Washington, D.C. (October 7, 2013) - Holland & Knight has announced the creation of a Special 301 Ad Hoc Trademark Working Group whose membership already includes in-house counsel from Fortune 500 companies, certification mark owners and small companies with international business operations. The group will be headed by firm partner Paul Kilmer whose practice is focused on trademark, copyright and unfair competition law.
"Our goal is to collect information from U.S. businesses and law firms regarding trademark laws and practices of foreign nations that deny adequate and effective protection to trademark rights," said Mr. Kilmer. "We will then provide this information to the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) in response to it annual Special 301 request for submissions, which will be published in the Federal Register in December 2013."
Mr. Kilmer explained that no group currently addresses the full range of concerns that brand owners have about foreign protection of trademark rights.
"At the moment, there are some industry groups that have raised concerns about their specific field of business and certain targeted interests like anti-counterfeiting that have provided input to USTR," said Mr. Kilmer. "But on issues such as prompt processing of trademark applications, the speed of administrative proceedings, adherence to important trademark treaties, implementation of trademark registration systems and public access to records, there is no voice representing trademark owners."
Mr. Kilmer has contacted USTR regarding the formation of Trademark Working Group, and has been informed that USTR is interested in their input, even if participants wish to remain anonymous.
The Special 301 Report, released in April of each year by USTR, describes the global state of intellectual property rights protection and enforcement. USTR is required by law to identify those countries that deny adequate and effective protection or deny fair and equitable market access for persons who rely on intellectual property protection.
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