Cassandra L. Wilkinson
The Big Five Unveil Trademark Status Icons
As you may know, at any time, you can check the status of any pending or registered trademark at the United State Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) at the Trademark Status and Document Retrieval (TSDR) tab, http://tsdr.uspto.gov/. You can find the status of a mark, assignment information, owner information, the goods and/or services covered by the trademark, and more.
Following up on a previous blog entry, the USPTO has worked to increase communication and understanding of the processes for both patent and trademarks for novice users and for international guests to the website. Another such effort has involved the addition of icons, but this time on an international scale.
The world’s five largest trademarks offices, representing the United States, the European Union, China, Korea, and Japan, also known as TM5, have recently unveiled new icons to further accomplish these same goals on an international scale. According to the TM5 website, the purpose and mission of the TM5 is as follows:
Through exchange of information on practices and programs as well as common projects aiming at the harmonization or improvement of trademark procedures, TM5 strives to promote cooperation and collaboration between members and contribute to increasingly user-friendly and, if possible, interoperable trademark systems.
In one project, new icons, known as “Common Status Descriptors,” have been developed by the five partner offices. Although the language and symbols must fit the unique laws of each country, the principles are generalizable enough and the stages of prosecution and post-registration maintenance are similar enough to enable the icons to aid viewers to identify the status even in light of language barriers.
Below are the 15 icons as well as a brief description of their meanings:
1. Application meeting minimum filing requirements
2. Application assigned to an examining attorney
3. Application with a final office action pending
4. Application published for opposition
5. Application with a pending opposition
6. Registration published for opposition
7. Registration with a pending opposition
8. Registered trademark or service mark
9. Registered with a pending cancellation
10. Application no longer active through refusal
11. Application no longer active by owner withdrawal
12. Registration no longer active through cancellation
13. Registration no longer active by owner withdrawal
14. Registration expired by lack of maintenance filings
15. Unknown status
Due to differences in laws, a few of these icons would never show up on the United States TSDR. For example, trademarks are published for opposition prior to registration in the United States; however, in some countries, registrations are also published for opposition. As such, icons are present for both pre- and post-registration publication.
I did a quick perusal of the TM5 countries to ascertain which offices have actually incorporated these icons into their systems. The USPTO and the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) are definitely using the new icons; however, I could find no evidence of usage in the intellectual property offices of China, Japan, or Korea as of the date of this entry. I will say that each of these offices offers English translations. The EUIPO offers translations into 23 languages, which of course would be important for its 28 member countries. The USPTO does not appear to offer its services in any other languages.
The TM5 has only been in existence for a handful of years. In that period, there has been definite improvement in many areas: standardizing goods and services descriptions, ensuring quality examination, and working to eliminate bad faith filings, to name a few. To read more about the work of the TM5, check out their website: http://tmfive.org.