Since November 30, 2021, we’ve anxiously been waiting for the Federal Circuit to decide the Chutter appeal and determine whether the TTAB was correct in lowering the standard for proving trademark fraud from the far more difficult specific intent to deceive the U.S. Trademark Office standard under Bose, to the much easier to prove reckless disregard for the truth standard of Chutter.
Today, the Federal Circuit issued its long anticipated decision, but in doing so, it did not decide the appropriate standard for trademark fraud question, or offer any guidance on that issue. Instead, it held “that Section 14 [of the Lanham Act] does not authorize the Board to cancel a registration based on a fraudulent Section 15 Declaration,” correcting almost fifty years of the TTAB believing otherwise.
More thoughts and perspectives to come on this important decision, but in the meantime, my Table Topic, scheduled for the INTA Annual Meeting in Atlanta, Georgia on Saturday May 18, 2024, entitled “Who SHOULD Sign Trademark Declarations Filed with the USPTO?” promises to be a vibrant discussion, given this gem from the Federal Circuit’s majority decision in Chutter:
“[W]e do not reach the issue of whether the Board erred in finding that Mr. Taylor committed fraud. Based on the statute, we reverse the Board’s cancellation of Great Concepts’ registration. We remand, however, so that the Board may consider whether to declare that Great Concepts’ mark does not enjoy incontestable status and to evaluate whether to impose other sanctions on Great Concepts or its attorney.”
Back with you soon here with more, and hope to see you there in Atlanta in May!