Congress has just passed the bi-partisan Trademark Modernization Act of 2020 (TMA), which amends the Trademark Act to provide new procedures for third-party submission of evidence relating to trademark applications, to establish ex parte proceedings for reexamination and expungement of outstanding trademark registrations, and to provide for a rebuttable presumption of irreparable harm in trademark infringement proceedings.
On December 22, 2020, Congress passed the content of a pending bill, H.R. 6196, the “Trademark Modernization Act of 2020,” as part of its year-end virus relief and spending package. Among other things, the Act seeks to create more efficient processes to challenge registrations that are not being used in commerce, including by establishing new ex parte proceedings. The Act also seeks to unify the standard for irreparable harm with respect to injunctions in trademark cases, in light of inconsistencies that have emerged across federal courts after the Supreme Court’s decision in eBay v. MercExchange, LLC, 547 U.S. 388 (2006).
H.R.6196 — 116th Congress (2019-2020) 商標近代化法（TMA）は商標出願に関連する証拠を第三者が提出するための新しい手順を提供し、未処理の商標の再審査と抹消のための査定系手続きを確立します。米国商標制度における言わば情報提供制度のように思われます。
On December 27, 2020, the Trademark Modernization Act of 2020 (“TMA”) became law after it passed Congress and was signed by the President as part of the year-end Consolidated Appropriations Act for 2021.1 The TMA, which will become effective one year after its signature into law, introduces significant amendments to the Lanham Act2 designed to modernize trademark examination procedures and combat the increasing numbers of trademark registrations covering marks not used in commerce.
This bill makes several changes to trademark law, such as by providing new mechanisms for opposing and canceling trademark registrations at the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) and by making it easier to secure an injunction.
The bill authorizes a third party to submit evidence to the PTO to oppose an application for a federal trademark registration.
The bill establishes a procedure for any party to petition the PTO to expunge a registration for a trademark that has not been used in commerce. The bill also establishes a procedure for any party to petition the PTO to reexamine any trademark registration on such nonuse grounds.
The PTO may also initiate such an expungement or reexamination proceeding.
If a plaintiff has prevailed in court in asserting certain trademark rights, that plaintiff shall be entitled to a presumption that the plaintiff will suffer irreparable harm for purposes of determining whether the plaintiff is entitled to a permanent injunction. If a trademark plaintiff is seeking a preliminary injunction, that plaintiff is entitled to this presumption upon a court finding that the plaintiff is likely to succeed on the merits of the case. Under current law, a plaintiff must establish irreparable harm to secure an injunction.
In addition, the PTO Director shall have the authority to reconsider, modify, or set aside certain decisions made by the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.
The Government Accountability Office shall report to Congress on PTO efforts to address false and inaccurate claims in trademark registrations and applications.