Why trademark filings may be on the rise at the USPTO


Why trademark filings may be on the rise at the USPTO

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While the number of patent applications at the USPTO has slowed considerably since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, trademark filings appear to be on a record-breaking track. Shanti Sadtler Conway and Aaron Schroeder of Kirkland & Ellis report.

A curious thing is happening at the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). In October, at a Trademark Public Advisory Committee quarterly meeting, the USPTO’s deputy director Laura Peter revealed that July, August, and September were “the three highest filing months on record”.

September became the USPTO’s “biggest filing month in history, with 92,600 classes filed”. Conversely, patent applications have slumped since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, with a 2% decrease in the number of utility, plant, and reissue patent filings compared to last year.

Is this a real increase in trademark filings? The USPTO measures the volume of trademark filings not by the number of marks or applications, but rather by the number of classes. This makes sense as it relates to the USPTO’s revenue—filing fees are per class. This also means that the spike in classes filed may not reflect an increase in the number of applications, but rather that applicants are filing in more classes.

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