INTA Joins 75th Anniversary Celebration of Lanham Act

Published: September 8, 2021

As the Lanham Act celebrates its 75th anniversary this year, INTA gathered recently with members of the U.S. Congress and leaders from the private and the public sector to mark the milestone and laud the federal trademark law’s ongoing contributions to brands and the economy.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) hosted the virtual event on July 27 to honor the late Fritz Lanham, the U.S. Representative from the state of Texas who was the primary sponsor of the legislation.

The virtual event included a screening of 75 Years of the Lanham Act, a documentary film created by the National Inventors Hall of Fame in cooperation with the USPTO and the State Bar of Texas.

Kicking off the event, USPTO Commissioner for Trademarks David Gooder explained the important role the Lanham Act plays in protecting U.S. businesses and consumers. He expressed his gratitude to Mr. Lanham who, “ahead of his time,” anticipated the need for a national trademark ecosystem.

Mr. Gooder reported that the USPTO has issued almost 6.3 million trademark registrations since the Lanham Act became law. Currently, there are 2.8 million active trademark registrations.

Similarly, Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) Chief Administrative Trademark Judge Gerard Rogers observed that the increasing number of trial and appeal proceedings processed by the TTAB are a testament to the success of the legislation.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo expressed her gratitude to the USPTO’s trademark examining attorneys, judges, and staff for their work, especially given the growth in trademark applications from U.S. filers during this fiscal year.

Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Senator Chris Coons (D-Delaware), co-chairs of the Congressional Trademark Caucus, praised the Lanham Act for helping to safeguard consumers from counterfeit products.

Significantly, they, as well as other representatives, introduced a Senate resolution designating July as National Anti-Counterfeiting Consumer Education and Awareness Month. The resolution also recognizes the 75th anniversary of the signing of the Lanham Act.

INTA’s Director of Government Relations, Jenny McDowell, emphasized the importance of trademarks, and of the Lanham Act, for INTA members and society at large. Referring specifically to the ongoing proliferation of counterfeit goods, she noted the Association’s ongoing commitment to building awareness, developing best practices, and working with both brand owners and enforcement authorities to combat the dangers of counterfeits.

In his remarks, USPTO Commissioner for Patents Andrew Hirshfeld highlighted the many reasons to celebrate the success of the U.S. trademark system and noted how brand owners’ stories of perseverance and promise are a testimony to that success.

From the private sector, representatives of several iconic brands shared anecdotes about the value of trademarks and how the Lanham Act has been instrumental in each company’s success.

Monique Cheng Joe, senior vice president and head of brands and content intellectual property (IP) at NBCUniversal Media LLC, emphasized that trademark law is central to the reinvention over the years of the company’s recognizable peacock logo and to NBC’s continuous creation and innovation process. “Branding and IP have always been integral to NBC, and trademark protection is key to ensure that our brand resonates with consumers,” she concluded.

Michael Moore, assistant general counsel, senior director, trademarks and copyrights at Mattel Inc., said the Lanham Act has been fundamental to the growth of the “IP-driven, high-performing toy company,” from a small company to a leader in the toy industry, and to the protection of consumers from dangerous counterfeits. He mentioned the recent Mattel’s 75th anniversary celebration and observed how “the history and success of Mattel and the Lanham Act run in parallel.”

In addition, Adraea Brown, assistant general counsel-trademarks at H-D U.S.A., LLC, shared the Harley-Davidson brand’s story and its evolution “from a motorcycle brand to a lifestyle brand.” She offered examples of how the Lanham Act has contributed to the brand’s value and prestige.

Rep. Ted Deutch, (D-Florida), co-chair of the Congressional Trademark Caucus, noted how the U.S. economy has benefited from the Lanham Act, legislation that has stood the test of time and “has allowed U.S. innovative endeavors to truly flourish.”

Coke Morgan Stewart, senior counsel to the undersecretary of commerce for IP and director of the USPTO, noted that the brands’ anecdotes represent a powerful example of the importance of IP to the economy and society.

On behalf of the USPTO, she concluded the event by committing to continue to improve the efficiency of the U.S trademark system, as founded by the Lanham Act.

INTA’s Washington, D.C., Representative Office advocates the Association’s policy positions 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.

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

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