December 10, 2019
Move over IRS, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is jumping on the audit bandwagon. The USPTO has recently implemented a new auditing program aimed at promoting “the accuracy and integrity of the trademark register.” After a trademark registration is secured, there are required maintenance filings that must be completed with the USPTO to maintain a registration. The USPTO’s audit program is using some of these renewal filings as an opportunity to make trademark owners prove that trademarks are in use in commerce in connection with all goods and services in a registration. So what do trademark owners need to know? Here are the basics:
With the new audit program in full swing, what should a trademark owner do now? Here are some helpful tips:
It is important to keep in mind that when trademark filings are submitted, the owner certifies that the factual statements in the filing (including that a trademark is in use in connection with the goods and services listed) are made with evidentiary support. A knowing and willfully made false statement or representation subjects the signed to criminal penalties under 18 U.S.C. § 1001.
Preparation and close review of trademark renewal filings in advance will help brand owners avoid headaches later.