry of cetaceans. Standard research activities for target large whale species include annual takes of 400 each fin and humpback (Megaptera novaeangliae) whales, 100 each minke (B. acutorostrata) and sei whales, and 50 each blue, North Atlantic right, and sperm whales. Adult and juvenile whales may be biopsy sampled annually: Up to 100 each fin and humpback whales, and 30 each blue, minke, and sei whales. Up to 10 humpback and fin whale calves, 6 months or older, may be biopsy sampled each year. Other Level B harassment takes may occur for nine smaller, nonlisted cetacean species; please see the take table of the application. In compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), an initial determination has been made that the activity proposed is categorically excluded from the requirement to prepare an environmental assessment or environmental impact statement. Concurrent with the publication of this notice in the Federal Register, NMFS is forwarding copies of the application to the Marine Mammal Commission and its Committee of Scientific Advisors. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: PO 00000 Frm 00041 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 22517 Dated: May 11, 2017. Julia Harrison, Chief, Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2017–09854 Filed 5–15–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Patent and Trademark Office [Docket No.: PTO–T–2017–0012] Improving the Accuracy of the Trademark Register: Request for Comments on Possible Streamlined Version of Cancellation Proceedings on Grounds of Abandonment and Nonuse United States Patent and Trademark Office, Commerce. ACTION: Request for comments. AGENCY: The United States Patent and Trademark Office (‘‘USPTO’’) seeks comments from stakeholders, mark owners, and all those interested in the maintenance of an accurate U.S. Trademark Register, on the establishment of a streamlined version of the existing inter partes abandonment and nonuse grounds for cancellation before the USPTO’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (‘‘TTAB’’). DATES: To ensure consideration, comments should be submitted no later than August 14, 2017. ADDRESSES: Comments should be sent by electronic mail message over the Internet addressed to: TTABFRNotices@ uspto.gov or to the following address: United States Patent and Trademark Office, Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, P.O. Box 1451, Alexandria, VA 22313–1451, ATTN: Cynthia Lynch. The comments will be available for public inspection via the USPTO Web site at http://www.uspto.gov. Because comments will be made available for public inspection, information that the submitter does not desire to make public, such as an address or phone number, should not be included in the comments. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Cynthia Lynch, Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, by email at TTABFRNotices@uspto.gov or by telephone at (571) 272–8742. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: SUMMARY: Background As part of the USPTO’s ongoing effort to improve the accuracy of the U.S. Trademark Register, the USPTO has been consulting with stakeholders on E:\FR\FM\16MYN1.SGM 16MYN1 22518 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 93 / Tuesday, May 16, 2017 / Notices sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with NOTICES ways to eliminate from the Register registrations for marks that are not in use. Stakeholders asked the USPTO to consider creating additional tools to facilitate challenges by interested parties to registrations for unused marks. The USPTO considered cost and efficiency, the potential for abuse of any such tools, U.S. treaty obligations, and the existing legal framework for abandonment, nonuse, and registrationmaintenance requirements. The USPTO has assessed many options, including making statutory and regulatory changes, as part of this ongoing effort and has decided to prioritize proposals for modifying existing regulations at this time. Accordingly, this Request for Comments addresses an option for a streamlined version of the existing inter partes abandonment and nonuse grounds for cancellation before the TTAB (‘‘Streamlined Proceedings’’).1 Streamlined Proceedings Under existing law, cancellation of a registration for nonuse requires a showing of either: (1) Abandonment as to some or all of the goods/services (nonuse plus intention not to resume use); or (2) no use for some or all of the goods/services in a Section 1-based registration prior to the relevant operative date (i.e., filing date, date of amendment to allege use, or date of statement of use). The USPTO is considering offering a streamlined TTAB cancellation proceeding limited to the assertion of one or both of these claims. No other possible grounds for cancellation would be included in the Streamlined Proceedings. The introduction of this flexibility in the relevant rules would include specific procedures and timing to facilitate speed and efficiency, including that the evidence must be submitted with the pleadings, very limited discovery only when granted by the TTAB for good cause shown, an abbreviated schedule, no oral hearing, and issuance of the TTAB’s decision within an expedited timeframe. These proceedings would provide a significantly streamlined process because pleading, presentation of evidence, and limited briefing would occur simultaneously. The fee for a petition to cancel in a Streamlined Proceeding would be lower than for a petition in a full proceeding—with possible fees totaling $300 per class 1 If this Streamlined Proceedings proposal is implemented, the USPTO will have a better sense of whether the proceedings are effective for their intended purpose and can then evaluate whether proposals necessitating statutory amendment also would be useful. