Changes To Implement Provisions of the Trademark Modernization Act of 2020
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO or Office) proposes to amend the rules of practice in trademark cases to implement provisions of the Trademark Modernization Act of 2020. The proposed rule establishes ex parte expungement and reexamination proceedings for 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 Trademark Trial and Appeal Board; establishes flexible Office action response periods; and amends the existing letter-of-protest rule to indicate that letter-of-protest determinations are final and non-reviewable. The USPTO also proposes to set fees for petitions requesting institution of ex parte expungement and reexamination proceedings, and for requests to extend Office action response deadlines. Amendments are also proposed for the rules concerning the suspension of USPTO proceedings and the rules governing attorney recognition in trademark matters. Finally, a new rule is proposed to address procedures regarding court orders cancelling or affecting registrations.