INTA Advocates for the Power of Trademarks on Capitol Hill and Beyond

Published: September 15, 2019

INTA’s Washington, D.C., office has been focused on advocacy this summer, representing INTA in Congress and government agencies. Here, INTA presents an update on recent events and policy developments affecting the INTA community.

“Power of Trademarks” Exhibit Attracts Attention

INTA is pleased that the Power of Trademarks exhibit, which opened in June at the National Inventor’s Hall of Fame Museum in the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), has already attracted a steady stream of visitors of all ages throughout the summer. The exhibit, sponsored by INTA, is designed to teach visitors about the role and importance of trademarks and help them recognize authentic consumer products vs. counterfeit goods.

USPTO Issues Final Rules to Improve Accuracy of Trademark Application Process

On July 2, the USPTO issued final rules on “Requirement of U.S. Licensed Attorney for Foreign Trademark Applicants and Registrants.” The rules, which became effective on August 3, mandate that all foreign-domiciled trademark applicants and registrants, including those who are parties to the Trademark Trial and Appeal Boardproceedings be represented by an attorney who is currently licensed to practice law in the United States.

An applicant, registrant, or party is considered “foreign-domiciled” if the individual has a permanent legal residence outside of the United States or is an entity with its principal place of business outside the United States or the U.S. territories. This rule extends to most trademark application and registration processes. The USPTO explains that this rule change was created to help maintain the accuracy and integrity of the trademark registry and to improve accountability.

Canadian trademark attorneys who are recognized by the Office of Enrollment Discipline will be recognized under this rule as an additionally appointed practitioner for their Canadian clients, but under this new rule, these clients must also appoint a U.S.-licensed attorney to file all USPTO documents.

On July 31, 2019, the USPTO issued final rules on “Changes to the Trademark Rules of Practice to Mandate Electronic Filing,” which will come into effect on October 5, 2019. These changes focus on enhancing processes for electronic filing of trademark applications and throughout the application processes by requiring the designation of an email address for USPTO correspondence.

Of specific note in this rule is a new requirement that webpages that are submitted as a specimen must show the specific URL and the access or print date. See revised 37 C.F.R. § 2.56(c). This rule also requires certain specimens, namely, labels or tags, to be shown as affixed to the goods.

These rules are designed to help increase effectiveness throughout the trademark application process by using enhanced electronic processes to help ensure accuracy and improve accountability.

USPTO Intellectual Property Attachés Program and New IP Attachés Take Posts

Throughout the world, the USPTO’s intellectual property (IP) attachés work with stakeholders to protect and improve IP rights internationally. The IP attachés regularly liaise with INTA staff globally and INTA members to advocate for IP laws, regulations, and policies to help support stakeholders, including businesses and consumers. As part of their work, IP attachés meet with foreign government leaders and the stakeholder community, provide training on IP enforcement, and develop public awareness programs. Notably, the IP attachés help stakeholders in their region navigate local laws and processes, including IP enforcement and how their regional courts function.

The USPTO has announced the following new IP attachés and their posts:

  • Conrad Wong: IP Attaché for China, who will be based in Guangzhou.
  • Cindy Henderson: IP Attaché for Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean, who will be based in Mexico City.
  • Dorian Mazurkevich: IP Attaché for Central Eurasia, who will be based in Kiev, Ukraine.

INTA looks forward to continued collaboration and coordination with USPTO IP attachés around the world.

Meet INTA’s New Director of Government Relations, Jennifer McDowell

The Association recently announced the appointment of Jennifer M. McDowell as Director, Government Relations in its Washington, D.C. office. In a recent interview with Authority Magazine, Ms. McDowell shares some insight into her career path and role at INTA, her inspirations and views on success, and much more. Enjoy the read!

INTA’s Washington, D.C., Representative Office represents the Association’s 2,381 members in North America. Working in collaboration with staff at INTA’s headquarters in New York City, the Washington, D.C, Representative Office leads the Association’s policy initiatives in Canada and the United States. To learn more about INTA’s activities in the region, please contact INTA Director of Government Relations Jennifer McDowell at [email protected].

Although every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of items in the INTA Bulletin, readers are urged to check independently on matters of specific concern or interest.

© 2019 International Trademark Association