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:42 May 15, 2017 Jkt 241001 when filing through the Electronic System for Trademark Trials and Appeals (ESTTA), or $400 per class when filing on paper. A petition to cancel in a Streamlined Proceeding would be required to set forth facts to establish the petitioner’s standing and set forth with particularity the factual basis for the ground(s) asserted as the basis for cancellation. While the Streamlined Proceedings would be limited to assertion of two possible grounds, there may be cases in which the petitioner would assert both; and in that scenario, each ground would have to be stated with particularity. Additionally, the petition would be required to be supported by the proof upon which the petitioner relies to establish both standing and the claim of abandonment and/or nonuse. As proof for the claim, for example, a petitioner might provide a declaration outlining a search for use of the mark and the results, or other evidence of abandonment or nonuse. The respondent’s answer would be required within 40 days. In addition to the requirement that the respondent admit or deny the averments in the petition and, if applicable, state the defenses of either estoppel or prior judgments, the answer would be required to also include proof of use or other evidence on which the respondent seeks to rely to counter the abandonment or nonuse grounds for the goods or services as to which the grounds have been alleged, or to support any pleaded defenses. After reviewing the answer and proof, within 40 days the petitioner may elect to: (1) Reply, providing any rebuttal evidence, thereby submitting the Streamlined Proceeding for decision by the TTAB (typically within 90 days); (2) Withdraw the petition for cancellation without prejudicing the right to file another cancellation proceeding on grounds other than the grounds raised in the Streamlined Proceeding; or (3) File a notice of conversion to a full cancellation proceeding, along with the appropriate fee and any proposed amendment of the petition to cancel, including adding other grounds for cancellation. Upon any such conversion to a full proceeding, the TTAB would designate a time within which an amended answer must be filed, and issue a trial order setting deadlines and dates to allow for disclosures, discovery, trial and briefing. The cancellation proceeding then would continue pursuant to the usual practices and rules for non-streamlined proceedings. Notably, the respondent would not have PO 00000 Frm 00042 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 the option of converting to a full TTAB proceeding.2 However, both parties would retain the right to judicial review of TTAB decisions in Streamlined Proceedings, under 15 U.S.C. 1071. At the time of the answer, the respondent may, by separate motion, request limited discovery solely on the issue of standing, based on a showing of good cause. Upon the grant of such a motion, the TTAB would issue an order setting the deadline for discovery and deadlines by which the respondent may submit a motion to challenge standing and by which the petitioner may respond to such a motion, if filed. The TTAB would grant such a motion only when it appears that discovery could provide outcome determinative information with respect to standing. Such a motion would not stay or otherwise extend deadlines. Regardless of the request for discovery or any challenge to standing, the respondent must nonetheless still timely answer the petition and provide its proof, and the petitioner must provide any reply brief or conversion request. Counterclaims would not be permitted in Streamlined Proceedings. To the extent that a respondent believes that it has the basis for a counterclaim, it would have to bring the claim in a separate proceeding. As a general rule, suspensions would be rare and would typically be available only when there is concurrent district court litigation involving the same mark(s) and issue(s). The Streamlined Proceedings could offer a substantially quicker schedule than a full cancellation proceeding. In the case of a default judgment where the respondent does not respond to the petition, the entire proceeding could conclude within approximately 70 days. In a case where a respondent elects to respond, the entire proceeding could conclude within approximately 170 days in most cases. Extensions of time for the answer or reply would be limited to one per party. Request for Public Comments The USPTO is requesting written public comments on the Streamlined Proceedings, as outlined above, or other options for a streamlined version of the existing inter partes abandonment and nonuse grounds for cancellation before 2 Given that the respondent, rather than the petitioner, generally has the relevant information about use, the respondent would seem to have no legitimate need for a full proceeding. Although the USPTO considered some stakeholder suggestions that the respondent also have the conversion option, the USPTO concluded that such a mechanism would undercut the speed and efficiency for a petitioner and result in the streamlined proceedings lacking any real benefit over existing cancellation procedures. E:\FR\FM\16MYN1.SGM 16MYN1 22519 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 93 / Tuesday, May 16, 2017 / Notices the TTAB. The Office also invites any other input the public wishes to convey about the topics addressed in this Request for Comments. collection is also available at http:// www.reginfo.gov under ‘‘Information Collection Review.’’ SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Dated: May 10, 2017. Michelle K. Lee, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office. I. Abstract This collection of information is required by the Trademark Act, 15 U.S.C. 1051 et seq., which provides for the federal registration of trademarks, service marks, collective trademarks and services marks, collective membership marks, and certification marks. Individuals and business that use such marks, or intend to use such marks, in interstate commerce may file an application to register their marks with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). This collection generally contains information that is not submitted with the initial trademark application but is associated with, or required for, the USPTO review of applications for registration. In some cases, the USPTO issues Office Actions to applicants who have applied to register a mark, requesting information that was not provided with the initial submission, but is required before the issuance of a registration. Also, the USPTO may determine that a mark is not entitled to registration, pursuant to one or more provisions of the Trademark Act. In such cases, the USPTO will issue an Office Action advising the applicant of the refusal to register the mark. Applicants reply to these Office Actions by providing the required information and/or by putting forth legal arguments as to why the refusal of registration should be withdrawn. The USPTO administers the Trademark Act through Chapter 37 of the Code of Federal Regulations. These rules allow the USPTO to request and receive information required to process applications. These rules also allow applicants to submit certain amendments to their applications. Applicants may also supplement their applications and provide further information by filing a Voluntary Amendment Not in Response to USPTO Office Action/Letter, a Request for Reconsideration after Final Office Action, a Post-Approval/Publication/ [FR Doc. 2017–09856 Filed 5–15–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Patent and Trademark Office Responses to Office Action and Voluntary Amendment Forms ACTION: Proposed collection; comment request. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, invites comments on a proposed extension of an existing information collection: 0651–0050 (Responses to Office Action and Voluntary Amendment Forms). DATES: Written comments must be submitted on or before July 17, 2017. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by any of the following methods: • Email: InformationCollection@ uspto.gov. Include ‘‘0651–0050 comment’’ in the subject line of the message. • Mail: Marcie Lovett, Records Management Division Director, Office of the Chief Information Officer, United States Patent and Trademark Office, P.O. Box 1450, Alexandria, VA 22313– 1450. • Federal Rulemaking Portal: http:// www.regulations.gov. SUMMARY: FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Requests for additional information should be directed to Catherine Cain, Attorney Advisor, Office of the Commissioner for Trademarks, United States Patent and Trademark Office, P.O. Box 1450, Alexandria, VA 22313– 1450, by telephone at 571–272–8946, or by email at Catherine.Cain@uspto.gov. Additional information about this Post-Notice of Allowance (NOA) Amendment, a Petition to Amend Basis Post-Publication, or a Response to Suspension Inquiry or Letter of Suspension. In rare instances, an applicant may also submit a Substitute Trademark/Servicemark, Substitute Certification Mark, Substitute Collective Membership Mark, or Substitute Collective Trademark/Servicemark application. II. Method of Collection The forms in this collection are available in electronic format through the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS), which may be accessed on the USPTO Web site. TEAS Global Forms are available for the items where a TEAS form with dedicated data fields is not yet available. Applicants may also submit the information in paper form by mail, fax, or hand delivery. III. Data OMB Number: 0651–0050. Form Numbers: PTO–1771, PTO– 1822, PTO–1957, PTO–1960, and PTO– 1966. Type of Review: Extension of a currently approved collection. Affected Public: Businesses or other for-profits; not-for-profit institutions; individuals. Estimated Number of Respondents: 472,301 responses per year. Estimated Time per Response: The USPTO estimates that it will take the public between 10 minutes (0.16 hours) and 45 minutes (0.75 hours), depending on the complexity of the situation, to gather the necessary information, prepare the appropriate documents, and submit the information required for this collection. Estimated Total Annual Respondent Burden Hours: 266,184 hours per year. Estimated Total Annual Respondent Cost Burden: $109,135,440.00. The USPTO expects that the information in this collection will be prepared by attorneys at an estimated rate of $410 per hour. Therefore, the USPTO estimates that the respondent cost burden for this collection will be approximately $109,135,440.00 per year. sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with NOTICES TABLE 1—TOTAL HOURLY BURDEN Item 1 ..................... 1 ..................... VerDate Sep<11>2014 Estimated time for response (hours) Response to Office Action (TEAS) .. Response to Office Action (Paper) .. 16:42 May 15, 2017 Jkt 241001 PO 00000 Estimated annual responses Estimated annual burden hours Rate ($/hr) Estimated annual burden (a) IC # (b) (a) × (b) = (c) (d) (c) × (d) = (e) 0.58 (35 minutes) 0.67 (40 minutes) Frm 00043 Fmt 4703 410,722 9,847 Sfmt 4703 238,219 6,597 E:\FR\FM\16MYN1.SGM 16MYN1 $410.00 410.00 $97,699,790.00 2,704,770..00

