Some recent administrative developments may be of interest to copyright and trademark practitioners:
Effective May 1, 2014, the U.S. Copyright Office has amended its registration fee schedule. This includes reduced renewal application fees and increased fees for registering multiple works. A complete list of the new fees is available here.
Updated Trademark Manual of Examining Procedure (TMEP)
On April 30, 2014, the USPTO issued the April 2014 update of the TMEP, which includes precedential case law and other changes since the October 2013 revision. Highlights of the changes are available from the USPTO here. The complete manual is available here.
Copyright Office “Making Available” Study
On May 5, 2014, the U.S. Copyright Office is holding hearings as part of a study to assess the state of U.S. copyright law in recognizing and protecting the “making available” and “communication to the public” rights of copyright holders, the recognition of which is required under the WIPO Copyright Treaty and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act implemented these treaties without including explicit references to these rights. Although many believe that the protection of these rights is already implicit in 17 U.S.C. § 106, the lack of explicit statutory language has caused some uncertainty. The Notice of Inquiry announcing the study is available here. Comments by the public are available here.
USPTO Addresses Possible Updates to Goods and Services Descriptions
On April 11, 2014, the USTPO held a roundtable to discuss whether to amend identifications of goods and services due to changes in the way they are being sold, particularly in light of evolving technology. The changes under consideration may include e-magazines, online banking services and video games. More information is available here.
Copyright Office Music Licensing Study
As previously reported, the U.S. Copyright Office is conducting a study of the effectiveness of existing methods of music licensing. The deadline for comments is May 15, 2014. More information is available here.
Copyright Office Orphan Works Study
Also as previously reported, the U.S. Copyright Office is studying the “problem of orphan works” under U.S. copyright law. The deadline for public comments has been extended to May 21, 2014. More information is available here.