U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO)

Cannabis oil cartridgeFederal trademark protection continues to elude purveyors and entrepreneurs of the fast-growing marijuana industry. The United States Patent and Trademark Office recently refused registration of marks intended for use on marijuana paraphernalia and medical marijuana services, due to the “unlawful” status of these goods and services. It seems that as long as marijuana remains an illegal substance under federal law,  federal trademark registration will be up in smoke for the foreseeable future.

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Business man shout on the building rooftopThe U.S. Patent and Trademark Office recently published a notice of proposed changes to the rules of practice before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB), particularly to trademark application oppositions and registration cancellation proceedings. These proposed rule revisions, the first proposed by the PTO in the past decade, could have significant impact on practice before the TTAB.  Although this Blog is dedicated to local rules at the district court level, we nonetheless thought it appropriate to address the TTAB’s proposed rule changes and remind you of the opportunity to be heard on the subject.  Public comment on these proposed changes are due by June 3, 2016, so if you have thoughts or input on the proposed rule changes, do not delay.

The proposed amendments to TTAB practice are all the more significant as they come just a year after the Supreme Court’s B&B Hardware decision, providing that TTAB findings can have preclusive effect in later federal court litigation. The PTO suggests that its proposed amendments, the highlights of which are outlined below, are intended to provide more efficiency in TTAB proceedings and to harmonize the TTAB’s rules to current practice and technological advances over the past several years.

A full copy of the PTO’s proposed rules changes can be found here. Continue Reading TTAB Proposes Sweeping Changes to Practice Rules –Time To Be Heard