A big registration day at the Trademark Office

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The USPTO registered about three times as many trademarks today as it would on a usual Tuesday, as may be seen at right.  This is a consequence of the “down the memory hole” activity of the Trademark Office on May 10, 2022 (blog article and blog article and blog article). 

In blue you can see the number of ordinary paper US trademark registration certificates that the Trademark Office issued in the five weeks prior to May 10.  It was roughly six thousand registrations per week, always on a Tuesday, of course.

In red you can see the 6001 ordinary paper US trademark registrations that the Trademark Office granted on May 10, and then flushed down the memory hole (blog article).

In yellow you can see those same 6001 US trademark registrations, this time this time granted two weeks later as electronic US trademark registration certificates instead of paper US trademark registration certificates, with registration dates of today (May 24).  

Finally, in green you can see the 14836 additional US trademark registrations that the Trademark Office has granted today.  This number is about twice as big as the normal weekly number because of the missing registrations that never happened on May 17.  Saying this differently, the stacked green and yellow bar for May 24 is about three times as tall as the average blue bar.  It adds up to 20838 US trademark registrations issued today, May 24, 2022.

As of right now, at 4:43 AM Eastern Time on May 24, 2022, not one of those 20838 US trademark registrations actually has a registration certificate.  Saying this differently, the electronic registration certificates themselves are missing.  But the applicants have been told what their registration numbers are, and they have been told their registration dates.  (Update:  now at about 7AM Eastern Time, the Trademark Office has uploaded the 20838 electronic registration certificates to TSDR.  See blog article.)

It will be helpful perhaps to recap some of the “memory hole” activity that took place during the week of May 10, 2022.

It will be recalled that on May 10, 2022, the Trademark Office told 6001 trademark applicants that their marks were now registered.  6001 US trademark registration numbers got loaded into TSDR.   The normal next step would have been for the Trademark Office to mail out 6001 paper US trademark registration certificates to match the 6001 trademark registration numbers that the Trademark Office had communicated to its customers.

It will then be recalled that on May 13, 2022, the Trademark Office slipped a one-page PDF document into each of those 6001 trademark files.  The PDF document was backdated to May 11, 2022, and it said:

Note to file:  Application status mistakenly changed to registered on May 10, 2022.

These 6001 trademark application numbers and registration numbers are listed here.  

As part of the Trademark Office’s continued memory-hole activity, those 6001 documents that were backdated to May 11, 2022, that each said “Note to file:  Application status mistakenly changed to registered on May 10, 2022”, the purpose of which was to flush down the memory hole the things that the Trademark Office did on May 10, 2022 … those 6001 documents have themselves today been flushed down the memory hole.

Yes, you can’t make this stuff up.  Just to make sure you appreciate what is going on here, let’s say it again:

The documents that the Trademark Office stuffed into the 6001 trademark files on May 13, 2022, which had been backdated to pretend they had been placed into the files on May 11, 2022, the documents that each said “we are flushing down the memory hole the things that we did on May 10, 2022”, those documents have now on May 24, 2022 themselves been flushed down the memory hole.

(Update:  Now two hours later, the May 11 documents are back.  Blog article.)

The way it stood for a few hours on May 10, 2022 (until the “memory hole” flush happened) was that for example registration number 6720667 had been granted to application number 79216524 and registration number 6726667 had been granted to application number 97229583.  If you subtract 6720667 from 6726667 you get 6000, meaning that this was a sequence of 6001 US trademark registration numbers.  They popped into existence in TSDR on May 10 as paper registration certificates, and then got loaded into TESS on May 11 and and then got memory-holed from TSDR on May 11, and then got memory-holed from TESS on May 12.

Well, readers, all 6001 US trademark registration numbers are now back into existence today, May 24, 2022.  And everybody who had been told on May 10, 2022 that they had been granted a particular registration number has now today on May 24 been once again granted that same registration number.  

Back on May 10, 2022, that registration number was a number on a paper registration certificate.  Now on May 24, 2022, that registration number is a number on an electronic registration certificate.  

Having said this, the various Trademark Office systems are, to put it charitably, in disarray right now at 4:45 AM Eastern Time.

One element of the disarray is that although some tens of thousands of new US trademark registration numbers have been handed out today, May 24, 2022, the total number of actual (electronic) registration certificates that have been handed out is … wait for it … zero.  Yes, as of 4:45 AM Eastern Time, there are no actual electronic registration certificates dated May 24, 2022 in TSDR.

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Another element of the disarray is that although the actual number of registration numbers handed out today is 20838, the number of registrations whose existence is revealed by the matching TESS search is … wait for it … two.  See the screen shot at right.  The TESS search that everybody will do multiple times today is:

(20220524)[RD]

This is the TESS search that is supposed to generate a list of all of the 20838 US trademark registrations granted by the USPTO on May 24, 2022.  And right now at 4:45 AM Eastern Time (once again, look at the screen shot above right) the answer according to TESS is two.

I imagine that eventually the Trademark Office will get things cleaned up.  For example, eventually maybe the Trademark Office will actually hand out the actual electronic US trademark registration certificates that correspond to the 20838 registration numbers that got handed out today.

5 Replies to “A big registration day at the Trademark Office”

  1. Carl, the two registrations that the search found are both on the Supplemental Register. I note that the other information sheets usually included with the original registration certificate are not included with the electronic version. Additionally, I believe one of the USPTO’s announcements indicated that the electronic certificates would be sent by email to the addresses of record, which would include counsel and the registrant.

  2. I think your article broke TESS. I went to TESS just now and received the error: “Security problem (too many users?).” Wow…

  3. Regarding the TESS search 20220524[RD] performed today, the actual registration date referenced. Modified to 20220524[RD] and 20220524[UD], that alternate search retrieves nothing. Why? Those to records for the registration date search alone are both on the Supplemental Register and were loaded on TESS prior to today. When the USPTO has registrations scheduled to issue on the supplemental register, the registration date may be loaded to the official record on TRAM (the master database at the USPTO) but the registration number is withheld until the official registration date. The more general search for future registration dates, namely `RD > 20220524, retrieves 15 future registrations for the supplemental register that include the future registration date but NOT the registration number, which will not be loaded to TRAM until the official registration date occurs.

    The search 20220524[RD] is too ambitious for TESS today. Why? Because TESS takes so long to update that the USPTO begins the TESS update process well before midnight of the previous day. When I was at the USPTO, that TESS update processing began around 7:00 PM the prior day, beginning the download of the relevant data from TRAM. But the relevant registration data doesn’t be officially loaded on TRAM until the actual registration date, so today’s registrations numbers and corresponding registration dates were NOT available on TRAM when the TESS update began, aside from some registration dates for the supplemental register.

    Note that TESS is updated only once per day. That is intentional. If TESS received updates continuously (which I understood really was NOT a possibility due to the time it took to update TESS records and rebuild the search indexes), there could be inconsistencies in TESS search results from one search to another search for any relevant records that were updated between the two searches, plus repeating any set of searches later the same day could again return inconsistent results. USPTO management considered such inconsistencies unacceptable – that TESS should provide consistent search results for searches performed on the same day (plus TESS cannot be efficiently updated more than once a day).

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