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Thursday May 07, 2015

TTAB Gathers Public Feedback on its Processes

Guest Blog by Chief Administrative Trademark Judge Gerard F. Rogers

In early 2015, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) held two public events, an Electronic System for Trademark Trials and Appeals (ESTTA) Users Forum and a Roundtable on Evolving TTAB Processes, in Alexandria, Virginia, which resulted in valuable comments and suggestions which TTAB will use to continue improving its public-facing IT systems and its appeal and trial processes.

The ESTTA Users Forum was held for the purpose of gaining stakeholder input on the capabilities of TTAB’s Electronic System for Trademark Trials and Appeals (ESSTA) e-filing system. Eighty individuals participated in the forum, either in person or via webinar. Representatives from such professional associations as the American Bar Association, 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. Feedback from the forum will be used to enhance ESTTA’s functionality in the near term, but also for planning 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 functionality and flexibility of the USPTO’s systems.

The Roundtable on Evolving TTAB Processes was held to discuss how procedural rules and related processes for proceedings have evolved since TTAB’s rulemaking in 2007. The discussion included input from representatives of varied professional associations and the general public, and focused on their experiences with TTAB processes, and what could be improved in future TTAB appeal and trial proceedings. The engaging discussion lasted over three hours and covered a broad spectrum of topics, including: TTAB’s handling of extensions of time to oppose; scheduled changes in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, and consideration of the appropriate extent of discovery for TTAB trial cases; the value of TTAB attorney participation in discovery conferences and possible means for attorneys to aid in phone conferences on other subjects, such as motions for summary judgment; streamlined procedures for making evidence of record in TTAB proceedings; and the obsolescence of  interference proceedings at the Board.

We would like to express our gratitude to stakeholders for their valuable insights and helpful suggestions. TTAB will continue to focus on improving its procedures and processes to make them more transparent and responsive to the needs of stakeholders. Visit the TTAB page of the USPTO website to learn more.


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