Trademark Office Proposes Rule Requiring Foreign Applicants to Hire a Lawyer

The United States Patent and Trademark Office in order to curtail fraudulent trademark registration application has proposed a rule that requires foreign applicants to hire a US-based attorney. Cut to every trademark attorney in the United States grinning with delight.

There has been and will always be a certain amount of trademark registration applications that are fraudulent. This means that the applicant doesn’t have rights (like you trying to register the trademark for the Batman logo in hopes of making a fortune in t-shirt sales) or people filing marks with no intention to use them (like you filing a mark for a logo you have no plans to use but want to lock up the rights to the design).  The USPTO has seen these problems over the years and thinks they have a solution to curtail a bunch of these registrations.

The proposed rule would require foreign-based trademark applicants, registrants, and even parties to proceedings before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board to hire a an attorney licensed to practice in the United States. Of course this is going to cause some brush back from foreign applicants who will not want to pay an attorney to help with the process. The formally stated goals of the USPTO are “to increase customer compliance with federal trademark law, to ensure the accuracy of submissions to the USPTO, to ensure the integrity of the U.S. trademark register”. Makes sense but me thinks that just as many inaccurate trademark filings are company from individuals in the United States.

I propose we make everyone hire a lawyer to do the proceedings for similar reasons….and I’m not just looking for more work…..but it doesn’t hurt.