Remarks by Director Andrei Iancu at the 2018 National Trademark Expo

July 27, 2018

Remarks delivered at 2018 National Trademark Exposition

Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Andrei Iancu

July 27, 2018

Washington, D.C.

As prepared for delivery

 Thank you, Mary [Denison], and good afternoon everyone!

It’s wonderful to be here with all of you, and I’d like to thank the entire staff here at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History for hosting us during this two-day festival. We’re very pleased to collaborate with the Smithsonian on shining a spotlight on the importance of trademarks in the global marketplace.

Often considered the most valuable asset of a company, trademarks prevent confusion in the marketplace by helping consumers identify their trusted or preferred brands, thereby engendering goodwill and customer loyalty.

The USPTO creates and maintains the federal register of trademarks that provides notice of 2.3 million marks in use—and some of the world’s most famous brands are valued in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Needless to say, and as Mary mentioned in her remarks, trademarks play a significant role in the U.S. economy. 

The primary function of the Trademarks division at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is to examine and register trademarks, service marks, certification marks, and collective membership marks that meet the requirements of the Trademark Act.

Critical to that mission is educating the public about the importance and value of trademarks, and we work hard every day to do this.

Some of the ways we educate the general public and businesses owners about trademarks is through the creation of educational materials, as well as videos posted on YouTube and our website. We also participate in community events throughout the country, and provide training and instruction on trademark law. 

And, of course, events like this one are a big part of that effort because we can introduce thousands of people like you to the importance of trademarks and how to learn more. 

Today, we’re launching another public education initiative, this time on the subject of counterfeit goods. Counterfeits are goods that appear to be safe and legitimate, but unlawfully copy familiar brand names and are sold illegally.

According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, trade in counterfeit goods has increased by more than 80 percent in 5 years, increasing from $250 billion annually in 2008 to more than $461 billion in 2013. Additionally, the report determined that counterfeit products now represent more than 2.5 percent of all world trade. And while some people believe that counterfeiting is a “victimless” crime, it’s important to note that every day consumers are exposed to ineffective—and sometimes life-threatening—counterfeit products.

Recognizing how vitally important it is to educate the public about the harms of counterfeit goods, the USPTO is today launching a video contest to collect 30-60 second videos about counterfeits. The video contest is entitled “Consumers Combat Counterfeits,” and the winning videos will appear on the USPTO website and will be considered for use as public service announcements. 

In each of your tote bags, you’ll find a flyer with additional information, and you can learn more at www.uspto.gov/TMvideocontest.

So, thank you all again for being here.

I encourage you to stay and enjoy the other activities and presentations throughout the day, including that of our next speaker, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who—in addition to being a basketball legend, humanitarian and best-selling author—has been a tireless advocate for innovation and science, technology, engineering and math (“STEM”) education in underrepresented communities.

I’m very excited that Trademark Expo attendees will have an opportunity to hear from him,and not just because he and I are both UCLA Bruins!

With that, let me turn it back over to Commissioner Denison.