Yesterday for the first time I learned of the existence of USPTO’s TAD system. (It is interesting that USPTO rolled this out so quietly! I have not seen any public announcement by the USPTO of this new system.) The process for inserting a new application or registration into the system is tedious — it requires twenty or thirty keystrokes or mouse clicks, with various time delays between clicks, to insert each case. With Feathers! I monitor some four hundred trademark files, and so it would take many hours to insert all of those files into TAD.
So I had a goal of guessing which of the four hundred or so cases might have activity soon. If I were to guess right, I could insert a modest number of cases into TAD and hopefully see it in action pretty soon.
I got lucky. Yesterday I inserted about fifty cases into the “application” part of the system (“TAD”) and about thirty cases into the “registration” part of the system (“TPRD”). And two of the cases had status changes during the night. I received two email notifications from the system during the night.
The emails came in at about 1:30 AM Mountain Time (about 3:30 AM Eastern Time). One email notified me that the post-registration branch has accepted a Section 8 declaration of use in one of our registrations. Another email notified me that the post-registration branch has accepted a Section 8 and 15 combined declaration of use in another one of our registrations.
This reminds me of a difference in scope between Feathers! and TAD/TPRD. Feathers! tries to detect not only a change in the “status” field of TSDR, but also a change in the name of the applicant/registrant, or a change in the “location” of the file, or a change in the “status date”. In contrast, as far as I can guess, TAD/TPRD does not annunciate any change other than a change in the “status” field of TSDR.
Just as with Feathers!, TAD/TPRD might miss some status changes if two or more events occurred between status checks. As an example, on a day that an Examining Attorney approves an application to be published for opposition, it might also happen that the case jumps the hurdle of “final review” prior to publication. If both things were to happen on the same day, only the latter would turn up in the Feathers! system and the same may be said of the TAD/TPRD system. This is not really a problem. It is just that the practitioner needs to keep this in mind when figuring out what to do next about the reported event.
This difference in scope is not a reason to pass up the opportunity to make use of TAD/TPRD. I now have two data points with which to start getting accustomed to TAD/TPRD, and the data points suggest that TAD/TPRD can be a helpful tool in the toolkit for the trademark practitioner.
The email reports from TPRD only named the mark and the registration number. So I was forced to go on a treasure hunt to try to figure out what my file number is for each of the reported cases. In each case I was able to click on a link in the email and it opened TSDR. I then “expanded” TSDR and eventually found my file number in the expanded portion of TSDR. (Why can’t TSDR open its page in a way that is already “expanded”?) I was then able to figure out what to do with the news.
Feathers! was designed back when the current version of Windows was Windows NT. It’s a bit fiddly to get Feathers! to work on Windows 10. And the API at the USPTO that permits Feathers! to continue working after all these years does not support all of the ways that Feathers! used to work — for example the API no longer supports a lookup on the Madrid Protocol international registration number. Maybe at some point we will spend the money to develop a new version of Feathers! but until then, Feathers! will continue to be a bit fiddly.
This means that for any practitioner who is just getting started with monitoring of US trademark files, TAD/TPRD will be worth considering. It is not fiddly in the ways that Feathers! is fiddly. TAD/TPRD won’t tell you your file number. It won’t let you pick the email address to which the reports are sent (except in the clunky sense that you would also need to change the email address that you use for Financial Manager). It won’t detect a change in applicant or a change in location. But it will give you useful information, for example that the Examining Attorney has approved the case for publication or that someone has filed an extension of time to oppose.
I do hope that lots of readers will try out TAD/TPRD and will post comments with their experiences.