Maria Luisa Palmese joins Wuersch & Gering LLP

I am very pleased to welcome Maria Luisa Palmese to Wuersch & Gering.  Maria brings with her many years of experience as a patent lawyer and patent litigator, assuring that Wuersch & Gering will be able to serve all facets of our clients’ intellectual property needs.  Read more here.

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Drone Registration Regulations published

On Monday, December 14, 2015, the Department of Transportation (DOT) published its anticipated new regulations regarding the registration of drones (“Small Unmanned Aerial Systems,” which are defined as drones weighing up to 55 lbs., including any payload).  More here.

Canada is about to become Nice-er: Canadian Intellectual Property Office to Accept Trademark Applications using the Nice Classification Starting this Fall

Canadian’s have always been considered a polite people. They are about to become even “Nice-er” according to my friend and colleague Lorraine Fleck.

IP Address Blog

The Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) recently announced that starting Fall 2015, it will accept trademark applications with goods and services grouped and classed according to the Nice Classification. The implementation of the Nice Classification is in advance of Canada changing its trademark system as it joins the Madrid Protocol and Singapore Treaty.

Future blog postings will address how the changes to Canada’s trademark system will affect Canadian and foreign brand owners.

If you have any questions regarding the upcoming changes to Canada’s trademark system, please contact us.

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Nevada Senate Bill 444 – now with extra sleaze

Not really a trademark matter, but of great concern to all fans of freedom of speech.

The Legal Satyricon

Well, I knew that politics was a dirty game — but I didn’t realize just how unethical some Senators would be in licking their masters’ boots.

You might recall that Senate Bill 444 sought to repeal Nevada’s Anti-SLAPP law. A scummy Senator put the bill up, at the behest of a scummy lawyer. They did it in the dark of the night, hoping nobody would notice.

It got through the Senate, but when it got to the Assembly, the people’s voice was heard. The bill was dead.

Then, Wynn Resorts’ lobbyist proposed a compromise. The compromise was reasonable. We might not have liked it, but there was no reason not to agree to the compromise.

But it was not a compromise.

It was a lie.

It was intended to mollify the opponents of Senate Bill 444 so that we would back off, shut up, and stop looking.

And then…

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USPTO publishes Notice of Inquiry Regarding Filing Fee Adjustments

On August 16, 2012, the USPTO published a Notice of Inquiry Regarding Adjustment of Fees for Trademark Applications in the Federal Register.   As part of the USPTO’s continuing effort to move trademark filing processes to electronic filing, which is considered a cost reduction move (the processing of paper applications is associated with substantially higher costs), the Office is requesting comments regarding the possibility of raising the fee for paper applications and lowering the fees for TEAS-Plus applications.

For my non-US readers, TEAS and TEAS-Plus are the two options available to electronic filers.  Under TEAS, the applicant agrees to file electronically and to further prosecute the application electronically, via email communication only.  TEAS-Plus requires the additional commitment by the filer to select all goods and services from the pre-approved entries in the USPTO’s Acceptable Identification of Goods and Services Manual, which is commonly referred to as the ID-Manual.

My first reaction when I heard about this was to ask who might still be filing applications on paper.  I suppose there are some practitioners who are stuck in the Stone Age and don’t know how to turn on a computer.  That’s too bad, really, because electronic filing, whether you use TEAS or TEAS-Plus, has so many advantages that practitioners are really doing their clients, and themselves, a huge disservice by not availing of TEAS and TEAS-Plus.

I do I have criticisms of the electronic application process, such as my consistent inability to take advantage of the lower fees under TEAS-Plus, the result mostly of representing clients from other countries where the description of goods and/or services simply won’t fit into ID-Manual, but that is actually not a huge problem, most of the time.  To be quite honest, trying to shoehorn a description translated from German into something that can be found on the ID-Manual is usually simply not worth the time and effort.

So should there be more of an incentive to use electronic filing?  I would answer that question with a resounding YES!  The current fee structure, as the Notice of Inquiry helpfully tells us, is as follows:

Paper Application: $375 per class
TEAS Application: $325 per class
TEAS-Plus App.: $275 per class

Interestingly, the Notice of Inquiry does not suggest that the USPTO is looking at reducing the fee for TEAS applications.  I think that is a mistake, mostly because (I suspect without any actual evidence) that most applications are filed using TEAS and not TEAS-Plus.  If you really want to incentivize electronic filing, you have to make it easy for paper filers to move to electronic filing.  Practitioners who currently file on paper will be much happier and more comfortable, I would imagine, if they could move to the less stringent requirements of TEAS, rather than having to comply with the TEAS-Plus requirements of having to use the ID-Manual.

My view: double the fee for paper filing and reduce the TEAS fees to $275 and the TEAS-Plus fee to $250.  I don’t think the USPTO will agree with lowering the TEAS fee, but maybe they will agree that making paper filings prohobitively expensive will have the desired effect.

Being a user fee funded agency, the USPTO needs to make sure that fees will generate sufficient income to fund its operations.  Like most of my colleagues, I want the agency to continue to be fully funded through user fees, rather than depending on Congress to benevolently grant it funding, but maybe the doubling of the paper filing fee would have the necessary effect of bringing my less than computer-savvy colleagues into the 21st Century, even if we don’t get to enjoy a lowering of the TEAS fee.