Doctored Trademark Specimens at the USPTO: Analysis of the Plague of Fake Specimens Threatening to Undermine the Principal Register

Eric J. Perrott

©2018. Published in Landslide, Vol. 11, No. 1, September/October 2018, by the American Bar Association. Reproduced with permission. All rights reserved. This information or any portion thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association or the copyright holder.

The United States Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO’s) corps of trademark examining attorneys is grappling with a plague of fake, doctored, and digitally altered specimens, and there is little that the USPTO can do to prevent them. These fraudulent specimens threaten to bring the examination process to a grinding halt and undermine the integrity of the U.S. trademark application system; but worse, they could have potentially huge impacts on the future decisions of the USPTO leadership to raise fees and try to find fair ways to fight an issue that appears to consist mostly of foreign trademark applicants.

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