On January 22 the USPTO announced a pilot program to streamline cancellation proceedings for allegedly abandoned and unused trademarks. Under this program, once an answer is filed, the assigned TTAB Interlocutory Attorney has the parties participate in a mandatory discovery conference. At the mandatory discovery conference both the Interlocutory Attorney and an Administrative Trademark Judge are present. The conference is not just for discovery but also covers stipulations of fact, evidentiary stipulations, limits to discovery, and potential summary judgment. Once a case is ready for a final decision, the decision will be made within 50 days. This expedited process is more efficient and cost effective than a traditional cancellation proceeding and should be considered as an option by clients who want to cancel a registered mark for abandonment or lack of use.
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