On November 30, 2023, the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) made a significant transition away from its legacy system, the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS). After two decades, the Bibliographic Retrieval System underpinning TESS was deemed obsolete. The announcement, made via a USPTO blog by the director at the end of September, took attorneys and experts by surprise, with concerns raised over the mere two months allocated for beta testing a system that had been integral to their work for years.
Key Features of the New System:
The new cloud-based system introduces a modern, more stable search experience. It simplifies the interface while also catering to the needs of advanced users with complex searching capabilities. One notable enhancement under the advanced features is the ability to easily add more search criteria, significantly refining search results and reducing the time spent sifting through hundreds or thousands of potential matches.
The USPTO has described the new system as a response to the “ever-evolving needs of the trademark community,” aiming to adapt and provide improved functionality and security. Two key improvements include:
- Preventing Time-Outs: The frustration of being timed out quickly is a thing of the past.
- Enhanced Security: The system now makes it more challenging for bots to scrape public data, a crucial step in reducing scams targeted at inventors.
Resources to Navigate the New System:
For those feeling overwhelmed by the new system, several resources are available for guidance:
- General Trademark Search Information
- USPTO Search Help
- Federal Trademark Searching Basics
- Advanced Trademark Searching Techniques
While the new system has the real possibility to provide capital improvements, it is not without its hiccups. Currently, the system cannot review all pertinent information of a trademark application/registration in one view, as was possible with TESS. Users now need to navigate through the Trademark Document Retrieval (TDR) and click individual informational links. Additionally, separate searches are required for the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) if opposition or cancellation is relevant.
The new system may add value as users become more comfortable with its uses but right now, the only way to learn about its capabilities is to test and learn for yourself.
The transition to the new USPTO trademark search system marks a pivotal moment in the way trademark searches are conducted. While it comes with its own set of challenges and learning curves, the move towards a more modern, secure, and user-friendly system is a step forward in adapting to the dynamic needs of the trademark community. As with any significant change, adaptation and familiarization will be key.
For additional information or assistance with navigating the new system, feel free to contact Kathleen Kuznicki at email@example.com or by calling The Lynch Law Group at (724) 776-8000.