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Overview of the USPTO's Audit Program and Proposed Fee Increases in 2020
梗概:美国专利商标局商标审查程序以及正在提议的2020年费用提高

February 12, 2020

On August 28, 2019, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) announced proposed changes to increase fees for a number of trademark-related matters. The new fee schedule will go into effect in August 2020, if adopted.

2019年八月二十八日,美国专利商标局(USPTO)宣布提议提高一些与商标业务相关的收费标准。提议的新收费标准,如果最终被采用,将于2020年八月起生效。

The USPTO has proposed these fee increases as it attempts to improve the integrity of the Register through stronger oversight of evidence of use submitted by trademark holders at the time of renewal.

USPTO希望利用增加的资金对商标持有者更新商标时提交的使用证据进行更深度的监管,并以此来提高商标注册系统的诚信性。

These fee adjustments, coupled with the USPTO’s trademark audit program that was implemented in November 2017, are important developments that should help to deter fraud before the USPTO.

这些收费调整加上USPTO从2017年十一月开始实施的商标审查程序应当可以帮助阻止一些对USPTO的欺骗行为。

One significant proposal is a fee of $100 per deleted good or service from a registration following the issuance of a post-registration audit received at the time of renewal. As background, in 2012, the USPTO launched a pilot program to assess the accuracy of claims of use in registration maintenance filings. The findings uncovered significant instances of registrations being renewed for goods or services for which the registrations were not in use. The results of the pilot program justified the need for new measures to encourage registration owners to file accurate declarations of use.

根据调整后的收费标准,如果商标在更新时受到注册后审查,并且最终导致一些商品或服务项目从商标注册中删除,则商标持有者将需要为每一个被删除的商品或服务项目支付100美元。2012年,USPTO曾开展了一个试验性的审查程序来评估商标注册维护程序中提交的使用主张的准确性。该试验程序发现很多商标注册更新时更新的商品或服务项目并没有继续在被使用。这一结果说明USPTO应当采取一些新的措施来敦促注册者提交准确的使用申报。

Subsequently, in November 2017, the USPTO launched a permanent audit program that targeted registrations where a Section 8 or 71 declaration of use was submitted, and the registration contained at least one class with four or more goods or services, or at least two classes with two or more goods or services.

于是在2017年十一月,USPTO建立了永久性的审查程序,主要针对提交了Section 8 和71使用申报的商标注册,如果该商标注册(1)包括至少一个包含四个或以上商品或服务项目的类别,或者(2)包括至少两个包含两个或以上商品或服务项目的类别。

The program randomly selects trademark registration renewals that meet the above criteria and requires registrants to provide proof of use.

这一程序随机抽取满足以上条件的商标注册更新并要求被抽中的商标持有者提供使用证明。

In the event of an audit, a post-registration examiner will issue an Office Action and will identify the audited goods or services for which proof of use must be submitted.

如果被抽中,一个注册后审查员将下发一个审查意见通知并表明哪些商品或服务项目需要提交使用证明。

Currently, the goods or services subject to the audit may be deleted without penalty to the Registrant.

现在注册者还可以删除被审查的商品或服务项目而不用受到任何惩罚。

The proposal would require payment of a $100 fee per deleted good or service after an audit is received, thus providing significant incentive for registrants to be more vigilant in confirming use of all goods and services listed in the registration.

在此提议的新规定下,每一个因审查被主动或被动删除的项目将会收取100美元费用,这一规定可以促进注册者更主动积极地确认注册中的商品或服务项目依旧在被使用。

Notably, the USPTO has also announced that it has increased the number of staff members working in the audit program, which is expecting to double the number of audits. The USPTO anticipates auditing up to 10% of the declarations of use filed under Section 8 or 71 on an annual basis. To date, approximately 5,500 registrations have been audited under the pilot and permanent program. The USPTO estimates that 5,000 marks will be audited per year under the audit program.

值得注意的是,USPTO宣布其将投入双倍的人力来实施这个审查程序,这意味着未来将有双倍的商标注册被审查。USPTO估计其每年将会对至多10%的Section 8 和 71使用申报发起审查。到今天为止,试验程序与永久程序总计已经对大约5500个商标注册进行了审查。USPTO估计未来每年将审查5000个商标。

These changes, in conjunction with the proposed fee increases, if they go into effect, may have a notable impact on reducing fraudulent registrations before the USPTO.

这一系列变化,加上提议的费用提高,如果最终被采用,将会显著减少在USPTO的欺骗性注册。

The final proposed fees are expected to be published in April 2020 in the U.S. Federal Register. Any approved fee increases will go into effect in August 2020.

提议的费用变化的终稿将会在2020年四月在美国联邦注册系统上发布(Federal Register)。最终被采用的收费标准将会在2020年八月生效。

https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2019/07/31/2019-15727/setting-and-adjusting-patent-fees-during-fiscal-year-2020

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