Cassette tapes are one example of outdated technology that has prompted the USPTO to issue a new pilot program to allow the identification of goods and services in trademark registrations to be amended due to technology evolution. Many moons ago it was important to have a trademark registration for the sale of music that included the sale of music on cassette tapes. However, today the sale of music on cassette tapes could become obsolete due to the evolution of technology. The sale of music has shifted toward digital formats and streaming services.
Having this new pilot program allowing for amendments to identification of goods and services in trademark registrations due to technology evolution is important, because, it allows trademark owners/brands to keep their trademark registrations alive longer. Otherwise, extending the life of a USPTO trademark registration could be impossible due to changes in how registered trademarks are used (trademark use corresponds to the types of products or services a trademark is used with).
For example: If I obtained a USPTO trademark registration to use my logo to sell music on cassette tapes nineteen years ago and now I no longer sell music on cassette tapes but instead use my logo to sell a music streaming service, the pilot program could be a lifesaver for my USPTO trademark registration. USPTO trademark registrations have ongoing filings due throughout the life of the trademark and without this pilot program, changes in how a trademark is used (music streaming vs. music on cassette tapes) can cancel a USPTO trademark registration. As a result a new USPTO trademark application would have to be filed to cover music streaming.
Currently, requests for revising trademark registrations due to changes in use based on new technology requires filing two forms with the USPTO and a processing time of approximately 3-4 months. The cost is $200. (Each form has a $100 fee). (USPTO fees are subject to change) USPTO Announcement of Technology Evolution Pilot Program
The sports car in the photo above had a tape deck!
BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.
See also: USPTO website at https://www.uspto.gov/trademarks-application-process/filing-online/petition-forms; USPTO website for sample G&S that have been revised https://www.uspto.gov/trademark/trademark-updates-and-announcements/proposed-amendments-identifications-goods-and-services; @iplegalfreebies and www.kasterlegal.com.