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US Trademark Alert - US Patent and Trademark Office Implements the 2020 Trademark Modernization Act

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office regulations implementing the Trademark Modernization Act of 2020 will go into effect beginning December 18, 2021.

The TMA adds two new procedures, ex parte expungement and reexamination proceedings, to "provide a faster, more efficient, and less expensive alternative to a contested inter partes cancellation proceeding at the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB)." In an expungement proceeding, "any party may request cancellation of some or all of the goods or services in a registration because the registrant never used the trademark in commerce with those goods or services." In a reexamination proceeding, "[a]ny party may request cancellation of some or all of the goods or services in a use-based registration on the basis that the trademark was not in use in commerce with those goods or services on or before a particular relevant date." Petitions for reexamination or expungement will be accepted beginning December 27, 2021.

The TMA also introduces changes to existing procedures, including by adding a new ground of expungement for TTAB cancellation proceedings, and by modifying the response period for reply to Office Actions during examination. The new, shortened three-month response period is extendible by a single three-month extension for a $125 government fee. The implementation of the shorter response period for office actions goes into effect December 1, 2022. Additionally, third-party submissions, or letters of protest, will be permitted during examination. These and other changes are outlined by the USPTO at the link below.

If you have questions or need to work with a trademark attorney, our team of experts in trademark protection and enforcement is available to help.

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