TTAB Update: A Notice of New Rules

Written by: Britney Karim

The changing face of law practice will soon reflect amendments to the Trademark Rules of Practice, or more specifically, the rules put forth by the Trademark Trial and Appeals Board (TTAB). On April 4, 2016, the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) published the proposed new procedural rules in the Federal Register. [1] Accordingly, the proposed rules will go into effect on January 14, 2017, and will be applicable to cases pending on that date. [2] Further, the rules will affect all inter partes office actions filed with the USPTO, such as trademark oppositions, cancellations, concurrent use proceedings, and ex parte proceedings. [3] Continue Reading

The Battle for the Washington Redskins’ Trademark Rages On

Written by: Sonia Faizy

After nearly two decades, 9,000 billable hours later,[1] and approximately $3.5 million in pro bono legal services for the Native American petitioners,[2] the battle over the Washington Redskins’ trademark continues to rage on with no clear end in sight.On June 18, 2014, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) canceled the Washington Redskins’ six federal trademark registrations based on a trademark law provision in the Lanham Act[3] prohibiting marks with “immoral, deceptive, or scandalous matter” or “matter which may disparage…persons…or bring them into contempt or disrepute…”.[4] After the Trademark Trial and Appeals Board (TTAB) order against the Redskins on June 18, 2014, the team appealed the decision, claiming that the Lanham Act violated the team’s First Amendment rights, and that the opposing parties failed to meet their legal burden of proving that a sufficient percentage of Native Americans found the term offensive. On July 8, 2015, the trial court denied the Redskins’ Motion for Summary Judgment and affirmed the TTAB’s previous trademark cancellation order. Most recently, on October 3, 2016, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the Washington Redskins’ case before a ruling by a federal appeals court. Continue Reading