Yesterday the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office announced a new pilot program to help fight fraudulent trademark applications. Specifically, the new program addresses situations where the applicant provided the USPTO with a fraudulent specimen to demonstrate use of the trademark.

Only a narrow subset of fraudulent applications would be vulnerable to a claim under this

Here’s one piece of advice you’ll hear from just about any trademark attorney: apply to federally register your marks as soon as financially possible. It is a very important step to take in order to protect your brand. A federal registration provides nationwide rights over any third-party that begins use of a confusingly similar mark

Once upon a time, and for decades thereafter, trademark fraud claims were highly disfavored. They were criticized as unproductive litigation diversions — “often pled,” but “rarely proven.”

To succeed — during that lengthy period of time — the alleged fraud had to be “proven to the hilt,” with “clear and convincing evidence,” leaving nothing to

Trademark types frequently encounter brand owners and managers with substantial misunderstanding and confusion about when use of the federal registration notice symbol is lawful. Most of the time a misuse or technical violation results from an honest mistake, but sometimes the misuse is, and starts out intentional, or perhaps the misuse begins to look intentional if it isn’t promptly

Aaron Keller was busy yesterday making weighty predictions about the basis for our next economy: The Designed Economy.

As I prepare to provide attendees at the Midwest IP Institute tomorrow with a trademark fraud update — today, I thought I’d provide a preview — and even go out on a small limb — making a couple of predictions of my own, relating to the far more scintillating topic of trademark fraud before the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

As you may recall last year, I wrote about the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit’s (CAFC) groundbreaking decision In re Bose, here, here, here, and here, in which the CAFC rejected the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board’s (TTAB) less stringent "knew or should have known" negligence standard of fraud, instead coming down in favor of a much more stringent — and difficult to prove standard — subjective intent to deceive the USPTO.

Over the last year, much attention has been given to the fact that the CAFC left open and chose not to decide, in In re Bose, the question of whether a "reckless disregard for the truth" may suffice in proving the necessary subjective intent to deceive. Many argue that "reckless disregard" should suffice in proving fraud for the sake of the integrity of the U.S. trademark system, to ensure that trademark owners and their counsel are kept honest and/or don’t become lazy or complacent about the solemnity of the oath in their trademark filings.

Reading the tea leaves, I’m predicting that the TTAB will not wait for the CAFC to decide the issue and the TTAB will rule that "reckless disregard" constitutes a sufficient level of culpability to infer a specific intent to deceive. If so, what does that mean? What kind of trademark conduct might satisfy a "reckless disregard" standard?


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We thought we had arrived when DuetsBlog made a listing of the Top 100 Branding Blogs, and it also was kind of nice when the DuetsBlog mark became federally registered, but now it appears we have reached yet another level of notoriety, appreciation, and respect altogether, as DuetsBlog is now receiving the most thoughtful of email solicitations all the

A recent domain name decision under ICANN’s Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Policy (UDRP Policy), captioned Bin Shabib & Associates (BSA) LLP v. Hebei IT Shanghai ltd c/o Domain Administrator, found reverse domain name hijacking, under some rather interesting, if not questionable circumstances. The Rules that govern the UDRP Policy define Reverse Domain Name HiJacking

–Dan Kelly, Attorney

A bomb exploded in the domain name aftermarket world on Wednesday.  A well-known domain name auction house called SnapNames.com announced that one of its (now former) employees had been bidding as a shill in many online domain name auctions run by the company since 2005.  SnapNames has an FAQ page on the matter here.

It is not difficult to decry the many abuses that have gone on in the domaining industry:  cybersquatting, typosquatting, domain name tasting, domain name kiting, pay-per-click fraud, and now shill bidding (to name a few).  As these abuses tend to make for the juciest news, it is not surprising that some (including trademark attorneys) accuse the whole domain name business (or “industry”) of being dirty.  But law, being a generally slow, blunt instrument, has so far caught up with only the first two of the abuses listed above.  What is less widely reported is that, for all of its wild-westness, the DN business has policed itself (e.g. cybersquattingdomain tasting) without resort to government intervention.  This is as it should be.

Even so, self-policing is also slow to catch up to opportunists, so caveat emptor is the rule of the day in domain name transactions, especially when bidding at an auction, especially an online auction.  I recommend reading any auction site’s rules, terms and conditions carefully before engaging in a transaction.  Some of these sites will readily represent both buyer and seller, which is a situation well-known to lawyers and real estate agents as a “conflict of interest.”  Caveat emptor, indeed.


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