Fraudulent Chinese Trademarks, USPTO Backlog
The backlog generated at the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) due to questionable foreign filings in 2019, especially coming from China, has prompted the US House Judiciary Committee to consider passing new legislation to address the problem. Some measures include swift cancellation of registered marks where the mark owners do not prove they are using the marks, presumption of continued infringement and harm when courts grant injunctions, and reduction of the 6-month term to respond to the USPTO’s objections or refusals (office actions). The backlog slows down the registration process, is prejudicial and expensive for companies, attorneys, USPTO and commerce as a whole.
Part of the challenge that any legislation will need to address is the fact that the US Supreme Court has ruled that courts cannot presume irreparable harm in patent cases, a ruling that has been extended to #trademarks by some courts.
Scammers in China and other places use US and Canadian licensed attorneys’ signatures in trademark registration filings without permission. Although part of the issue was resolved recently after the #USPTO barred Canadian attorneys file trademarks applications, further action is needed to reduce fraudulent filings.