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Tuesday Apr 26, 2016

TTAB Gathers Feedback on Docketing System and Announces Updates to Filing System

Guest Blog by Chief Administrative Trademark Judge Gerard F. Rogers

In early March 2016, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) held a Users’ Forum in Alexandria, Va., which focused on the format and functionality of the TTAB’s publicly-accessible electronic case file and docket system, TTABVUE. The forum resulted in valuable public comments and suggestions which TTAB will use to continue improving its docketing system for ex parte appeals and inter partes trial matters. In addition, in 2015, the TTAB held a Users’ Forum on ESTTA, the electronic filing system used for TTAB cases, and is pleased to announce updates to the system.

The Users’ Forum this past March was held for the purpose of gaining public input on the “look and feel” of the TTABVUE system. Ninety individuals participated in the forum, either in person or via webinar. Representatives from such professional associations as the American Bar Association Intellectual Property Law Section, the American Intellectual Property Law Association, the International Trademark Association, and the Intellectual Property Owners Association, joined in the interactive discussion, along with numerous practitioners from around the country. Discussions during the forum focused on enhancing search capabilities, naming of documents to be filed, creating a display of deadlines established in each matter, and enabling bulk downloads of docketed documents.

As the sole public-facing interface for viewing filings made in TTAB cases, the look and feel of TTABVUE is important for users. We plan to use feedback from the forum to enhance TTABVUE’s format and usability in the near term, and also to support the future implementation of the USPTO’s end-to-end electronic processing of trademark matters, known as Trademarks Next Generation (TMNG), which will significantly increase the overall functionality and flexibility of the USPTO’s systems.

Last year, the TTAB also held a Users’ Forum for ESTTA, the electronic filing system used for TTAB cases. In response to public comments during that forum, the TTAB is pleased to announce an upgrade to ESTTA, which went into effect on April 23, 2016, and includes the following new features:

• Increased number of grounds listed on the ESTTA filing forms for Notices of Opposition and Petitions for Cancellation;
• An option to view an attachment once it has been uploaded and before it has been submitted through ESTTA;
• Additional tips regarding attachment size and format, as well as a pre-filing checklist, on the “Attachment screen” in ESTTA;
• A modified general filing form for inter partes matters to be used for motions not listed among the selections available;
• Automatic transmission of an ESTTA receipt, not only to the filer, but also to all parties whose email addresses are of record in the proceeding;
• A “Save” feature to allow users to circulate a form for review and editing before submission through ESTTA; and,
• The required declaration is now part of the ESTTA form for filing a motion to amend a registration.

The TTAB remains committed to increasing the efficiency of its processes and procedures. We are grateful to the public for the valuable insights and helpful suggestions you have provided on both TTABVUE and ESTTA, and will continue to focus on improving the format and functionality of TTABVUE for the benefit of users. Visit the TTAB page of the USPTO website to learn more about our latest updates.

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