TTABlog: Unfriendly Shores? Recent Developments in U.S. Law May Trouble Foreign Trademark Owners

Foreign trademark owners who seek registration in the United States may be troubled by several recent developments in American trademark law. The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board’s current fraud jurisprudence holds an applicant or registrant strictly responsible for false statements made to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) regarding use of its mark on the goods and services involved, with very little room for error or innocence. Recent case law on the issue of an applicant’s bona fide intent to use a mark indicates that, if a challenge is raised in an inter partes proceeding before the TTAB, the mark owner will be expected to corroborate its assertion of such intent with documentation. And a recent federal appellate court ruling requires a foreign applicant or registrant to appear in the USA for testimony in an inter partes proceeding involving its mark.