TTAB Expedited Case Resolution: Is It Right For You?

The Trademark Trial and Appeals Board (TTAB) of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) introduced a new procedure called expedited case resolution (ACR). Its goal is to offer a faster and hopefully less expensive decision regarding TTAB opposition or cancellation proceedings. ACR offers the parties the opportunity to agree to discovery, the filing of pleadings, and the adherence to a binding decision on the merits within fifty (50) days of the filing of the pleadings.

While the TTAB’s ACR option should be considered during the initial conference between the parties, each party should consider whether it is worthwhile, possible, and beneficial. Some evidentiary considerations and other factors include:

Time – is time of the essence in any way?

Cost: Do you want to avoid lengthy and possibly expensive trials and hearings?

Complexity of the case: is it a brand issue that can be decided quickly?

Number of witnesses: will there be experts?

Number of documents: what is the volume?

The parties must understand that participation in ACR excludes the possibility of trial. A typical TTAB proceeding with trial may be better in different instances. Since each factual situation is unique to some degree, the guidance of a qualified trademark attorney can be important.

However, trademark attorneys must advise their clients on the TTAB ACR option. However, regardless of whether the interlocutor lawyer recommends it or not, the decision ultimately depends on the parties involved. Consideration of the above factors and an overall strategy should help decide whether or not the TTAB ACR option is appropriate in the particular issue. The help of a TTAB trademark attorney is probably worth it.