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《美国商标续展中极罕见的“随机审计”》

来源: | 时间:2018年01月31日 浏览量:2386

        依照美国商标法律Section 8&15, 注册日起,每满5-6年,以及9-10年,需要提供提交Declaration of Use Incontestability,俗称“实际使用声明”根据 Section 8 Affidavit & Section 9,每满10年,需要递交renewal,即续展。 一般而言,续展都是比较顺利的。但在极其罕见的情况下,为确保美国商标注册的正确和完整性,专利局会对随机选择的商标注册人进行审计检查(Registration Selected for Audit),对注册人下发“续展前实质审查意见”(POST REGISTRATION OFFICE ACTION)。

        这种随机抽取的审计在法律属性上属于OFFICE ACTION,即实质审查意见的一种。作为注册人,必须针对审查员随机选择的其注册核准范围内的两项(数量随机)产品/服务项目,再递交实际使用证明。并签署一份宣誓词,表明自己所递交的证据均为真实有效善意的。

 

具体实例:

我所代理的U.S. Registration Number 3397283,注册日期为2008年,2018年递交续展请求,予以受理,随后发出审计检查(Registration Selected for Audit)全文如下:

 

POST REGISTRATION OFFICE ACTION

 

 

ISSUE/MAILING DATE: 1/13/2018

U.S. Registration Number 3397283

 

The Combined Affidavit, Combined Section 8 Affidavit & Section 9 Renewal Application received on December 13, 2017, is  otherwise acceptable; however, the owner of the registration must comply with an audit as explained below.

 

Registration Selected for Audit


 

The USPTO is performing random audits of US trademark registrations to assess and promote the accuracy and integrity of the trademark register.  See 37 C.F.R. §§2.161(h), 7.37(h). This registration has been randomly selected for audit to determine whether the mark is in use with all of the goods and/or services identified in the registration.

 

To comply with the audit, you must submit proof of use of the registered mark for two additional goods and/or services per class. Id. If proof of use for the goods and/or services identified is not available, the identified goods and/or services and any other goods and/or services not currently in use should be deleted from the registration.

 

Therefore, the owner or holder/owner must submit the following:

 

(1) Proof of current use of the registered mark in commerce for the following goods and/or services:

 

“computer software for optical instruments used for analyzing and managing data” and “integrating spheres, namely, light collectors used for luminance and radiance standards” in International Class 9; and

 

(2) The following statement, verified with an affidavit or signed declaration under 37 C.F.R. §2.20:  “The owner or holder/owner was using the mark in commerce on or in connection with the goods and/or services identified in the registration for which use of the mark in commerce is claimed, as evidenced by the submitted proof of use, during the relevant period for filing the affidavit of use.”  37 C.F.R.§§2.161(h), 7.37(h).

 

Acceptable proof of use for goods includes photographs that show the mark on the actual goods or packaging, or photographs of displays associated with the actual goods at their point of sale.  A tag or label that is not shown affixed to the goods is not acceptable proof of use. Similarly, a package that does not show or identify the goods therein is not acceptable proof of use. Acceptable proof of use for services includes signs, photographs, brochures, website printouts or advertisements that show the mark used in the actual sale or advertising of the services.

 

 

        如前所述,商标注册人所提交的使用证明,本来是可以接受的。 但是美国商标局正在进行一个随机的审计检查以确保美国商标注册的正确和完整性,而您客户的商标不巧正好被随机选中抽查。您的客户必须在 指定日期之前对这个Office Action 进行回复。为了满足这个审计要求,必须提供商标局指定的另外两项注册商品的使用证明。如果您的客户不能提供这另外两项注册商品的使用证明,或者要求删除这两项指定的注册商品,那商标局会发新的 OA 要求注册人为其他所有尚未提供使用证明的注册产品,提供使用证明。所有不能提供使用证明的注册产品都会从注册证中删除。商标局指定的需提供使用证明的另外两项注册商品是:

1.“computer software for optical instruments used for analyzing and managing data” (用于光学设备上的分析和管理数据的电脑软件)

 

2. “integrating spheres, namely, light collectors(积算球形仪,即 用于测试亮度和辐射率的聚光器) 

 

        因为是审计用的使用证明,所以要求比一般的使用证明严格。 可以接受的使用证明是:显示商标使用在实际产品或包装上的照片, 或者带有商标的产品说明书;或则是有商标展示的实际产品销售处的照片,或则是公司英文网站同时显示产品图片和定购此产品的网上定购链接。因此, 关于电脑软件, 可以提供 用于网上下载电脑软件的“电脑或手机APP” 的界面截图,或者此电脑软件的DVD/CD 等 (但这个手机APP 或dvd的名字一定要显示商标 EVERFINE)。但是没有实附在产品上的商标标签或标牌不可以接受。而单纯的没有显示内装商品的商品包装也不被接受。

 

除了提供实际使用证据,当事人还需要签署如下宣誓词

 

 

FORM DECLARATION

Please note that the below statement verifying proof of use is slightly different than the standard substitute specimen statement.

 

The following statement and declaration under 37 C.F.R. §2.20 can be used to verify the use of the mark as evidenced by the item(s) submitted as proof of use, if properly signed and dated:

 

The owner or holder/owner was using the mark in commerce on or in connection with the goods and/or services identified in the registration for which use of the mark in commerce is claimed, as evidenced by the submitted proof of use, during the relevant period for filing the affidavit of use.

 

The signatory being warned that willful false statements and the like are punishable by fine or imprisonment, or both, under 18 U.S.C.

§1001, and that such willful false statements and the like may jeopardize the validity of this submission, declares that the facts set forth above are true; all statements made of his/her own knowledge are true; and that all statements made on information and belief are believed to be true.

 

                         

Signature of Authorized Person

 

Type or Print Name

        请注意,以下证明使用证明的说明与标准替代标本说明略有不同。

                                        

        根据37 C.F.R以下声明和声明§2.20可以用来验证商标的使用情况,如果提供的是正确的签名和日期,则以提交的作为使用证据的项目为证。

 

        所有人或持有人/所有人正在使用商标上的商标和(或)与注册中确定的商标和/或服务相关的商标,这些商标和/或服务是在提交的商标使用中声明的提交使用宣誓书的期限。

 

        签字人被警告说,根据美国法律第18条,故意虚假陈述等应被罚款或监禁,或两者兼施。

第1001条,而这种虚假的陈述等可能会损害本文的正确性,并声明上述事实属实;所有由他/她自己的知识所作的陈述都是真实的;并且所有关于信息和信仰的陈述都被认为是正确。的。                       

        授权人签署

 

        综上所述,尽管,在续展过程中遇到审查意见是极其极其罕见的情况。 但如不答复,会面临无效。因此无形之中给当事人增加了经济上和精力上的负担。 作为随机抽取发生的时间,这类审查意见的发生我们是无法避免的.。但作为商标注册人,在海外,尤其是美国等法律制度相对健全,细致的国家,首先,对于不在当地进行实际生产、销售活动的商标及商品服务项目,切记千万不要大面积撒网式的抢注. 即使当时申请了,后期也会因为无法提供实物证据而被无效. 第二,应注意做好平常保留证据的工作。如海关报关清单,订购,加工,运输合同;参加各类展会的照片,包括展会的时间地点门头等信息一定要保存好;刊登在各类报刊杂志上的拷贝本或原件;外文网站的截图,购买链接等等. 平常做好存留工作,使你的海外商标无忧。

 


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