The Trademark Public Advisory Committee (TPAC) was created to provide the public with a voice in policy and procedure at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). TPAC is composed of individuals who represent the interests of various USPTO users and constituents, including trademark practitioners, portfolio owners, and USPTO employee and management representatives. TPAC’s purpose is to advise the Director of the USPTO on the policies, goals, performance, budget and user fees of the USPTO’s Trademark Office and to issue an annual report covering these areas, which is published in the Trademark Official Gazette following the close of the fiscal year. Throughout the year, TPAC members meet to discuss current issues and concerns with members of the Trademark Office administration, including the Commissioner for Trademarks and judges of the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.
Sutherland’s own James (Jim) H. Johnson serves on TPAC. Sutherland is proud of Jim’s recognition as a leading member of the trademark bar and his commitment to public service. As a member of TPAC, Jim has recently worked with the Committee to address concerns of the trademark community with the TTAB’s treatment of fraud on the USPTO in its 2003 decision in Medinol Ltd. v. NeuroVasx, Inc., 67 U.S.P.Q.2d 1205 (TTAB 2003). TPAC also moved quickly to protect the interests of the trademark community in response to a recently passed U.S. Senate bill that authorizes the Patent Office to “borrow” funds from the Trademark Office to cover deficits in the Patent Office budget. These are just two of the issues that TPAC has recently addressed. TPAC encourages any member of the trademark community or public to submit concerns, criticisms, or recommendations for a more efficient and effective Trademark Office.