Takeaways from Trademark Law in 2020 and Looking Ahead to 2021
In this White Paper, we share observations on 2020's most significant developments in trademark law. This year, the U.S. Supreme Court penned three opinions concerning what constitutes a protectable trademark, available damages for infringement, and defenses available in litigation. This is the first time since the Lanham Act became effective that the Court has authored three trademark opinions in one year. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office ("USPTO") was also busy, issuing new rules and guidance aimed at improving efficiency and quelling fraud. And, in response to challenges stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, brand owners looked to various Lanham Act enforcement strategies to safeguard their reputations.
With 2020 coming to an end, we anticipate more changes in trademark law in 2021. The USPTO will be implementing new fee increases and monitoring the efficacy of its fraud prevention efforts. The new year may also usher in updates to federal trademark law if the Trademark Modernization Act is passed by Congress and is signed into law. As written, the Act is expected to change both the way applications and registrations are handled, and the manner in which cases could be litigated.
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