As has been discussed in prior postings, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board’s rules for U.S. Trademark Opposition and U.S. Trademark Cancellation proceedings are contained in the Trademark Board Manual of Procedure (“TBMP”) an over 1,000 page “how-to” guide of handling inter-partes matters before the Board.
The purpose of the TBMP is to provide trademark attorneys with basic information generally useful for litigating cases before the Trademark Office. The second edition of the TBMP last was revised in 2004. The current third edition was revised and published by the Trademark Office in May 2011. The Third Edition highlights several new development practices, including the following changes designed to make the trademark opposition and trademark cancellation process be easier on litigants and to encourage early settlement:
- Mandatory discovery conferences to discuss settlement and claims and defenses
- Disclosures of initial witnesses, experts, and other pretrial matters
- Emphasis on Accelerated Case Resolution (ACR”); and
- Efficiencies such as a shift from paper to electronic filings
The manual is devoted primarily to opposition and cancellation proceedings, since they are the two most common types of cases before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. It also includes additional information on interference proceedings, concurrent use proceedings, and ex parte appeals to the Board. The third edition also incorporates all statutory changes, including changes to the Trademark Rules of Practice and Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. In keeping with the Trademark Board’s emphasis on and innovations in electronic initiatives, the new third edition is available online on the USPTO website in a searchable format.
The Board welcomes suggestions for improving the content of the Manual and making its understanding and application helpful to all U.S. trademark lawyers.