COVID-19 has not significantly impacted TTAB filings in fiscal year (FY) 2020.   It has, however, negatively impacted some performance goals. That is the conclusion of the FY 2020 report posted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.  Our previous article on TTAB activities during COVID may be found here.

A.  FY 2020- TTAB filings:  (trademark oppositions and trademark cancellations)

2020 fiscal year filing information is reflected below.  The percentage change from  fiscal year 2019 is reflected in parentheses.

  1.  Extensions of time to oppose:  18,983  ( -7.8%)
  2.  Trademark oppositions:  6,712  ( -3.5%)
  3.  Trademark cancellations: 2,501 (+ 3.1%)
  4.  Appeals:  3,487 (+4.6%)

B.  FY 2020 -TTAB operations

FY 2020 TTAB operational statistics are shown below as compared to FY 2019 (in parentheses):

  1.   Cases ready for decision:  681  (-8.5%)
  2.   Cases decided: : 729 (+ 12.%)
  3.   Average pendency of trials: 17.7 weeks (+15.7%)
  4.   Cases awaiting decision: 126 (-38.8%)
  5.   Number of decision issued: 1072 (+7%)
  6.   Number of motions resolved by issued decision: 1337 (+8.6%)
  7.   Average pendency of contested motions:  12.4 weeks (+7.8%)

Conclusion:   Based on FY 2020 statistics,  COVID-19 has not had a significant impact on filing activities.  In fact, trademark cancellation filings have increased 3.1% for the year.  Trademark opposition filings are down, but only 3.1%.  This reflects almost the same percentage as the increase in cancellations year over year.  Not surprising is the increase in the average pendency of trials.  This TTAB performance metric now stands at 17.7 weeks.   Delays are never a good thing; it represents a 15.7% increase over last year.   Same holds true with respect to average pendency of contested motions.  This is now up to 12.4 weeks; a 7.8% increase. What seems to be a wildcard is the number of cases awaiting a decision.  This is down 38.8% which is a major decrease.

Publisher’s comment:  Could it be that COVID-19 delays have created a bottleneck in pending cases and TTAB performance goals?   More importantly, will the bottleneck get worse over the coming three to six months?  Time will tell.