Trademark Oppositions Cancellations Get Accelerated Case Resolution
If you know about trademark oppositions and cancellations before the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB), then here is a new procedure that may be right for you. The TTAB has recently introducted Accelerated Case Resolution (ACR).
ACR is streamed line procedure used during an existing opposition and cancellation. It works like this: In the preliminary stages of a TTAB proceeding, the parties agree that only a small amount of evidence or testimony will be used, and that the overall record is not extensive. ACR is then requested from the TTAB. Generally, notice should be given to the TTAB during the required settlement and discovery conference of a proceeding which is held within 30 days of the close of pleadings. Disclosure and discovery schedules are tailored to fit ACR, and evidence and briefs are provided to the TTAB for review. A decision from the TTAB will be made within 50days of submittal. This is an incredibly short amount of time considering that some of may oppositions/cancellations have lasted more than 3 years.
The pro of ACR is that it can shorten a TTAB proceeding, and therefore the cost as well. So what type of case would be good for ACR? One example would be oppositions/cancellations where priority is not at issue and the parties are not relying on extensive testimony and documentary evidence. Many people are aware of summary judgment, and often want to go that route to expedite a case, and avoid a costly and lengthy trial. But summary judgment only works if there are no material facts in dispute (ie: no disagreements on evidence). With ACR, the TTAB will review any material facts in dispute, and issue a decision.
Probably the biggest issue with ACR is that the parties must stipulate that the Board can resolve any issues of material fact in lieu of trial.