Purvi Patel Albers in World IP Review: ‘Record TM Filings at the USPTO – but do They Conceal a Darker Picture?’

11/03/2020

World IP Review quoted Haynes and Boone, LLP Partner Purvi Patel Albers about how unprecedented growth in trademark applications is seen as a positive sign of economic recovery amid the pandemic, but it may also raise questions around the future legitimacy of U.S. trademarks and brands.

Below is an excerpt:

Amid the turmoil wrought by the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has been experiencing another unexpected upheaval — an unparalleled growth in the number of trademark applications.

According to IP data firm Clarivate, trademark filing activity at the USPTO has been growing by 10% per month since April. In a speech at the Intellectual Property Owners Association’s 2020 Virtual Annual Meeting last month, USPTO director Andrei Iancu revealed that August was the office’s biggest filing month yet, with 76,400 classes.

The febrile political and social situation in the US this year is one explanation for the surge.

“The pandemic, quarantine, social justice concerns, racial inequities, elections—everything that has occurred in 2020—have resulted in an uptick of filings incorporating ‘COVID-19’, ‘Black Lives Matter’, ‘social distancing’, ‘2020’, ‘vote’, and other keywords emblematic of these times,” says Purvi Patel Albers, partner at Haynes and Boone.

This trend could forecast unprecedented challenges to the traditional role and perception of brands and trademarks. … For more than 100 years, it has been considered good practice for brand owners to create a memorable, easy-to-pronounce name, but online commerce is challenging this norm.

To read the full article, click here.

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