01.29.10

Senate Passes Leahy-Authored Bill To Ease Burdens On Trademark Owners

WASHINGTON – The Senate Thursday night unanimously passed legislation introduced this week by Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) to assist trademark owners in maintaining the protection of their brands.  The Trademark Law Technical and Conforming Amendments Act makes necessary adjustments to the nation’s trademark laws, improving efficiency in the trademark system.  Many small Vermont businesses that hold trademarks will benefit from improving the efficiency of the system. 

“This bill will harmonize the system for submitting maintenance filings to the United States Patent and Trademark Office,” said Leahy.  “Many Vermont businesses depend on the strength of their trademarked products.  The Senate has quickly acted to make these necessary improvements to our intellectual property laws, and I hope the House of Representatives will soon follow.” 

Maintenance filings are required for continuing the protection of a trademark.  The Leahy-backed legislation will also permit the Director of the USPTO to permit applicants to correct good faith and harmless errors and will make several technical amendments within our trademark laws.   

The bill also includes a requirement for the Department of Commerce to study whether large corporations are misusing the trademark laws to harass small businesses by exaggerating the scope of their trademark protection.  Last year, Vermont’s Rock Art Brewery, a small micro-brewery in Morrisville, Vermont, was the subject of such a threat. 

Leahy has been a longtime advocate for protecting intellectual property, including patents and trademarks.   

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