23 May 2018

Choose Your Battles

“The most successful parties choose their battles wisely,” says The Honorable Gerard Rogers, Chief Administrative Trademark Judge at the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB), a body within the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Having served in various roles on the TTAB for more than 25 years, Judge Rogers is particularly well placed to track the developments and challenges facing it.

The TTAB handles ex parte appeals from parties whose trademark applications have been denied by the USPTO, and adversarial opposition and cancellation proceedings. In both areas, parties have been known to push their luck.

“Trials are sometimes pursued because the parties have issues outside the TTAB that they’re grappling with and, it appears to us, they think it will give them another leverage point to deal with their differences.”

Judge Rogers says he has seen cases where parties have not properly followed the TTAB’s Manual of Procedure, which provides nonbinding guidelines on handling cases at the TTAB. The Manual contains an abundance of information on all the statutory, regulatory, and decisional authority that is relevant to the TTAB.

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