If you are a business owner who will soon need to appear before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB), you should have proper legal representation from day one. There are multiple reasons you may need to appear before the TTAB, such as to launch an appeal of a final office action or to defend an opposition to a proposed trademark registration.

The TTAB is like a court; however, it only reviews specific issues concerning trademark matters that pass through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). For example, the TTAB is authorized to assess whether someone can register a trademark or if they can keep a registered trademark when faced with an objection from another party. The TTAB cannot make assessments about alleged trademark infringement or order that monetary damages be paid out to aggrieved parties.

A Boca Raton Trademark Trial and Appeal Board lawyer could assist if you are facing any trademark matter involving this legal body. You need a trademark law attorney who possesses a wide-ranging background in appeals, oppositions, and cancellations, and can provide advocacy at every stage of the proceedings.

Common Types of Trademark Trial and Appeal Board Proceedings

Opposition proceedings are one of the most common reasons a business owner may need to contact a Boca Raton attorney to represent their interests before the TTAB. After someone files a trademark application, prior to the official registration of the trademark, the proposed registration is published in the USPTO’s weekly Trademark Official Gazette.

Following this publication, there is a 30-day window in which any person or company who believes the registration of the trademark would pose a threat to their business can oppose it. There are multiple reasons that a party might initiate opposition proceedings against a proposed trademark registration. For example, a party may have valid grounds to ask the TTAB to deny the applicant’s trademark registration when they assert the trademark is too generic and could be confused with their own, or that it indicates a false connection with another person or entity.

Even after a trademark is registered, interested parties can still raise claims against it. A claim to cancel a trademark that has already been registered is heard in a Cancellation proceeding. As is the case with opposition proceedings, there are multiple reasons a party might file a Petition to Cancel a trademark. When someone asserts the existing trademark would cause confusion with another trademark, plaintiffs typically have five years to bring these claims forward. For matters involving issues such as alleged fraud or a claim that the trademark is too generic, there is no time limit to launch a cancellation action.

How The TTAB Works

Either of these proceedings function similarly to a regular trial. Opposition and Cancellation actions involve strict filing deadlines, discovery periods (where both parties exchange information and evidence), interviews with witnesses and subject matter experts, and often, multiple hearings in a courtroom setting before trial. This means that any business owner who is filing or responding to either of these actions concerning trademark rights need to have competent legal representation. The outcome of an Opposition or Cancellation action will have a significant impact on the future of a business and brand.

Interference and Concurrent Use

A Boca Raton attorney could also represent someone in interference and concurrent use proceedings that go before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. Like Opposition and Cancellation proceedings, either interference or concurrent use proceedings can pose a real threat to a business owner’s trademark rights and the health of their brand.

A common reason someone might launch an interference action is if two parties apply to register similar or identical trademarks. Concurrent use proceedings usually involve situations where one party applies to register at trademark that is already registered by another trademark owner.

Filing a Trademark Appeal

When reviewing the proposed trademark, the USPTO may send applicants multiple office action letters requesting information or listing legal issues with the trademark application. There are stringent response deadlines that apply to any action letter sent by the USPTO. If an applicant misses the deadline to respond to an office action, fails to respond at all, or does not supply the necessary information in the office action, the application may be abandoned or rejected.

A final office action is a letter sent to the applicant that serves as a final notification of the legal issue or issues concerning the proposed trademark. Recipients have three months to respond to the final office action letter. If the applicant does not respond within this window, or their response does not satisfy the requirements of the USPTO’s letter, the federal agency may reject the application.

A lawyer can assist with responses to both final and non-final action letters from the USPTO to mitigate a possible rejection or abandonment of the application. When a business owner has their trademark registration rejected, they can have legal grounds to appeal this denial. This is another area where the services of an experienced Boca Raton attorney could be invaluable when interacting with the TTAB.

Contact a Boca Raton Trademark Trial and Appeal Board Attorney

It is vital that you have a skilled intellectual property lawyer  from The Lomnitzer Law Firm representing your interests before the TTAB. You must meet the proper deadlines for your case and submit all filings correctly with the required documentation.

Any case involving the TTAB will have a significant effect on the future of your brand. An attorney who regularly represents clients before the TTAB knows how much is at stake and what this case could mean for your business. Contact our office today to speak with Boca Raton Trademark Trial and Appeal Board lawyer about your case.