USPTO Stadium Tours (PTAB/TTAB Hearings)

The USPTO has partnered with four law schools with a “stadium tour” of both the Patent Trial & Appeal Board as well as the Trademark Trial & Appeal Board.

Here at Mizzou, we will begin at 9:00 a.m. March 1, we will host two panels that will focus on strategy issues and policy concerns, and the experience will be capped by live hearings by the Patent and Trademark Trial and Appeal Boards.  Various board members will be speaking along with other experts in the field.  Following their tradition, the Boards have asked that we not video-stream the hearing.  However, other content during the day will be streamed online.

The events are free, but we ask that you pre-register if you would also like free lunch.

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The central importance of the Patent Trial & Appeal Board (PTAB) has risen greatly since passage of the America Invents Act of 2011 and creation of the new inter partes and post-grant review procedures. These review proceedings provide an alternative forum for third-parties (usually accused infringers) to challenge patent validity. The review trials are handled by three-member tribunals of administrative patent judges who have been appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce after consideration of their training in both technology and the law. The review proceedings are now being challenged on a variety of procedural and constitutional grounds – with one case, Cuozzo v. Lee, to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court this term.

The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) hears trademark challenges, including opposition proceedings and appeals. Their hearings often focus on questions of whether a mark is generic, amoral or confusingly similar to existing marks. A set of cases pending in federal courts challenge the constitutional propriety of the TTAB’s statutory authority to cancel marks that “disparage” persons, institutions, beliefs or national symbols. Like the PTAB, administrative trademark judges are appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce.

About Dennis Crouch

Law Professor at the University of Missouri School of Law. Co-director of the Center for Intellectual Property and Entrepreneurship.

3 thoughts on “USPTO Stadium Tours (PTAB/TTAB Hearings)

  1. I am glad to see that these are being advertised as free and open to the public, as they should be.

    In the fall, the PTO put on a “roadshow,” including a PTAB trial, with the AIPLA that was advertised as costing over $300 to attend. Granted, it also included talks prior to the trial, but it was not ever made clear to the public by the PTO or the AIPLA that the trial portion was free and open to the public *without* charge. The AIPLA explicitly refused to make that notation on the registration page.

    Santa Clara University, to their credit, immediately made it known once it was brought to their attention that the public could (mistakenly) believe an administrative court was allowed to charge money to see a public trial.

    1. “The AIPLA explicitly refused to make that notation on the registration page.”

      The AIPLA is a worthless group. What do members get for the ridiculous annual dues they charge?

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