Trademark opposition filings increased in 2016, according to a recent report released by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. A summary of comparative 2015 findings can be found in our publication here.
Highlights of the report include the following performance statistics for 2016 U.S. Trademark Trial and Appeal Board activities:
- Trademark 0pposition filings totaled 5,881 compared to 5,290 in 2015
- Trademark cancellation filings totaled 1,848 compared to 1,763 in 2015
- Trademark appeals filings totaled 3,121 compared to 2,992 in 2015
For the same period, the TTAB issued 35 precedential decisions, which was within its target range of 35-40 per year. The average pendency of precedential decisions was 32.5 weeks for final decisions, compared to 48.1 weeks for the previous annual time frame. The average time of interlocutory orders was also reduced, going from 45 weeks in 2015 to only 25 weeks in 2016. The length of inter partes cases, however, has not changed substantially, with the average of decided trademark opposition and trademark cancellation cases being 154.3 weeks from commencement to conclusion in 2016, compared to 161.2 weeks in 2015.
Trademark opposition considerations. When contemplating commencing a trademark opposition, it is best to keep in mind the following:
- Estimated duration. Most trademark opposition cases settle before the trial phase, which means that statistically, the probability that it will go all the way to judgment is unlikely. That being said, a company should be prepared for all contingencies. This means taking into account factors that could either exacerbate or shorten the litigation process.
- Early case assessment. An early case assessment and plan of action is an integral part of a proactive trademark opposition litigation strategy.
- Accelerated case resolution. The U.S. Trademark Trial and Appeal Board has an accelerated case resolution (ACR) program that when used properly, can shorten the duration of a proceeding. Details will be discussed in later posts.
To learn more about U.S. trademark oppositions or to discuss your company’s case, contact James Hastings at Collen.