Earlier this year we wrote about recent trends in trademark filings by China. Between 2013 in 2017 Chinese companies filed more as PTO said than 50,000 trademark applications With the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The increase in filings could be explained by growth in the Chinese economy and Chinese government subsidies, paying as much as $800 to register a trademark in the United States. This, of course, resulted in large numbers of fraudulent trademark applications, further clogging an already clogged system. Despite its claiming that most of the trademark filings are legitimate, the USPTO said that it would do something, including:

  • Piloting software capable of detecting altered photographs submitted as specimens of use;
  • Increasing the number of post-registration maintenance filing audits; and
  • Providing training to trademark examiners to identify and more closely scrutinize suspicious specimens.

This month, the USPTO has taken the boldest step yet in preventing fraudulent trademark filings.  As it stands now, anyone can file a trademark application; one doesn’t need to be an attorney or even a U.S. resident.  Beginning in August 2019, that practice will end for all foreign-domiciled trademark applicants, registrants, and parties.  From that date forward, all such parties must be represented by a licensed U.S. attorney.  This may prove to be a hardship for foreign-domiciled legitimate applicants but it will truly slow down the rate of filings while increasing their quality. 

If you are a foreign domiciled individual or entity, the lawyers at LWH would be pleased to assist you.

— Adam G. Garson, Esq.