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Trademark Trial and Appeal Board

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SUBTOPIC: Appointment of TTAB Judges
– Administrative Trademark Judges appointed by U.S. Secretary of Commerce
– Appointed in consultation with Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property
– Each case heard and decided by at least three judges
– Currently 25 judges at TTAB (as of January 2024)
– Chief Judge is Gerard F. Rogers

SUBTOPIC: Education and Experience of TTAB Judges
– Judges have diverse professional backgrounds
– Prior experience includes trademark examining, private practice, and academia
– Educational backgrounds range from B.A. to LL.M.
– Some judges have served in various roles at USPTO
– TTAB judges come from a variety of law schools across the U.S.

SUBTOPIC: TTAB Judge Appointments
– Appointments span from 1999 to 2023
– Some judges have prior experience as law clerks or in private practice
– Several judges have experience as trademark examining attorneys
– TTAB Interlocutory Attorneys also serve as judges
– Some judges have held leadership roles within the TTAB

SUBTOPIC: Geographic Diversity of TTAB Judges
– Judges appointed from various states including Texas, Georgia, and Virginia
– Some judges have practiced law in multiple states
– Educational backgrounds include universities from different regions
– TTAB judges bring a mix of regional perspectives to their decisions
– Geographic diversity enhances the TTAB’s ability to address a wide range of cases

SUBTOPIC: TTAB Judges’ Legal Specializations
– Some judges have specialized in trademark law throughout their careers
– Others have experience in international trade, trademark policy, and procedure
– Academic backgrounds include adjunct professorships and law school teaching
– TTAB judges bring a range of legal expertise to their roles
– Specializations contribute to the TTAB’s ability to handle complex trademark cases efficiently

The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) is an administrative tribunal within the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The TTAB is empowered to determine the right to register a trademark. It has no authority to determine the right to use one, nor broader questions of infringement, unfair competition, damages or injunctive relief. The TTAB decides ex parte appeals from decisions by USPTO Examiners denying registration of marks, and inter partes proceedings challenging the registration of marks. Decisions of the TTAB may be appealed to a United States district court, or to the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit.

Practices and procedures for litigating before the TTAB are governed by the Trademark Rules of Practice and the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board Manual of Procedure (TBMP) is an important guide to practice before the TTAB.

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