PatentTrademark

New USPTO Trademark Rules Seek to Streamline Filing and Crack Down on Fraud, But Could Increase Spam

New rules governing all trademark filings with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) went into effect two days ago, on February 15. Although the headline is a move to mandatory electronic filing for virtually all trademark applications, some of the rules have caused significant controversy within the trademark bar, especially a requirement that applicants provide a contact email address for the applicant, not just their counsel. The USPTO’s shift to mandatory electronic filing is relatively uncontroversial, since more than 99% of applications under Section 1 or Section 44 of the Trademark Act are already filed electronically. There are certain exceptions under the rule for foreign applicants under international agreements, and for non-traditional scent and flavor marks, where a physical specimen will still need to be mailed to the USPTO. But for all other applicants, electronic filing will now be mandatory unless the USPTO’s filing system – the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS) – goes down.

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