In the beginning of May, the United States Patent and Trademark Office quietly released information regarding its plan to increase some trademark fees.
World Trademark Review spoke to Eric Perrott about the proposed fee changes and what they might mean for trademark applicants and owners.
Some of the proposed fee changes are thought to be a way to speed up trademark application reviews and the associated financial burden the backlog puts on the USPTO.
One such fee will be incurred on a trademark applications with lengthy goods and services identification. While Perrott believes the proposed fee isn’t the best way to discourage long trademark applications, it may be the only way to do so fairly easily.
However, the proposed fee change for a filing a letter of protest is a different story.
“250 for a letter of protest is absurd,” says Perrott. “It is a tool to help the examiners do their jobs more effectively and it was free until 2020-2021,” he recalls. “Then it was $50. Now $250? That essentially guts its effectiveness to the point where my clients are unlikely to utilise it.”
Perrott is also wonders if the proposed fees will properly address the root cause of the trademark application backlog.
“The background of this has been the influx of fraudulent applications from China that has taken up a disproportionate amount of the USPTO’s resources over the past five years,” he says. “The problem is that instead of dealing with it at an examination level, the USPTO keeps implementing policies that affect legitimate brand owners making it more expensive and time-consuming for them.”
Source: Newstead, Louise. WorldTrademarkReview.com. “USPTO’s proposed trademark fee changes are “arbitrary” and “unfair”, practitioners argue”. 11 May 2023.