trademark symbol

The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board recently released filing statistics for fiscal year to date 2019.    These updated figures includes year-to-year changes in the filing of appeals, notices of oppositions, and petitions for cancellations.  It also provides useful information on the disposition of cases.

The below highlights are for the first two-quarters of 2019.  The percentage in parentheses signifies rate of change over FY 2018 unless otherwise noted.

I.  Filings

  • Appeals:  1,613 (no change)
  • Extensions of time to oppose: 9,345;  (-2.7%)
  • Oppositions: 3,231 (no change)
  • Cancellations: 1,164 (+3.3%)

II.  Trial Cases and Appeals pendency

  • # of cases decided  282  (-3.6%)
  • # of cases decided appeals/trials: 186/96
  • Average pendency of trials:  12.7 weeks  (+33.7%)
  • Awaiting decision at end of period:  213 (+63.8.%)

III.    Contested Motions

  • # of decisions issued: 510 (-5.7%)
  • Average pendency of motion: 11 weeks (+17%)
  • # of cases with motions awaiting decision at end of period:  194 weeks (+17.6%)
  • # of ACR Cases decided:  19 cases
  • Awaiting decision at end of period:  130 cases (+39.8%)

IV.    Processing time (commencement to completion- average total pendency)

  • Appeals: 39.8 weeks (+11.2%)
  • Trial cases:  142.8 weeks (+1.8%)
  • ACR trial cases”  131.4 weeks (+23.6%)
  • # of ACR cases decided:  14


These most recent TTAB statistics yield some interesting conclusions:

  1.   TTAB decisions are backlogged.   The processing time for most every contested motion, final decision, or case awaiting decision has gone up significantly.   As a result, parties continue to face brand risk management uncertainties.
  2.  There is an increase in trademark cancellations.     The increase in petition for cancellation filings is not surprising.  This is particularly true since the USPTO has sought to actively rid the Register of deadwood registrations.   It is also auditing trademark renewals and section 8 affidavit submissions.  This is to make sure that all of the goods in a registration remain in continuous use in commerce.
  3.  ACR is yielding mixed results.  The TTAB has made a commitment to several things that will help shorten the inter-partes cases lifecycle.  This included encouraging the parties to stipulate to Accelerated Case Resolution (ACR) procedures.  The problem?  Delays in ACR case decisions have increased 24% year-to-date over last year.