On January 20, 2021, Andrew Price was quoted in World Trademark Review (WTR) on United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Director Andrei Iancu’s departure from the agency, and what to expect from his successor. According to the article, Iancu confirmed he would be leaving his position as USPTO director on January 19, sending a farewell email to agency staff and posting a blog that reflected on his tenure and underscored his achievements.
Responding to Iancu’s farewell missive, Price told WTR: “I am not surprised he is leaving on his own terms, since he was a Trump appointee. The USPTO met its own performance goals for 2020 and if success is measured by the number of US trademark applications filed during the covid-19 pandemic, his tenure has been a success. That said, the office just launched significant increases in trademark fees, which could affect future numbers, and the problem of rogue filers from countries like China appears to be getting worse. The latter will be a key issue for the next director.”
Expanding on his concern over the influx of filings from China, Price argued: “The USPTO should take countermeasures to deal with the huge number of US trademark applications coming from Chinese entities, which may be subsidised by the Chinese government. When one US filing representative files more than 5,000 applications for Chinese applicants in one month (December 2020), that in and of itself raises questions (not all of which are answered by the January 2021 USPTO fee increases). It’s time to level the playing field: US entities acting in China are often hampered by onerous documentation requirements that are not put on Chinese entities here.”
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