22 July 2019TrademarksRory O'Neill

USPTO warns of ‘bad faith’ filings from China

The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has identified China as the source of an increasing number of bad faith trademark filings in the US.

USPTO commissioner for trademarks Mary Boney Dennison made the remarks at a US congress committee session last Thursday, July 18.

Speaking before the House subcommittee on courts, IP, and the internet committee on the judiciary, Dennison said the USPTO was “very concerned” by a recent spike in bad faith trademark filings.

“While some of the filings with inaccurate or possibly fraudulent claims of use of the mark are domestic, a significant and increasing number of these come from overseas, primarily from mainland China,” Dennison said.

The office was taking “aggressive” steps to combat the problem, she said.

Earlier this month, the office announced new rules that would require all foreign trademark applicants to be represented by a licensed US attorney.

Speaking last week, Dennison said that the measures would improve the accuracy of submissions to the USPTO.

She said the “dramatic rise” in filings from China, which is responsible for 11% of total USPTO applications, coincided with an increase in fraudulent filings that “threaten to undermine the reliability of the trademark register”.

Dennison told the committee the office was exploring additional measures to improve the accuracy of trademark filings.

The USPTO plans to amend the rule requiring parties to produce a specimen demonstrating evidence of use, she said.

The new criteria will include a requirement for webpages to show the URL and access or print date.

Dennison also revealed that the office was looking at introducing incentives for registrants to ensure that their registrations are kept up to date with respect to goods and services covered by the mark.

Measures could include abolishing fees to amend the goods and services of a trademark registration, while introducing a fee for goods and services deleted as a result of an audit.

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