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 93 (Tuesday, May 16, 2017)]
[Notices]
[Pages 22517-22519]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-09856]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

 Patent and Trademark Office

[Docket No.: PTO-T-2017-0012]


Improving the Accuracy of the Trademark Register: Request for 
Comments on Possible Streamlined Version of Cancellation Proceedings on 
Grounds of Abandonment and Nonuse

AGENCY: United States Patent and Trademark Office, Commerce.

ACTION: Request for comments.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The United States Patent and Trademark Office (``USPTO'') 
seeks comments from stakeholders, mark owners, and all those interested 
in the maintenance of an accurate U.S. Trademark Register, on the 
establishment of a streamlined version of the existing inter partes 
abandonment and nonuse grounds for cancellation before the USPTO's 
Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (``TTAB'').

DATES: To ensure consideration, comments should be submitted no later 
than August 14, 2017.

ADDRESSES: Comments should be sent by electronic mail message over the 
Internet addressed to: TTABFRNotices@uspto.gov or to the following 
address: United States Patent and Trademark Office, Trademark Trial and 
Appeal Board, P.O. Box 1451, Alexandria, VA 22313-1451, ATTN: Cynthia 
Lynch.
    The comments will be available for public inspection via the USPTO 
Web site at http://www.uspto.gov. Because comments will be made 
available for public inspection, information that the submitter does 
not desire to make public, such as an address or phone number, should 
not be included in the comments.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Cynthia Lynch, Trademark Trial and 
Appeal Board, by email at TTABFRNotices@uspto.gov or by telephone at 
(571) 272-8742.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    As part of the USPTO's ongoing effort to improve the accuracy of 
the U.S. Trademark Register, the USPTO has been consulting with 
stakeholders on

[[Page 22518]]

ways to eliminate from the Register registrations for marks that are 
not in use. Stakeholders asked the USPTO to consider creating 
additional tools to facilitate challenges by interested parties to 
registrations for unused marks. The USPTO considered cost and 
efficiency, the potential for abuse of any such tools, U.S. treaty 
obligations, and the existing legal framework for abandonment, nonuse, 
and registration-maintenance requirements.
    The USPTO has assessed many options, including making statutory and 
regulatory changes, as part of this ongoing effort and has decided to 
prioritize proposals for modifying existing regulations at this time. 
Accordingly, this Request for Comments addresses an option for a 
streamlined version of the existing inter partes abandonment and nonuse 
grounds for cancellation before the TTAB (``Streamlined 
Proceedings'').\1\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ If this Streamlined Proceedings proposal is implemented, the 
USPTO will have a better sense of whether the proceedings are 
effective for their intended purpose and can then evaluate whether 
proposals necessitating statutory amendment also would be useful.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Streamlined Proceedings

