USPTO show cause notice could cancel 6,000 improper trademark applications

The USPTO has issued a show cause order detailing improper filing practices for nearly 6,000 applications. As noted by Clarivate’s Robert Reading, the notice was issued to a Chinese IP firm that used a cartoon character Homer Simpson as the contact on a specimen filed in support of a US trademark application, among other things. 

The USPTO requires that a US attorney sign any US trademark application, and the 365-page order appears to show that the company in question used the names of US attorneys – including one attorney suspended by the USPTO – when filing US applications directly from China. 

The evidence in the exhibits indicates that multiple employees of the company are likely to have been involved in the filings due to overlapping filing times. “Although conduct need not rise to the level of fraud to warrant sanctions, under the circumstances presented above, [the] Respondents’ conduct appears to do so,” the show cause order states. 

The evidence clearly supports a finding that [the] Respondents had a pattern and practice of submitting papers with false information for an improper purpose and without conducting any reasonable inquiry.” 

Reading calculates the official fees lost to exceed $1.3 million.