    Under existing law, cancellation of a registration for nonuse 
requires a showing of either: (1) Abandonment as to some or all of the 
goods/services (nonuse plus intention not to resume use); or (2) no use 
for some or all of the goods/services in a Section 1-based registration 
prior to the relevant operative date (i.e., filing date, date of 
amendment to allege use, or date of statement of use). The USPTO is 
considering offering a streamlined TTAB cancellation proceeding limited 
to the assertion of one or both of these claims. No other possible 
grounds for cancellation would be included in the Streamlined 
Proceedings.
    The introduction of this flexibility in the relevant rules would 
include specific procedures and timing to facilitate speed and 
efficiency, including that the evidence must be submitted with the 
pleadings, very limited discovery only when granted by the TTAB for 
good cause shown, an abbreviated schedule, no oral hearing, and 
issuance of the TTAB's decision within an expedited timeframe. These 
proceedings would provide a significantly streamlined process because 
pleading, presentation of evidence, and limited briefing would occur 
simultaneously. The fee for a petition to cancel in a Streamlined 
Proceeding would be lower than for a petition in a full proceeding--
with possible fees totaling $300 per class when filing through the 
Electronic System for Trademark Trials and Appeals (ESTTA), or $400 per 
class when filing on paper.
    A petition to cancel in a Streamlined Proceeding would be required 
to set forth facts to establish the petitioner's standing and set forth 
with particularity the factual basis for the ground(s) asserted as the 
basis for cancellation. While the Streamlined Proceedings would be 
limited to assertion of two possible grounds, there may be cases in 
which the petitioner would assert both; and in that scenario, each 
ground would have to be stated with particularity. Additionally, the 
petition would be required to be supported by the proof upon which the 
petitioner relies to establish both standing and the claim of 
abandonment and/or nonuse. As proof for the claim, for example, a 
petitioner might provide a declaration outlining a search for use of 
the mark and the results, or other evidence of abandonment or nonuse.
    The respondent's answer would be required within 40 days. In 
addition to the requirement that the respondent admit or deny the 
averments in the petition and, if applicable, state the defenses of 
either estoppel or prior judgments, the answer would be required to 
also include proof of use or other evidence on which the respondent 
seeks to rely to counter the abandonment or nonuse grounds for the 
goods or services as to which the grounds have been alleged, or to 
support any pleaded defenses.
    After reviewing the answer and proof, within 40 days the petitioner 
may elect to:
    (1) Reply, providing any rebuttal evidence, thereby submitting the 
Streamlined Proceeding for decision by the TTAB (typically within 90 
days);
    (2) Withdraw the petition for cancellation without prejudicing the 
right to file another cancellation proceeding on grounds other than the 
grounds raised in the Streamlined Proceeding; or
    (3) File a notice of conversion to a full cancellation proceeding, 
along with the appropriate fee and any proposed amendment of the 
petition to cancel, including adding other grounds for cancellation. 
Upon any such conversion to a full proceeding, the TTAB would designate 
a time within which an amended answer must be filed, and issue a trial 
order setting deadlines and dates to allow for disclosures, discovery, 
trial and briefing. The cancellation proceeding then would continue 
pursuant to the usual practices and rules for non-streamlined 
proceedings. Notably, the respondent would not have the option of 
converting to a full TTAB proceeding.\2\ However, both parties would 
retain the right to judicial review of TTAB decisions in Streamlined 
Proceedings, under 15 U.S.C. 1071.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \2\ Given that the respondent, rather than the petitioner, 
generally has the relevant information about use, the respondent 
would seem to have no legitimate need for a full proceeding. 
Although the USPTO considered some stakeholder suggestions that the 
respondent also have the conversion option, the USPTO concluded that 
such a mechanism would undercut the speed and efficiency for a 
petitioner and result in the streamlined proceedings lacking any 
real benefit over existing cancellation procedures.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    At the time of the answer, the respondent may, by separate motion, 
request limited discovery solely on the issue of standing, based on a 
showing of good cause. Upon the grant of such a motion, the TTAB would 
issue an order setting the deadline for discovery and deadlines by 
which the respondent may submit a motion to challenge standing and by 
which the petitioner may respond to such a motion, if filed. The TTAB 
would grant such a motion only when it appears that discovery could 
provide outcome determinative information with respect to standing. 
Such a motion would not stay or otherwise extend deadlines. Regardless 
of the request for discovery or any challenge to standing, the 
respondent must nonetheless still timely answer the petition and 
provide its proof, and the petitioner must provide any reply brief or 
conversion request.
    Counterclaims would not be permitted in Streamlined Proceedings. To 
the extent that a respondent believes that it has the basis for a 
counterclaim, it would have to bring the claim in a separate 
proceeding. As a general rule, suspensions would be rare and would 
typically be available only when there is concurrent district court 
litigation involving the same mark(s) and issue(s).
    The Streamlined Proceedings could offer a substantially quicker 
schedule than a full cancellation proceeding. In the case of a default 
judgment where the respondent does not respond to the petition, the 
entire proceeding could conclude within approximately 70 days. In a 
case where a respondent elects to respond, the entire proceeding could 
conclude within approximately 170 days in most cases. Extensions of 
time for the answer or reply would be limited to one per party.

Request for Public Comments

    The USPTO is requesting written public comments on the Streamlined 
Proceedings, as outlined above, or other options for a streamlined 
version of the existing inter partes abandonment and nonuse grounds for 
cancellation before

[[Page 22519]]

the TTAB. The Office also invites any other input the public wishes to 
convey about the topics addressed in this Request for Comments.

    Dated: May 10, 2017.
Michelle K. Lee,
Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of 
the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
[FR Doc. 2017-09856 Filed 5-15-17; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE P